Apps That Should Exist: D2C Coffee Discovery & Marketplace
Coffee is a lifestyle – I will die on that hill.
I love coffee — probably a little too much. I love the energy it brings into my day. I love that coffee cultures differ around the world — from bonding moments over a fika in Sweden, to the daily Italian ritual of “prendiamo un caffè.” I love that you can walk into a local coffee shop and find a blend sourced from somewhere unique. While many like myself appreciate the social aspects of coffee culture, it is clear that large D2C players like Nespresso, Keurig, and Nestle seem to have taken over our countertops — and our appreciation for the beans, their origins, and the communities they serve.
As per the report “Global Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) Coffee Market” — published by Astute Analytica, the D2C coffee market is estimated to clock CAGR of 15.3% during the period 2020–2027, globally.
I think it’s time for a coffee culture revolution. I present to you: Cool Beans.
Possible App Features
There is no doubt that coffee culture has a passionate community of over-caffeinated aficionados. There should be a mobile app to bridge the community’s passion with a service that can deliver a rich experience of inspiration, social discovery, and personalized recommendations. Here are some app features that could complete the coffee experience.
- Learn about any coffee blend with one snapped picture: see any coffee brand’s average ratings and reviews; discover country of origin, farmer, processing method, roaster, roast level, etc.
- Discover your unique taste profile: identifies what type of processing method, roaster, roast level, and flavour profile is unique to you; recommendation engine to suggest next purchase.
- Share your coffee tasting experiences: rate and review the coffees you taste; follow your friends to see what they are drinking and see how they rate and review other coffees.
- Learn about coffee processing methods: discover various types of methods including Aeropress, Hario V60, Turkish Coffee, Clever Dripper, Chemex, French Press, Kalita Wave, Siphon, Percolator, Moka Pot
- Coffee shop and blend discovery: find baristas, roasters, coffee shops, and coffee e-commerce subscriptions from around the world.
“Your listicle is my opportunity”
But why on earth does the world need another app? Steph Smith (@StephSmithio), indie creator and host of the “Sh*t You Didn’t Learn in School” podcast made the claim that “your list article (“listicle”) is my opportunity.” When you browser search — in this case for “best coffee subscription” or “best coffee delivery” — and all of the results on that search page are either listicles or paid advertisements, that should be an indicator that a more nuanced recommendation engine could help a specific community. Just take a look at what happens when I tried to Google search for a new coffee subscription:
In a world with arguably too much information, personalized recommendations and communities of similar interests help cut through the noise. I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t crazy for craving to be in a community of coffee drinkers. I took a quick look at global search engine activity on Ahrefs.com, using the SEO Keywords Explorer. The service allows you to discover thousands of keyword ideas and calculate their traffic potential. There are over 10 thousand combined monthly searches for the keyword use of “best coffee subscriptions” and “best coffee delivery.”
I then took a deeper look into the various D2C coffee brands that are individually executing a vision for how coffee should be experienced.
- Coffee and a Classic serves up a monthly order of brew along with a classic book so you can dive into a genre of your choosing while drinking your morning cup of Joe.
- Death Wish Coffee claims to be the strongest coffee in the world — “basic brews are not invited.” The brand delivers through Amazon Prime to anyone that wants to prove they are built different when its comes to caffeine.
I could go on and on, but there are simply too many coffee experiences that force my hand to my wallet. The problem is that discovering the perfect coffee blends personalized to your preferences has only gotten harder in a world riddled with commoditized coffee consumption and paid advertisements. Vivino noticed this early in 2010 and carved out a U$700MM segment of the wine industry by providing a powerful recommendation engine and marketplace for wine enthusiasts. I envision the same can be done for the coffee community.
Coffee is at the heart of morning routines, first dates, study sessions, and intimate moments. And the next generation seems to value online communities much more than any previous generation. There’s a clear opportunity brewing. While this is a niche space, it would be an interesting service to support the small businesses that are simply trying to find consumers that appreciate the unique coffee experiences they have created.