It’s been clear for a while now that Americans love their coffee — in fact, 61% of the population drinks coffee every single day, according to research by the National Coffee Association.
But recent app developments have made it even easier to get a morning caffeine fix. Square, the tech startup behind the mobile credit card reader that allowed countless small businesses to start accepting credit cards via their smartphones, announced a new feature earlier this month that lets consumers pre-order coffee, so that it’s hot and ready when they arrive at their local coffee shop.
Since the quality of coffee is dependent on the beans being roasted, ground, brewed and consumed as closely in succession as possible, mobile pre-ordering has not been successful for coffee shops in the past. Johnny Brackett, a Square rep, acknowledged the problem in response to an inquiry by Mashable. “Remote ordering has been difficult to execute for coffee shops because it jeopardizes the quality of goods,” he said, referring to the problem that completed drinks would sit for a while before being picked up.
But Square’s solution includes what its programmers call “arrival prediction,” which uses the customer’s current location and the prep time for the specific drink ordered to tell the barista when a drink should be started brewing.
“We wanted to focus on building technology that would overcome this obstacle [of having the coffee ready too early], which we’ve now done,” Brackett continued.
The feature is part of the Square Order app.
Both convenience and cost have other coffee drinkers focusing on home brewing.
A recently announced Starbucks contest will award 10 customers free coffee “for life” — one free drink per day for 30 years. But more than anything, the contest has highlighted the costs of stopping by a coffee shop on the way to work every day; the prize is equivalent to nearly $23,000, according to USA Today.
Other coffee connoisseurs brew at home in order to more precisely control the variety, roast and coarseness of their favorite blends.
“Local coffee business are extremely important; not only are you creating sustainability and jobs for the surrounding community, but you are also investing in your customers by giving them quality products,” says Ken Lathrop, President of Coffee Crafters.
The National Coffee Association reports that Americans are paying more attention to the flavor of their coffee, with consumption of gourmet coffees up 3% from last year to a total of 34%.