3 trends heating up healthcare coffee programs

hospital coffee doctors

From Keurig.

Managing coffee programs for healthcare operations can be a challenge. Not only are there a variety of potential outlets to service — from cafeterias to waiting rooms to mobile carts — but there’s also a diverse array of guests who all want something different. Plus, given 24-hour operational schedules, it can be tricky to accurately predict traffic demands and deliver a consistent brew cup after cup.

Operators have to satisfy the wide-ranging tastes of guests, from doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers to patients and their families and visitors. So, what are guests looking for now, and how do you cover all those beverage bases?

Mix it up

Coffee is important on healthcare campuses. According to Technomic’s MenuMonitor, coffee on healthcare menus has increased 18.2% over the past five years, taking into account not just increased quantity, but a rise in variety as well. This means that when it comes to coffee and hot beverage equipment formats, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The right prescription is to use a mix of coffee brewer types. While high-volume urns or satellite brewers are ideal for handling those busy meal periods in the cafeteria, it’s also a good idea to have single-cup, on-demand units for slower spells.

Keurig’s commercial brewing systems come in sizes and capacities to accommodate every healthcare demand, from small footprint units for patient rooms to medium-sized brewers ideal for breakrooms and waiting rooms to large machines that can accommodate cafeteria crowds. Keurig’s branded cart units can also be wheeled into service where needed. Some units offer one-touch brewing, while others feature interactive touchscreens for a customizable brewing experience, including cup size and temperature. Depending upon the unit, these brewers can be plumbed or draw water from reservoirs for installation flexibility.

Cold brew is hot

A rapidly growing phenomenon in the beverage arena is cold brew coffee. The process uses cold or room-temperature water, rather than hot water, to extract ground coffee over a 12- to 24-hour brew time. The result is a full-bodied brew that’s smoother with less acidity — and the finished product has seen a surge in popularity.

Cold brew coffee has grown a whopping 51% year-over-year, according to MenuMonitor. Given that strong trend, healthcare locations should consider adding it to their beverage lineup.

Trending flavors

What are the trending coffee flavors these days? It seems like consumers have a sweet tooth when it comes to specialty coffees, and they want to treat themselves.

The fastest-growing flavor, across all segments, including noncommercial/healthcare, is marshmallow, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor. Marshmallow flavored drinks have increased 54.5% year-over-year, followed by flavors such as berry, trending up 36.4% and honey, up 31%. Also popping up more on coffee menus is lavender; the floral flavor is up 25%. Keep these fashionable flavors in mind when changing up your beverage menus.

Quest for variety

With more than 130 varieties of coffee, tea, cocoa, and specialty beverages, Keurig® K-Cup® pods satisfy that thirst for new and different. Keurig® K-Cup® pods not only offer variety — they’re sealed for freshness and easy to use; producing a consistent brew, cup after cup.

In the hospital environment, healthcare workers, patients, and visitors alike are demanding the same array of choices they enjoy at their local coffee shop. Plus, in an often stressful environment, people are looking for familiar and comforting hot beverages when and where they want them. For operators, that means expanding the type of brewers used, adding new formats like cold brew to the menu and keeping up with flavor trends

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