It could be next on the millennial chopping block
By all accounts, millennials are murderers. We’ve killed chain restaurants, the diamond industry, big oil, small paper napkins, cable television, and so much more. Well, here’s another thing on the chopping block: drip coffee. As a fellow millennial, I can personally attest to the fact that we '80s babies are on the brink of an all-out war with the Mr. Coffees of the world. However, let it be known that this is a death that won’t come from boycotts or bankruptcy, but rather total inexperience and complete ignorance. That's because many millennials, it seems, don’t know how to make drip coffee.
Let’s get something clear: Millennials love coffee. In fact, the group guzzles it at such a high rate that we’re “pushing U.S. demand to historic records,” according to The Washington Post. With coffee shop culture being a main identifier to this historic growth, millennials simply don’t need to make their own coffee to get a taste of the good stuff. So important is good coffee to a millennial that they’ve put more money annually toward their morning cup than their actual retirement fund, reports a new study by Acorns.
But making drip coffee is a different story. “What’s drip coffee? Like, in a pot?” says Meredith Corp. senior editor Carrie Dennis. “I always found it very intimidating. I understand the concept of drip coffee—you just like, put the grounds in and press play, baby… [but] I can’t make good drip coffee.” Dennis admits that she only got into coffee after college, but never pursued the chance to perfect her drip coffee skills because the results were almost always “too sludgy.” Why she’s never gone back to her Mr. Coffee machine in lieu of giving up and going to a local cafe is pretty straightforward: “I’m super fickle,” she says. “Sometimes I want a latte with whole milk, sometimes I want a latte with oat milk, sometimes I want black coffee, sometimes I want it with half-and-half, sometimes I want a cortado… even though I’m still not sure what it is. Drip coffee is a snooze.”
Unsurprisingly, drip coffee is a snooze for many millennials. A snooze-fest, you could say. “In 2009, 18% of coffee items on restaurant menus were cold-serve,” reports Mintel, who go on to say that number jumped to nearly 25% only six years later in 2015. When do we want our coffee? Now! How do we want it? Iced! Now, this isn’t to say millennials are struggling oafs with toe-sized thumbs who don’t know how to work a coffee maker, but for a first-time user, a drip coffee maker isn’t the most user-friendly machine.
“I don’t understand the ratio of water to beanage,” says Keller Powell, an editor at Thrillist. “I don’t know, people walked me through it maybe ten times in my life.” Wil Fulton, also of Thrillist, had no idea how to make coffee until late in life and, like Powell and Dennis, never cared too much about home brewing. “I guess I learned how to make it in college, when I was abroad in France,” Fulton says, "where we ironically did not have a French press.” Fulton also blames a lack of working knowledge of the “water to beanage” ratio on his disinterest in making drip coffee and—at this time—has no plans on learning the intricacies of the coffee-making process.
So, where do we go from here? Will drip coffee makers get left behind by millennials along with Applebee’s, oil, and institutionalized racism? Or will there be a resurgence in old-fashioned drip coffee machines à la record players, leading to an all-out Mr. Coffeenaissance?! Only time will tell.