Coffee’s popularity seems to know no bounds, as a recent International Business Times article deemed the beans “a market to watch” this year.

According to data collected by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SPCAA) in 2012, specialty coffee beans represented 37 per cent of the total market and with figures reaching approximately US$30 billion, coffee is a considerable industry.

This is reinforced by information held by the International Coffee Organisation, which shows that slightly more than 93 million bags of coffee beans were exported around the world in the 2009/10 period.

While the US market may account for a large proportion of coffee sales, the highest levels of coffee consumption can be found in Europe, with the Netherlands, Finland and Sweden taking the top three spots in a recent ranking of the highest average cups of coffee consumed per day. While European countries dominated the vast majority of this particular poll, considerable amounts of coffee can also be found in retailing in Australia, New Zealand and the US.

Interestingly, the SPCAA believes that an increasing amount of coffee will be consumed in the major countries in which it is produced, with the organisation stating that there has already been a 3.9 per cent rise in these markets between 2004-2008.

Changes are also occurring in the type of coffee bean consumers are selecting, with gourmet grains the bean of choice for both espresso-based drinks and standard coffee drinks, according to the US-based National Coffee Association.

The industry continues to expand and diversify, with the roasting process an increasingly focused feature of the production process and due to the rise of micro and nano roasters, many artisan coffeehouses can roast their beans in-house.

With so much emphasis on the coffee market currently, cafes are having to do more and more to stand out in the fiercely competitive scene while remaining focused on providing customers a quality cup of coffee.