Millenial coffee drinkers

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COLUMBIA - As more millennials are getting hooked on the hot stuff, prices in the coffee futures market are increasing.

Bloomberg cited research that found people from ages 19 to 34 are drinking more coffee.

Those people only account for around 20 percent of the U.S. population, but they consume 44 percent of coffee in the country.

Natalie Miller is 22 years old and drinks coffee about three times a week.

She believes her generation enjoys the atmosphere of coffee houses.

“I kind of feel like millennials are really pampered and that it’s kind of a place of comfort, and that like ‘oh I don’t just want to sit like at a desk and work. I want a like a nice, comfortable chair and a nice, comfortable environment,’” Miller said.

During the eight years through 2016, daily consumption of people between ages 18 to 24 rose 14 percent while among people 25 to 39 consumption rose just 9 percent, and for adults 60 and over decreased by 12 percent.

The Grind Coffee House in south Columbia has been open since mid-May and offers a setting that draws millennials, who account for nearly 50 percent of its customers.

Owner Aucky El-Tayash said he caters to that crowd.

“I do get a lot of students because, like I said, I’m open so late," he said. "We have a big space. We have, I’ve actually made like study bars where you can plug in your iPhones or your computers. I have like the USB jacks with, I even have like the stands where you can put like your iPads and stuff on the wall so it doesn’t take up your space. So I’ve catered some of my shop to studying. I have a conference room that turns into a quiet study room after like 6 p.m., so I get a lot of people using that for studying.”

The general manager at Lakota Coffee Company, Andrew DuCharme, believes more millennials are drinking coffee because of the increase in variety.

“There’s more coffee options for an introductory coffee drinker. You know, instead of just being able to start off with a black cup of coffee and adding cream or sugar, you can now add pumpkin creamer to it, or hazelnut creamer to it. You can make it your own where you get that personalization,” DuCharme said.

Both coffee shops are active on social media and they believe this helps reach the millennial population. 

Judith Ganes, president of a commodities research and consulting services company out of New York, said the prices in the coffee market are at higher levels. 

Ganes said price fluctuations are normal in the market, so the current situation is no cause for immediate concern.

She said the coffee industry has evolved with innovative products that lend to a newfound appreciation for quality, and if millennials weren’t increasing consumption the industry would be facing a challenge.

However, higher prices might not deter some people.

“I would just probably like use it as a special like splurge,” Miller said.

She already spends around $10 a week on coffee.

“I like the foo-foo drinks so, I probably spend a lot, too much, because white chocolate mochas ain’t cheap,” Miller said.

DuCharme said he has seen more coffee shops opening in the area in the last two years.

Since last November, there are more than 10 new businesses in Columbia that offer coffee, according to business licenses issued since November 2015.