It would be hard to argue that this is a legitimately useful tool in specialty coffee trend-spotting, but this wacky new trend reporter from Yelp is undeniably fun.
Yelp is calling the thing Yelp Trends, saying that its 10 years in business allowing user reviews of restaurants and any number of other retail shops allows for trend-spotting in dozens of major cities throughout the world. Go ahead, type in anything: Aeropress in Tucson? Schlitz vs. PBR in Milwaukee? Laser tag vs. underground hand-to-hand combat in Cleveland? Anything goes.
The keywords come from Yelp’s 57 million user reviews, and Yelp suggests they can be used thusly:
From food trends to popular slang to short-lived beauty fads (Brazilian blowout anyone?), Yelp Trends searches through words used in Yelp reviews to show you what’s hot and reveals the trend-setting cities that kicked it all off. Our massive wealth of data and the high quality reviews contributed by the Yelp community are what allow us to surface consumer trends and behavior based on ten years of experiences shared by locals around the world. For example, are San Franciscans still sipping PBR or craving craft beer? Is the CrossFit fad still going strong or losing steam? Are Londoners loving bob hairstyles or feeling more fringe (that’s bangs, for you Americans) these days? And every city has its favorite food trucks now, but where did this meals-on-wheels phenomenon first take off?
Let’s see this thing in action. How about a muffins to doughnuts to cronuts comparison in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Seattle? You got it:
The only real takeaways I’m getting here is that Chicagoans love doughnuts, Los Angeles went nuts for cronuts in late 2013, and Seattle couldn’t really care less about cronuts, thank you very much.
How about the popularity of cortados in New York? Let’s give it a spin:
Wham! It appears 2014 is a big year for cortados in the Big Apple.
You get the idea. Try it here.
Nick Brown is the editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. Feedback and story ideas are welcome. See the "About Us" page located at the bottom of this site for contact information.