Exploring Gen-Z consumers’ preference for specialty coffee in the socio-cultural context of Taiwan

Mei Jung (Sebrina) Wang, Emmanuel Kwame Opoku, Aaron Tham*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This study aims to explore factors that affect gendered consumption (male and female), willingness to pay (economic attributes) and the socio-cultural context of Gen-Z consumers towards specialty coffee as compared to other types in Taiwan. Design/methodology/approach: Samoggia and Riedel’s (2018) theoretical framework is adopted to examine the concepts of interest. A mixed method approach comprising interviews and experimental taste tests was used to collect data from Gen-Z specialty coffee consumers in a purposive sampling manner. Findings: The findings suggested the effect of price elasticity of demand where specialty coffee was perceived as an expensive commodity by young consumers, and hence, not a regularly purchased item. Nevertheless, specialty coffee was linked to health benefits, and a signal for conspicuous consumption – where café experiences facilitated self-promotion on sites like Instagram and Facebook. Finally, the findings alluded to a potential gender effect, with more female young consumers likely to consume specialty coffee as compared to their male counterparts. Originality/value: This study is located within the context of Taiwan, which has been a tea-dominated consumption landscape for numerous decades. The use of an experimental design also presents a unique angle to elucidate sensory elements surrounding specialty coffee as a research design for Gen-Z research projects. The study points to the relevance of social context in the consumers’ behavioural patterns, which has been largely implicit within consumer behaviour scholarship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)368-382
Number of pages15
JournalYoung Consumers
Issue number3
Early online date9 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2024


  • Conspicuous consumption
  • Consumer behaviour
  • Cross-cultural differences
  • Willingness to pay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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