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The Caffeine Fix: Coffee Consumption, History, Trends & Industry Statistics

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22 February, 2020 • Updated 6 days ago
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The Caffeine Fix: Coffee Consumption, History, Trends & Industry Statistics

About 500 billion cups of coffee is consumed across the globe in a typical year. That’s roughly equivalent to about 2.25 billion cups of coffee per day, every day making it one of the most popular drinks.

The U.S. and Canada celebrate National Coffee Day on September 29 while the International Coffee day is celebrated by other nations on October 1.

To learn more about the drink that has become a ritual for many, we scoured the web and combed through research reports to find the most interesting data around the consumption, spending, and emerging trends of coffee.

Global consume of coffee.
Global consume of coffee.

Coffee History

The discovery of coffee is attributed to an Ethiopian legend, famously known as the story of Kaldi, the 9th-century Ethiopian goatherd who discovered coffee when he noticed how excited his goats became after eating the beans from a coffee plant. (National Coffee Association USA)

The discovery of coffee can be found on the story of Kaldi.

While the aforementioned discovery is more of an apocryphal and cannot be proven to be true, one thing is certain: coffee came from Ethiopia and later made its way north across the red sea into Yemen in the 15th century.

Map of Yemen and Ethipia.
Did you know? Caffè mocha’s name is derived from the city of Mocha, Yemen where the beans first arrived.

The coffee trade then spread to the Arabian Peninsula, Persia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey.

First known coffee shop
The first coffee shop, was opened in Constantinople around 1475. (The Spruce Eats)

Coffee finally arrived in Venice in 1570 and quickly became quite popular and as the 1600’s rolled on, coffee houses sprung up all over Europe in England, Austria, France, Germany and Holland.

At least five attempts have been made throughout history to ban coffee consumption, including in Mecca, Constantinople, Italy, Sweden and Prussia. (National Coffee Association USA)

America’s journey with coffee started in the 18th century.

Famous coffee fiends.
Voltaire, Beethoven, Theodore Roosevelt, Benjamin Franklin and Napoleon were all said to be coffee fiends during their lives. (Mental Floss)

Declaration of Independence author Thomas Jefferson was a coffee fan, reportedly declaring it “The favorite drink of the civilized world.” (Monticello)

Instant Coffee.
Instant coffee was invented in England in 1771. (Mental Floss)

Coffee pods used by single-brew coffee makers were introduced in the 1990s, aimed at office and other workplaces. Today, single-cup brewers account for about $950 million in annual sales.(Statista)

Single-cup brewing systems sales in the past years.
Single-cup brewing systems sales in the past years.

U.S. Coffee Consumption

Since its introduction to the newly formed American colonies in the 17th century, coffee has become one of the most popular beverages in the United States.

More than 450 million cups of coffee are consumed in the United States every day and as much as  63% of American adults drink coffee daily. (National Coffee Association USA)

In 2019, the average person drinks 2 cups of coffee per day, up from 1.64 in 2016. (Statista)

About 1.8 million kilograms of coffee was consumed in North America in 2019. That’s an increase of about 3% since 2015. (nternational Coffee Organization)

Over the past five years, residents of Hawaii, Washington and Oregon have expressed the most interest in coffee, according to Google search data.

Here’s a look at where search interest has been strongest since January 2015.

Search volume for coffee by state, 2015-2020.
Search volume for coffee by state, 2015-2020 (Google Trends)

Gourmet coffee is preferred by daily coffee drinkers by a 60/40 margin over non-gourmet. (Roast Magazine)

In-home preparation is becoming less common, with 78% of daily drinkers making their coffee at home compared to 84% in 2012. (Roast Magazine)

The six lead characters on “Friends” consumed a total of 1,154 cups of coffee at their Central Perk hangout, according to a fan analysis. (BuzzFeed)

Aside from water, coffee is the most frequently consumed daily beverage in the United States.

Daily beverage consumption of coffee
Daily beverage consumption. (National Coffee Association USA)

Starbucks is the largest coffee retailer in the U.S., with nearly 15,000 stores across the country. Its rival, Dunkin’ (formerly Dunkin’ Donuts), has about 9,500 locations, but Dunkin’ is the favored coffee in most of New England.

Relative search volume, Dunkin’ vs. Starbucks
Relative search volume, Dunkin’ vs. Starbucks by state, past 12 months. (Google Trends)

Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. coffee drinkers say the only way they know how to make coffee is with single-cup brewers like Keurig. (National Coffee Association USA)

U.S. Coffee Industry

Most American coffee drinkers prepare their coffee at home using coffee grinders, french-press and other devices, but the U.S. coffee shop market is worth more than $45 billion per year, with huge corporations like Starbucks among the leading players.

60% of U.S. consumers visit a branded coffee shop at least once a month. (Beverage Daily)

Starbucks is the biggest coffee shop in the world, but several smaller chains are nonetheless billion-dollar firms.

Reported revenue and sales figures, most recent available years.

In addition to old-guard coffee companies like Starbucks and Dunkin’, coffee is a hot commodity in the venture capital world, with coffee startups drawing upwards of $1 billion combined.

Hot new brands include Blue Bottle, Bellwether Coffee, Alpine Start, Wandering Bear and Rise Brewing. Bulletproof Coffee famously drew more than $60 million in VC investment. (TechCrunch)

U.S. Coffee Drinker Demographics

We know that a majority of American adults drink coffee every day, but what do we know about the different demographics and which groups are most likely to consume coffee, whether regularly or on special occasions?

The average coffee-drinking woman spends $2,327 per year at coffee shops, while the average man spends $1,934, according to a recent survey. (Amerisleep)

Average coffee consumption of men and women in America.

72% of people over 60 drink coffee every day, compared to just 47% of 18- to 24-year-olds. (Roast Magazine)

 Daily coffee consumption by age group.
Daily coffee consumption by age group.

Hispanics and Latinos have the highest rate of coffee consumption among American adults.

Daily coffee consumption by race or ethnicity
Daily coffee consumption by race or ethnicity. (National Coffee Association USA)

While 63% of American adults drink coffee daily, even more consume it occasionally, with 71% drinking coffee in the past week and 79% in the past year. (National Coffee Association USA)

3 in 4 coffee drinkers 65 or older only drink coffee at home. (National Coffee Association USA)

Older people spend by far the least at coffee shops among all age groups, just $7 per year, according to a recent survey.

Average annual coffee shop spending by age group.
Average annual coffee shop spending by age group. (Amerisleep)

Health Benefits of Coffee

Coffee seems like a pretty straightforward drink, but the truth is the science behind making coffee and how it can benefit the human body is pretty complicated.

Research has indicated that consuming between 3 to 10 cups of coffee per day may lower the risk of several diseases, including cancer and diabetes. (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health)

The oldest cat ever (Creme Puff, who lived to be 38) reportedly drank coffee every day of its life. (Guinness)

More than 100 coffee species have been identified, but the two that are mainly produced are Arabica and Robusta. (The Roasters Pack)

Coffee species.
Arabica and Robusta are two of the most popular coffee species.

Robusta has 2.7% caffeine content, and Arabica has 1.5%. (The Roasters Pack)

About 49.8% of coffee drinkers say they feel moderately more productive in the hour after drinking caffeine. (Amerisleep.com)

Coffee and productivity.
Coffee and its impact on people’s productivity.

An estimated 1 in 4 coffee drinkers take their coffee black. What are some other common preparations? (Greatist)

  • Late: Espresso combined with steamed milk and thin foam
  • Americano: Hot water combined with espresso
  • Pour over: Hot water and coffee combined through slow-pour device
  • Flat white: Espresso combined with steamed milk and very thin foam
  • Moha: Espresso combined with chocolate syrup and steamed milk
  • Cold-brew: Coarse-ground coffee combined with room-temperature water
  • Espresso: Finely ground beans brewed with pressurized water
  • Macchiato: Espresso combined with steamed milk with thick foam
  • Cortado: Half-espresso/half-steamed milk with very thin foam
  • Red-eye: Drip coffee plus a shot of espresso

Coffee grounds have been used to power car engines, and the record for the longest trip taken by a coffee-powered car was set by a 1988 Volkswagen Scirocco, which drove from London to Manchester on coffee power. (Guinness)

Global Coffee Production & Consumption

South America, Asia and Oceania account for the vast majority of global coffee production, and one country — Brazil — produces more than one-third of all the coffee produced across the globe.

Brazil is the top coffee-producing country in the world, followed by Vietnam and Columbia.

Coffee production by country
Coffee production by country, thousand 60-kg bags. (USDA)

Most coffee-producing countries have made modest gains in overall production over the past several years, while some countries have reduced output in that time.

Change in total production, 2015-2019.
Change in total production, 2015-2019. (USDA)

The most expensive single-serving coffee pod in the world is sold in Singapore, and it costs nearly $275. (Guinness)

U.S. consumers drink far more coffee than either of their continental neighbors, Canada and Mexico, combined, and Brazil is just behind the U.S. and EU in consumption.

Domestic coffee consumption.
Domestic coffee consumption, thousand 60-kg bags. (USDA)

Coffee is second to crude oil as the most commonly traded commodity worldwide. (Forbes)

An Italian university offers a master’s degree in coffee economics and science. (Fondazione Ernesto Illy)

Egyptians (+82.1%), Moroccans (+61.9%) and Serbians (+54.3%) have increased their coffee consumption more rapidly than any other countries since 2015. (USDA)

The United States is second only to the tiny principality of Monaco when it comes to the concentration of Starbucks stores.

Starbucks per 1 million people, top 10
Starbucks per 1 million people, top 10. (Silver Door Apartments)

Al Masaa Cafe in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, is the world’s largest coffee shop, seating 1,050 people.

World largest coffee shop
The World largest coffee shop is located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Guinness)

Conclusion

Whether you take it black or with a shot of espresso, or whether it comes out of a single-cup machine or you wait by the pour-over brewer, most of us can’t start our days off right without that first cup of Joe.

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