Coffee is Awesome Part II

by | Sep 13, 2018

Winston Wolf appreciates gourmet coffee!

We Americans love our coffee and we are well-caffeinated. Is coffee good for you and related facts here: Coffee is Awesome Part I

It seems like we are drinking more coffee than ever in the U.S. and that the quality of the coffee has greatly increased as compared with the 70s, 80s and 90s. Are these impressions actually true? These questions are addressed below with data from the National Coffee Association (NCA).

  • In the U.S. we drink a lot of coffee as 64% of adults surveyed in 2017 said they had a cup of coffee the prior day. That daily consumption rate compares to 35% for soft drinks, 56% for bottled water, 49% for tap water and 44% for tea.
  • Surprisingly, while 64% drinking coffee daily reflects a lot of Americans drinking coffee, it is way down from 1954 when 78% of adults were daily coffee drinkers. From the 1950s to 1990s the proportion of adults who were daily coffee drinkers steadily declined and  bottomed out in the mid-1990s at below 50%. (It could be that coffee consumption declined as cigarette smoking declined as smoking may increase coffee consumption.)
  • For the first time in the 67 years of collecting data on coffee, in 2017 the NCA found that the majority of cups of coffee consumed in the U.S. is classified as “gourmet” at 59% of cups of coffee consumed. The quality of coffee consumed has risen greatly over time as in 1999 only 9% of coffee consumed was “gourmet.”
  • 46% of coffee consumed is now out-of-the-home, which has been a steadily rising trend over the past decades as well. From the NCA: 
    “People 65 years and older are the most likely to have coffee exclusively at-home. Meanwhile, coffee drinkers under 35 years are nearly one-third more likely to drink coffee from a café or donut shop.”
  • When do people drink coffee? 82 percent drank it at breakfast, 41 percent drank it between breakfast and lunch, and 13 percent drank it in the evening. Note that the numbers add up to over 100% because some drink coffee during multiple time periods.
  • Americans who drink coffee drink 3.1 cups a day on average.
  • There may be a trend of beginning to drink coffee at a younger age. According to Bloomberg:   Younger millennials, born after 1995, started drinking coffee at about 14.7 years old, while older millennials, born closer to 1982, began at 17.1 years.
  • 24% of traditional coffee drinkers consume it “black.” There are age differences on how Americans take their coffee as shown below.
From National Coffee Association presentation.
  • Another trend has been the increase in single cup brewers, such as Keurig or Nespresso machines, both at work and at home. This chart shows what Americans use to make their coffee:

From National Coffee Association presentation.

Here’s the classic interaction between Jules and Jimmy regarding his gourmet coffee in Pulp Fiction:

This IFOD has referred a lot to trends in coffee consumption. However, trends can be tricky: The Trend is Not Necessarily Your Friend.

1 Comment

  1. I keep reading more and more positive things about drinking coffee. Given as much coffee as I drink (half-caf; dark roast), this is good news.


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