Coffee Drinking Trends Around The World
Coffee is one of the world’s most popular non-alcoholic drinks, loved across the globe for its rich aroma and smooth taste. World coffee consumption in 2021 saw an estimated 167 million 60kg bags of coffee beans made into delicious beverages!
More than 70 tropical countries grow coffee today, with the top three producing nations being Brazil, Colombia and Vietnam. All over the world, people drink coffee in different ways, from a quick pick-me-up before work to ceremonial coffee-making and drinking in some countries.
The history of coffee
Legend has it the discovery of coffee was around 850 AD by an Ethiopian goat herder called Kaldi. He herded his flock around the ancient forests, where coffee plants were abundant. He noticed the goats became more lively after eating the plants, sometimes not sleeping at night. Kaldi told the abbot of the local monastery about his find. Intrigued, the abbot made a drink using the berries of the coffee plants. It made him extremely alert, even during the long hours of evening prayers, due to the caffeine. Soon, knowledge of this energising drink – made from the fruit of the Coffea plant – spread throughout the local area and beyond. Coffee drinking reached the Arabian peninsula and continued its long journey around the world.
Coffee houses were prevalent in Turkey, Syria, Persia and Arabia by the 15th century. Coffee arrived in Europe in the 16th century and was given the seal of approval by Pope Clement VIII himself. London had more than 300 coffee houses by the mid-17th century. They were places where artists, writers, scientists, merchants and politicians socialised- many of which were open all night and became popular hang-out spots! Coffee-drinking spread across the Americas from the mid-17th century onwards. It overtook tea as the United States’ most popular non-alcoholic beverage in the 1770s.
Which country drinks the most coffee?
In terms of how the world drinks coffee, Scandinavian coffee drinkers take first place in the volume of coffee that each person drinks daily. In Finland, the average person drinks 12 kg of coffee annually, equating to four cups a day. In the workplace, two official coffee breaks a day are traditionally slotted into the schedule! Norway is second on the list, with the average person drinking 9.9 kg of coffee per year, especially as coffee houses are particularly popular in Norway.
In Iceland, coffee has long been the most popular social drink – more so than alcohol. Each Icelandic person consumes 9 kg of coffee beans annually. It’s customary to offer visitors a cup of coffee. The reply, “tíu dropar”, translates literally to “ten drops”, meaning just a small cup. The populations of Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg all rate in the top ten nations of coffee-drinkers in terms of the amount of coffee beans consumed per person.
The Swiss in particular have been imaginative in creating new drinks, combining sweetened coffee with red wine to make the popular drink, Luzerner Kafi. Switzerland was also the birthplace of Nespresso, one of the world’s most popular coffee brands.
When it comes to the sheer volume of coffee consumed as a nation, the United States tops the list, as 27,310 60-lb bags of coffee beans are made into beverages there every year. This is due to the vast size of America and the number of people who live there. In terms of the amount of coffee each person drinks, the US is only 25th on the list. Perhaps surprisingly, in the UK, only 3,770 60-lb bags of coffee beans are made into beverages each year, in a country where everyone seems to love a cup of coffee!
Coffee drinking trends in different countries
There are many different coffee food and drink trends around the world, with various customs having sprung up over the years. There are four main types of coffee beans, the most popular being Arabica, followed by Robusta. The Excelsa and Liberica coffee beans are less common, and about 60% of the world’s coffee is made from Arabica beans, originating in Ethiopia.
Although the UK is known as a nation of tea-drinkers, the average Brit drinks two cups of coffee per day. Britain has embraced the coffee shop culture of Scandinavia, with foamy latte being the most popular choice. In recent years, connoisseur coffees have overtaken the standard cup of instant coffee with two sugars! It soon became known as a breakfast drink in Britain to pick people up before work.
Coffee houses across Europe were inspired by the perceived Eastern mysticism of Turkish coffee houses as coffee first arrived in Turkey in the 1550s, courtesy of the Syrian merchants. It quickly became a mainstay of the ceremonies and traditions of the Ottoman court and remains a special beverage in the modern era. Turkish coffee houses are meeting places where people socialise, play table games such as backgammon and discuss the political climate.
Traditional Turkish coffee is made in a long-handled copper pot, known as a cezve. There’s a certain ceremonial feel to making Turkish coffee. One cup of water and two teaspoons of sugar per person are added to the cezve. The coffee is brought to a boil until rich and foamy and is traditionally served with Turkish delight. While Italy is often seen as the home of coffee, surprisingly, it doesn’t feature as one of the world’s top coffee-drinking nations. Yet Italy has given us many of our favourite beverages, such as cappuccino, espresso and latte- a popular drink among Italians is a tiny cup of strong, dark espresso.