National Coffee Day seems like a no-brainer of a holiday. Every day seems like a celebration of this delicious drink, but believe it or not, there’s more to this title!
The function of National Coffee Day is to dive deep into what makes coffee so special, whether from a cultural standpoint or by shaking up countless recipes. If you’ve been curious about National Coffee Day or want to incorporate it into your own life, we’ll break things down for you.
We’ll look at the origin of this holiday as well as similar celebrations in different countries. It doesn’t matter if you rely on espresso to get through the day or are a passionate homebrewer in search of inspiration: you’ll walk away with a fresh perspective on the power of coffee!
Frequently Asked Questions About National Coffee Day
National Coffee Day has a few misconceptions swirling around it, due in no small part to the mass appeal of free coffee. Let’s take a look at what this holiday actually entails!
Is September 29th National Coffee Day?
For the most part, yes. The United States and Canada both celebrate this holiday on September 29th, but several countries will celebrate a little earlier or later.
Where Did National Coffee Day Come From?
With coffee intertwined in our everyday routine, it’s hard to believe there once was a time without this holiday. The official creation of National Coffee Day isn’t entirely known, but the earliest celebration was recorded in Japan back in 1983.
What is International Coffee Day?
While National Coffee Day had been around for decades prior, International Coffee Day would be declared by the ICO (International Coffee Organization) much later in 2015.
Countries across the world use National Coffee Day to focus on coffee culture or recipes. International Coffee Day offers a blend: this day celebrates the craft alongside shedding light on industry staples such as fair trade or promoting small businesses.
What Happens on National Coffee Day?
Unlike Halloween or Christmas, National Coffee Day isn’t quite so clear-cut on methods of celebration. If you love coffee and want to share it with others, you’re already enjoying the holiday in fine fashion. That said, coffee-related businesses will often take advantage of this increased attention from the public with the following:
- Discounts on coffee-related items
- Free coffee samples
- Coffee-related events (such as latte art competitions)
Can You Get Free Coffee on National Coffee Day?
Maybe! Some businesses offer discounts on all menu items, while others offer free coffee entirely. Check the website of the cafe or restaurant you want to visit to find out how they’re participating in the holiday.
How Do You Celebrate National Coffee Day at Work?
If you’re a business owner, you can celebrate National Coffee Day by purchasing wholesale coffee from your local businesses to give to your employees. Not only do you get into the spirit of celebration, but you’ll also support small businesses that get overshadowed by giants like Starbucks and Peet’s Coffee.
If you’re an employee who wants to cheer up your co-workers, take advantage of National Coffee Day sales to buy drinks for the office. To make sure everyone’s getting in the spirit, find out beforehand if anyone has lactose intolerance or caffeine sensitivities.
What Other Countries Celebrate National Coffee Day?
Coffee-themed days aren’t just a Western phenomenon. Just a few of the countries that celebrate National Coffee Day and International Coffee Day include:
- United States
- Costa Rica
- Sri Lanka
National Iced Coffee Day
Refreshing, delicious, and suitable for just about any occasion, it’s unsurprising National Iced Coffee has its own special day. Both customers and businesses celebrate this day on May 25th.
This holiday is extremely new, cropping up a few years ago thanks to Dunkin’ Donuts. Their celebration includes a free hot or iced coffee with the purchase of any of their drink, food, or merch items.
Starbucks National Coffee Day
Starbucks is so synonymous with coffee, many people believe National Coffee Day to be National Starbucks Day. As it stands, Starbucks just happens to be one of the brands that have celebrated this holiday the longest.
Starbucks usually celebrates National Coffee Day by providing one-day-only deals, such as a free espresso or a big discount on their special items. Their most recent celebration of the holiday included providing extra stars to reward members who brought in reusable cups.
National Coffee Days Around the World
What does National Coffee Day look like in different countries? We have a brief list below of the unique celebrations found around the world!
Costa Rica National Coffee Day
Costa Rica is a coffee-producing country that supplied nearly two million bags of coffee back in 2021. While not all coffee-producing nations have a local coffee culture (thanks to the nature of exporting coffee as a commodity), Costa Rica regularly celebrates National Coffee Day.
The actual date of the celebration shifts around from time to time, sometimes landing on the 12th of September, but other times on the 15th of September. This day is usually coordinated with their Independence Day, a holiday commemorating their independence from Spanish occupation in 1821.
Costa Rica exclusively produces arabica coffee, which sees high-quality yields supported by the country’s volcanic soil and high altitudes. Most coffee producers inherit their craft from their families, making coffee just as much a personal event as it is a business.
Japan National Coffee Day
While tea still reigns supreme, Japan imports several hundred thousand tons of coffee every year. Established in 1983 by the country’s national coffee association, Japan has a thriving coffee scene with many unique recipes.
Japan might have created the first National Coffee Day in 1983 and celebrates the holiday on October 1st. This country is well-known for its flash-brewed iced coffee, a delicious method that protects the coffee’s acidity to create a vivid cup.
Creating flash-brewed iced coffee involves using the pour-over brewing method over a cup of ice. The coffee will directly fall onto the ice instead of being poured in later, hence the speedy ‘flash brew’ in the name.
Japanese coffee culture differs from Western coffee culture as a trendy and sometimes counterculture drink compared to traditional tea ceremonies. That said, multiple age groups in Japan will frequent cafes to meet, study, or enjoy a moment’s peace.
India International Coffee Day
India is often underestimated in the national coffee production scene thanks to bigger players such as Brazil and Colombia. As it stands, India is actually the sixth-largest producer of coffee and has a rich coffee-producing history.
Indian coffee drinkers celebrate International Coffee Day on October 1st. Although chai and white tea are the reigning champions, coffee has become a beloved meet-and-greet beverage.
Fun fact: there’s actually a popular coffee chain in the country named Café Coffee Day!
Sri Lanka International National Coffee Day
On the coast of India is Sri Lanka, a country that celebrates National Coffee Day on October 1st. This small nation has been producing coffee since the 18th century, though it’s only recently seeing a revival as a coffee producer.
Ironically enough, Sri Lanka used to be one of the biggest coffee producers in the past! Sri Lankan farmlands have the gift of both high altitudes and rich soil, resulting in coffee beans that are in high demand these days.
While the country’s tea culture is better established, younger Sri Lankans are driving demand for high-quality coffee.
Vietnam International Coffee Day
Vietnam produces a significant chunk of the world’s coffee, particularly when it comes to instant and robusta varieties.
If you want to experiment with new coffee recipes or expand your cultural knowledge on International Coffee Day, look to Vietnam when October 1st comes around!
Consider trying cà phê đá, a Vietnamese iced coffee recipe that uses dark roasted beans with a drip filter. You can also try Vietnamese coffee beans with a dollop of condensed milk (a huge favorite among local coffee drinkers).
Preparing these recipes is easy once you buy a phin filter, a no-paper brewing method that creates French Press-like coffee.
Austria International Coffee Day
Austria also celebrates International Coffee Day on October 1st, though their coffee culture is rather different. Since they don’t produce coffee, their claim to fame lies in their dedication to artful cafes and cultural rituals.
Austria is well-known for its Viennese coffee houses, and elegantly built cafe that focuses on peaceful atmospheres and delicious pastries.
These buildings are generally designed to hearken to older times with old-fashioned architecture and mass availability of newspapers and magazines.
Belgium International Coffee Day
Belgium’s International Coffee Day lands on October 1st and has a few superficial similarities to Austria, such as importing coffee instead of exporting.
Belgium is known for being one of the world’s oldest coffee trade hubs. Today most of the country enjoys coffee on a regular basis, whether it’s from the rapidly growing instant coffee sector or in-person at one of their many cafes.