Statistics have shown year after year that coffee is the most popular drink in the United States besides water. It is also considered to be the “most popular drug in the world” due to the fact that caffeine can technically be classified as a drug.
An overwhelming majority of Americans start their workdays with at least one cup of coffee, and in this article, we will take a deeper dive into coffee consumption in the United States today.
We will also go back a bit further to better understand how coffee became such an important part of life in America, and take a look at US Coffee Consumption Statistics and how it stacks up against the rest of the world.
History of Coffee in the United States
America’s love for coffee can be traced back to the era of the Revolutionary War, as it became a popular alternative to tea in the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party in 1773. This led to innovations like the first American commercial coffee roaster in the year 1864, and the advent of instant coffee in the late 1800s.
While coffee was prominently featured at diners and restaurants in the US all throughout the 1900s, the rise of the dedicated coffee shop in the 1970s and 1980s helped push the popularity of coffee even further.
Popular coffee chains like Starbucks as well as the advent of the local coffee shop have made coffee a regular part of life and business for many in the US. The advent of the internet cafe in the 2000s made coffee shops even more associated with productivity, and today many working professionals utilize coffee shops to get their work done.
Many of the most popular trends in the world of coffee today involve “old school” tools and processes to make coffee, as the younger generation of coffee lovers seems to be placing more emphasis on quality and sustainability over convenience when it comes to their daily cup of java.
US Coffee Consumption Statistics
- Over 6 out of 10 Americans drink coffee every single day
- Single-serve coffee machine sales grew by 50 percent between 2015 and 2020
- Smartphone ordering is on the rise at chains like Starbucks and Dunkin
- Espresso drinks and cold brew are extremely popular with the younger crowd
- Regular drip coffee is one of the only coffee styles becoming less popular in the USA
- It is estimated that 400 million cups of coffee are consumed in the US every day
According to the “Atlas of American Coffee” published by the National Coffee Association, 70 percent of Americans drink coffee every week, with 62 percent of them drinking coffee daily. Coffee consumption also grew one percent each year between 2015 and 2020 for a total gain of five percent.
Another interesting trend worth noting was the fact that the prevalence of home-based single-serve coffee makers increased ten percent each year during that same five-year period. Evidence also showed that younger coffee enthusiasts (aged 18 to 24) were about double as likely to drink coffee outside of “breakfast hours.”
Just under half of all Americans surveyed for the study regularly order coffee out at restaurants, cafes, and coffee chains, with the other half claiming that they usually only make their coffee at home. About one quarter of all coffee drinkers surveyed also reported that they regularly use a smartphone app to order their coffee.
Some of the most popular coffee chains in the world have rolled out these smartphone apps in the last decade, and they have become extremely popular for a number of reasons. They almost always come with rewards programs and perks, and they make it easy to pay for coffee at large chains like Dunkin and Starbucks.
It is also estimated that between the years of 2015 and 2020, six out of ten cups of coffee served in the United States were made with a premium blend of roasted coffee beans, and were of high enough quality to be considered “gourmet.”
Espresso-based drinks also saw a huge rise in popularity over the same five-year period, with younger coffee enthusiasts aged between 25 and 39 leading the way in terms of sales. Some of the most popular espresso-based drinks are the latte and cappuccino, both of which are served with various flavor combinations at large coffee chains.
Another trend that increased in popularity each year was the prevalence of cold brew coffee. Many young Americans are making the switch to cold brew due to its elevated flavor profile and high caffeine content, and an estimated 20 percent of Americans under 40 reported drinking at least one cold brew drink per week.
With such a significant rise in both cold brew and espresso-based drinks, it comes as no surprise that there was a decline in popularity when it comes to traditional drip coffee. “Regular coffee” saw a decline in popularity of around 10 percent, which is fairly moderate considering how prevalent other styles of coffee have become.
When accounting for all these different styles and variations of coffee, it is estimated that Americans drink somewhere in the ballpark of 400 million cups of coffee every single day. The yearly figure is somewhere around 146 billion cups of coffee, and the numbers indicate that this total is likely to increase each year.
USA vs Rest of World Coffee Consumption
- While coffee is popular in the US, it does not crack the top 20 in per capita consumption
- Countries with generally cold climates like Finland drinks the most coffee per person
- The size of the USA still makes it the top worldwide coffee consumer in terms of volume
When comparing figures and statistics related to coffee consumption between different countries, it is important to use “per capita” figures. These figures indicate coffee consumption on a “per person” basis, as opposed to just comparing total figures.
Using per capita figures is the best way to directly compare the prevalence of coffee, as it helps even the playing field when it comes to large discrepancies between the populations of larger and smaller countries.
For example, the countries with the highest amount of coffee consumption are Scandinavian countries like Finland, Norway, and Iceland. While the overall populations of these countries are all relatively small compared to the United States, coffee is far more prevalent on a day-to-day basis by a wide margin.
In fact, the government of Finland has even made it illegal to not allow Finnish workers two ten-minute coffee breaks per work day. The average person in Finland drinks somewhere around four cups of coffee per day, a full cup higher than in the US.
When it comes to total coffee consumption, the United States is consistently number one on the list every single year. However, after accounting for the total population, the United States ranks 25th in terms of the most coffee consumed on a per-person basis.
Coffee vs Tea and Energy Drink Statistics
- While coffee is the most popular beverage in the US, tea is more prevalent worldwide
- Coffee is three times more common in the USA compared to tea
- Energy drinks have become more popular in the USA over the past two decades
- Coffee generally contains more caffeine than tea, but less than an energy drink
Coffee and Tea are the two most popular caffeinated beverages in the entire world. Regional preferences play a major role in terms of the prevalence of each, and the statistics paint a vivid picture when it comes to which is more popular in different parts of the globe.
For example, in the United States, the statistics reflect that coffee is somewhere around three times as prevalent as tea in terms of both availability and consumption. In Russia, that ratio is essentially reversed, with tea being three times as popular as coffee among citizens.
It is estimated that somewhere around three cups of tea are consumed for every cup of coffee worldwide, but statistics in the United States reflect a juxtaposition for that trend. While tea consumption in the US is growing somewhere around five percent per year, coffee growth still outpaces tea by far.
In terms of strength, coffee generally has a higher amount of caffeine than tea. An eight-ounce cup of coffee typically contains around 95 milligrams of caffeine, while eight ounces of black tea contains around 47 milligrams.
This number can vary widely depending on the style of coffee and how it is made, so it is always important to specify how much espresso is included in drinks like lattes and Americanos. Some coffee shops use one shot of espresso per drink, while at others a double shot is the standard.
While coffee is still the most popular caffeinated beverage in the United States, energy drinks have seen a significant increase in popularity in recent years. Energy drinks have become particularly popular among younger people, with many energy drink companies marketing to the demographic with extreme sports sponsorships.
In the United States, energy drink sales have grown by an average of just under six percent annually between 2015 and 2020, according to market research firm Euromonitor International. While this increase in sales is significant, energy drinks pose little threat to coffee in terms of popularity and market share.
In a random survey of Americans conducted in the year 2021, one out of five people reported that they had consumed an energy drink within the last 48 hours. 64 percent of people in the same survey indicated that they had enjoyed a cup of coffee in that same time period, making coffee at least three times as prevalent.
US Coffee Consumption Statistics – Conclusion
Coffee is an extremely important part of life for many Americans, and more coffee beans are consumed within the US compared to any other country by far. While there are other countries that drink more coffee than the US on a per capita basis, there is still a large and flourishing coffee scene in each one of the 50 states to explore.
Tea is more popular than coffee on a worldwide basis, though it is about one-third as popular as coffee in the United States.
Feel free to leave a comment below if you know of any interesting coffee-related statistics or figures, and be sure to let other coffee lovers know any fun facts that you are aware of!