How do we consume coffee?

Coffee is loved the world over and growing consumption in many places – but there is still a large variation in the amount of coffee consumed in different countries.

The Scandinavians are some of the highest per capita consumers of coffee, with Finland the leading nation for coffee drinking (three times more coffee is consumed by the average Fin than the average Brit).

In fact much of Europe is also far ahead of the UK in coffee consumption – Germans at almost double our intake, and our neighbours in Ireland drinking almost a third more coffee than us.

However Britain has definitely embraced coffee with greater passion over recent decades, with also a rising likelihood of consuming ethical coffee and brewed coffee (rather than instant). We’re approximately drinking 1 shot of coffee per person per day on average – but obviously the range from the coffee adicts to those who don’t go near it is very wide!

Around half of us prefer a milky coffee of some kind – perhaps a cappuccino, a latte or a flat white, while almost a third are more likely to favour a black coffee – an espresso, or black americano. Flavour shots and cold brew coffee or frappes are both niche favourites, with around one in twenty enjoying each of these types of coffee as their favourite variation.

It used to be that Tea was unquestionably Britain’s favourite beverage, but now it’s a much more close-run thing – with almost two thirds of people saying that they regularly enjoy coffee (the same proportion as for tea).

There has been a general trend that people start drinking coffee in their late teens and increase rapidly through their 20s in their consumption (perhaps this is related to the need to keep alert at work!) and the consumption remains high until people are in their early 60s. From then on consumption is not as strong, but still moderate – this could be related to a greater propensity to drink coffee in the working environment.

An alternative view could be that those of more senior years were more inclined towards a cup of tea and instant coffee and never fully embraced the coffee culture and variety of espresso based drinks that the younger half of the population have perhaps more enthusiastically embraced. If so, it would suggest that in future coffee consumption may rise in later years as people take their coffee drinking preferences through into retirement with them.

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