Coffee — an old inspiration whose buzz is only growing
Coffee, the bitter beginning to so many mornings, has been enjoyed since at least the 13th century when the first roasted coffee was served. Today somewhere upward of 2 billion cups each day go down. So who drinks it? And how much? The Dutch, the world’s biggest drinkers, down almost 21/2 cups per day on average, according to market research firm Euromonitor. Americans are 16th, at less than a cup each day (way down from 1946, when American consumption peaked at two cups a day).
The rise in coffee shops such as Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts has popularized prepared coffee drinks, like Frappuccinos and chai tea lattes, particularly among America’s youths. Almost half of all young adults, ages 18 to 35, say that they buy such a concoction at least once a week.
The fastest-growing segment of the coffee industry is the pod business, and it’s not even close, driven in the United States by Keurig. One way to measure that ascent is this statistic, from Murray Carpenter’s book “Caffeinated”: If you were to string all of the K-cups discarded in 2011 together, they would have encircled the globe more than six times. In 2013, the leftover pods could have circled the globe 10 times.
Much of the world drinks instant coffee, which is easy to make and perfect for people who don’t appreciate the nuanced flavors of coffee. Exhibit A: Asia Pacific, where tea drinking traditions are strong, is the world’s largest instant coffee consuming region by sales. No coffee is quite as ubiquitous as Nescafé, which 41 countries prefer.
In the United States, coffee preferences split the nation in half: Starbucks Country and Dunkin’ Donuts Land. Overall, there are about 12,000 Starbucks locations and 7,500 Dunkin’ Donuts locations here. In fact, 80 percent of Americans live within 20 miles of a Starbucks.
Brazil is overwhelmingly the world’s biggest producer, responsible for about a third of the world’s output. Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia and Ethiopia together produce over 70 percent of the world’s beans.
Addiction to it is nothing new. J.S. Bach wrote a mini-opera around 1735 known as the “Coffee Cantata.” It is about a woman who won’t stop drinking coffee and her father who won’t let her marry until she does. They each have a change of heart ina kind of Gift of the Magi situation, andthe piece ends with everyone singing coffee’s praises.
J.S. Bach wrote a mini-opera around 1735 known as the “Coffee Cantata.”