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Industry Insights

International Coffee Habits Survey

michael-wood
By Michael Wood
CMO, Versa Networks
June 22, 2022

When we consider the ties that most closely bind us, the need for a morning infusion of caffeine might be at the top of the list. No matter where you are, more often than not, that catalyst comes in one form: coffee.

Whether it’s the taste, mood boost, or social aspects of enjoying a cup that is most appealing to you, coffee has made its way into cultures of countries around the world and has become an integral part of daily life for millions. In honor of those who can’t get their day started without it, we wanted to take a closer look at how the beloved drink is enjoyed in different regions around the world.

Methodology

In April 2022, we surveyed over 2,000 people from 25 different countries to find out how coffee habits and preferences change across the globe. We asked them questions to get insights into how much they enjoy coffee, how many cups they drink per day, what additives they use, and what they would be willing to give up to obtain their daily caffeine boost. While certain elements of coffee drinking seem to differ regionally, many of our respondents agree that coffee is best enjoyed in the morning, it plays a role in both our mood and productivity, and the best chain to get that morning cup from is Starbucks. 

A world map showing how popular coffee is in different countries

Coffee Popularity: North America vs. Europe

Coffee habits and preferences may change regionally, but based on our analysis, one thing is clear: people everywhere enjoy a cup of Joe. On average, residents from each of the 25 countries we surveyed drink over 1 cup of coffee per day. Let’s take a look at how they differ between countries we surveyed in North America and Europe.

Five of the countries we surveyed, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and the U.S., drink over two cups of coffee daily while only three drink less than 1.5 cups per day, Austria, Poland, and Mexico.

It could be the sensation of drinking hot coffee in a colder climate or the allure of their famous lighter roasts, but the Scandinavian affinity for coffee and how it’s worked its way into their respective cultures is well documented. That’s why it’s no surprise that, according to our survey, Norway is the country that drinks the most coffee with a daily average intake of 2.54 cups. In terms of coffee, Norway is best known for its kokekaffe, which is steeped coffee prepared over an open fire.

Sweden, Norway’s neighbor, is a close second in coffee consumption with residents reporting they drink an average of 2.42 cups per day. Coffee is such a big part of Sweden’s culture that there is a custom called Fika, which is a social gathering (not unlike the U.K.’s tea time) where people pause from their day and enjoy the company of those around them (with coffee, of course).

The three other countries that round out the top 5 when it comes to cups of coffee per day are Germany (2.04 cups), France (2.02 cups), and the U.S. (2.00 cups). Austria (1.48 cups), Poland (1.43 cups), and Mexico (1.34 cups) are the countries in our survey that consume the least amount of coffee, which may come as a surprise considering Mexico produces the ninth most coffee in the world.

We also asked survey respondents about the types of coffee they most enjoy from lattes to cappuccinos. Of the 25 countries we surveyed, nine of them prefer regular coffee over specialty drinks. Finland is the country that most prefers regular coffee over alternatives with 48% sticking with the original. When people are drinking upwards of 2 cups of coffee per day on average, going with the tried and true is probably not a bad idea considering the increased costs, caffeine, and additives in specialty drinks.

But that doesn’t mean that those drinks aren’t popular. Cappuccinos and lattes are tied as the second-most popular coffee drinks, each being preferred in four of the countries we surveyed. Meanwhile, residents in Italy and Portugal much prefer their coffee in a more concentrated form with over 40% of people in both countries saying espressos are their favorite type of coffee to drink.

To round out our section on coffee popularity, we took a look at the times of day people most often enjoy it. 81.9% of people said they drink coffee in the morning. More interestingly, 56.1% of people say they drink it in the afternoon and 21.2% report drinking it in the evening. One in ten (9.7%) even say they drink it into the night! It’s clear that coffee plays a big role in the lives of many. Let’s take a closer look at just how big of an impact it has.

Charts showing the impacts people think coffee has on their mood and productivity

The Impacts of Coffee

When you feel that you’re lacking sleep, coffee is a quick and delicious way to make up for those hours, leaving many people feeling energized and focused. According to our study, 61.0% of people believe drinking coffee affects their productivity. However, there does seem to be some regional disparity when it comes to this feeling. 72.6% of Swedish people believe drinking a morning cup boosts their productivity, while only 42.6% of Chileans feel the same way. 

Productivity is one thing, our attitude is another. When asked whether or not they think drinking coffee affects their mood, over 56% of survey respondents say it does. Those in the United States are most likely to believe this with 69% saying coffee does affect their mood, people from Belgium are the least likely to agree, with only 36% saying they feel the same way.

Maybe the reason so many in the U.S. believe coffee affects their mood is that grabbing a cup of Joe is among the first things they do in the morning. We asked survey respondents how true the following statement is: “I cannot start my day without a cup of coffee.” A whopping 60% of respondents from the U.S. agree with this statement. Conversely, 80.2% of people from Norway said they disagree with it. For a country that drinks over 2.5 cups of coffee per day on average, not needing to start their day with that caffeine boost is pretty surprising! Internationally, 41.6% of people agreed with the above statement.

Perhaps the case is that people in Norway don’t start their day drinking coffee, but rather enjoy it throughout. As we mentioned earlier, people drink coffee from the morning through the evening, and sharing a cup later in the day is often seen as more of a social gathering than a necessity, especially in Scandinavian countries.

Moreover, some countries may not require a caffeine boost to get through the day. The United Kingdom, for example, is the country that most regularly consumes decaffeinated coffee, with 38.8% of the population saying they drink it. It’s well known that tea is often the preferred caffeine kick for people in the U.K. Unsurprisingly, the coffee-loving country of Sweden has the lowest percentage of decaf coffee drinkers, with only 9.8% of Swedes saying they ever drink it. Overall, only 26% of people in our study say they ever drink decaf coffee.

With coffee clearly being an important part of the day, from a mood and productivity booster to a reason for social gatherings, we were curious how frequently individuals consume it. 73% of people surveyed would consider themselves frequent coffee drinkers (drinking it at least a few times per week). South Africa, known for its unique coffee beans and indulgence in coffee culture, is home to the most frequent coffee drinkers with 89% of them drinking it at least a few times per week. Belgium has the lowest frequent coffee drinkers, with only 50% of people drinking coffee regularly. 

Coffee Habits and Preferences

Whether it’s the inviting smell of waking up to a freshly brewed pot of coffee, the acquired taste, or the social aspect of meeting up for it, people everywhere can bond over a good cup of Joe no matter their coffee preference. For example, some people can appreciate the taste of black coffee without the need for additional creamers or sugar, while others prefer a sweeter drink to sip on. But how do those tastes change regionally?

On average, 50.7% of people take sugar in their coffee and 74.2% take it with milk or a milk substitute. South Africa is the country that is most likely to add sugar to their coffee, with 86.2% of respondents saying they do, while Sweden is the country that uses it the least, with 80.4% reporting they do not take sugar in their coffee. South Africa is also the country that is most likely to add milk or a milk substitute to their morning cup (89.9%). Portugal is the least likely with 54.5% saying they don’t ever use milk to lighten their coffee. 

According to our survey results, another potentially divisive coffee topic is the use of artificial flavoring. Overall, 51.4% of people say they never use flavored creamers or syrups in their coffee, 37.3% say they sometimes do, and only 11.3% say they always use them. The country that needs the added boosts of flavor the least is Australia where 72% of people say they never use flavored creamers or syrups in their coffee. The U.S. is the region that admits to using them the most, with 42% saying they always add them, 32% saying they sometimes do, and only 27% report never using flavored creamers.

Iced coffee is a growing trend, but doesn’t seem to have caught on everywhere just yet. 72.7% of people overall prefer hot coffee over iced coffee. Italy is the country that has the strongest preference for hot coffee, as 94% of Italian respondents want their coffee hot rather than iced. The U.S. is the country with the most iced coffee drinkers, though 53% still prefer hot coffee over iced.

When it comes to whether or not coffee drinkers bring reusable cups with them when they go out for coffee there is some regional variation. Overall, 59.4% of people never bring one, 31.9% sometimes do, and only 8.7% always do. The country that is least likely to bring a reusable cup to get their coffee is the U.S. where 75% of people never bring one. Switzerland is on the other end of the spectrum. 17.3% of Swiss people we surveyed always bring a reusable cup with them to the cafe with an additional 34.6% saying they sometimes bring one.

Charts showing data on people’s attachment to coffee, alcohol, and social media

It’s clear that coffee-drinking habits are part of a country’s larger culture and vary wildly from place to place. The attachments people have to their coffee also change depending on where you are in the world. To find out how much, we asked survey takers which they would rather give up for a year, coffee or alcohol. 63.8% of people overall would sooner swear off alcohol for a year than coffee. Canadians are the most likely to make this decision, with 75% saying the same thing. Belgians are on the other end of the spectrum with only 44% saying they would rather be without coffee than alcohol. It’s interesting to see the disparity here given that both drinks are so ingrained in cultures around the world.

To get an even clearer picture of the importance of coffee for many people, we asked if they would sooner give up all social media or coffee for a year. Only 35.2% of our survey respondents said they would ditch their social media for coffee. The country that feels the strongest when putting these two against each other is Chile, where 83.2% of people would rather go a year without coffee than a year without social media. Australia, once again, shows us how much they need their morning cups by being the country least interested in giving them up for access to social media. 60% of Australians would rather be without social media for a year than give up coffee.

Coffee may be an important part of the day for millions of people, but it looks like the vice that has the strongest hold on us today isn’t our morning caffeine fix, but the ease of access to information social media gives us. 

Closing Thoughts

Whether you go to a coffee shop to socialize with friends or seek a quiet area to work while drinking coffee, the Versa team feels it is important to be mindful of the dangers that come with public venues. Connecting to public Wi-Fi in areas where you spend time and money, such as your local coffee shop, might put your information at risk without you even knowing. At Versa, we’re passionate about network security in all its forms. Versa SASE transforms network infrastructure to streamline the transition to multi-cloud and SaaS, dramatically improving security and application performance.