Which Country Drinks the Most Coffee? Exploring the Global Caffeine Craze
Coffee is a beloved beverage enjoyed by people all over the world. It is a source of energy, a social lubricant, and a culinary delight. But which country drinks the most coffee? The answer may surprise you. The top coffee-consuming country in the world is not Brazil, Colombia, or Vietnam, all of which are major coffee producers. Instead, it is Finland.
The average Finn drinks an astonishing 12 kilograms (26 pounds) of coffee per year. That’s about four cups of coffee per day. Coffee is so popular in Finland that two 10-minute coffee breaks are legally mandated for Finnish workers.
Other countries that rank high in coffee consumption include Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and the Netherlands. These countries all have long, cold winters, which may contribute to their high coffee consumption. In the United States, the average person consumes about 4.4 kilograms (9.7 pounds) of coffee per year. This makes the U.S. only the 25th biggest consumer of coffee worldwide on a per-person basis.
Coffee, with its rich aroma and caffeine kick, is one of the world’s most beloved non-alcoholic beverages. The history of coffee is as intricate as its flavor, with roots that stretch back to ancient Ethiopia. According to legend, a goat herder named Kaldi stumbled upon the stimulating potential of coffee beans when he noticed how his goats became more energetic after munching on coffee berries. This discovery laid the foundation for one of the most cherished beverages on the planet.
Coffee’s journey began in the Middle East, where it was cultivated and brewed in various forms. By the 15th century, coffee houses had become commonplace in regions like Turkey, Persia, Syria, and Arabia. Despite being an integral part of Middle Eastern culture, coffee was initially met with skepticism by many in Europe. However, the tide turned when Pope Clement VIII sampled a cup and gave his blessing to this dark elixir. Subsequently, coffee spread like wildfire across Europe and eventually found its way to the Americas.
Today, coffee is not only enjoyed globally but also forms an essential part of the economies of more than 70 tropical countries. It holds the second position in the list of the world’s most exported commodities, following closely behind oil. Yet, when it comes to the question of which country drinks the most coffee per person, some intriguing trends emerge.
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Top 10 Countries with the Highest Per-Person Coffee Consumption
- Finland – 12 kg/26 lbs: Finland holds the title for the world’s largest per-capita consumer of coffee. The average Finn consumes nearly four cups a day, and coffee is so deeply ingrained in Finnish culture that two 10-minute coffee breaks are legally mandated for workers.
- Norway – 9.9 kg/22 lbs: Norwegians aren’t far behind, with an average of over three cups of coffee consumed daily. Coffee houses in Norway are bustling hubs for socializing, quite different from the United States where they often serve as workspaces or to-go destinations.
- Iceland – 9 kg/20 lbs: Coffee is more than just a beverage in Iceland; it’s a cultural cornerstone. Beer was illegal in Iceland until 1987, and wine remains relatively expensive, making coffee the go-to choice for social interactions. Offering a visitor a cup of coffee is customary, and a “ten drops” coffee request is a polite way of asking for a small cup.
- Denmark – 8.7 kg/19 lbs: Denmark’s love for coffee is so profound that they have a word for informal gatherings where coffee and cake are served, known as “kaffeslabberas.” Even at weddings, a “bryllupskaffe” or wedding coffee reception is a cherished tradition.
- Netherlands – 8.4 kg/19 lbs: Dutch merchants played a pivotal role in introducing coffee to the Western world. They shipped coffee plants from the Yemeni port of Mocha to India and Indonesia, setting the stage for coffee plantations that would supply beans to Europe.
- Sweden – 8.2 kg/18 lbs: Swedes are passionate about their “Fika,” an extended coffee break from work where friends socialize over a cup. On average, Swedes spend 9.5 days each year enjoying a “fikarast.”
- Switzerland – 7.9 kg/17 lbs: Swiss coffee culture combines the best of both worlds, merging coffee and wine to create a popular drink called “Luzerner Kafi,” featuring red wine mixed with sugar and thin coffee. Additionally, Switzerland is home to Nespresso, one of the world’s leading coffee brands.
- Belgium – 6.8 kg/15 lbs: Belgian cities like Brussels and Antwerp boast numerous coffee houses, including Wittamer’s, which serves “brûlot,” an espresso drink with sugar, cinnamon, cloves, shredded lemon peel, and warm cognac set alight.
- Luxembourg – 6.5 kg/14 lbs: Despite its small size, Luxembourg has a thriving coffee scene, ranging from elegant coffee houses with white linen tablecloths to cozy stand-up coffee bars.
- Canada – 6.5 kg/14 lbs: Canada, the only non-European nation in the top ten, gave birth to one of the world’s earliest coffee chains, Tim Horton’s, which serves three out of every four cups of coffee sold in Canada.
The list highlights the Scandinavian nations’ affinity for coffee, where long, dark, and cold winters make coffee a cherished companion. In contrast, the United States ranks 25th in per-person coffee consumption, with an annual average of about 4.4 kilograms (9.7 lbs) of coffee per person, equivalent to roughly three cups a day.
But when we switch our focus to total coffee consumption, a different set of countries takes the lead.
Top 10 Countries with the Highest Total Coffee Consumption (by 1000s of 60-lb bags of dry coffee beans consumed)
- United States of America – 27,310: The United States claims the top spot in total coffee consumption, with a staggering 27,310 thousand 60-lb bags of dry coffee beans consumed. Coffee is an integral part of American culture, with a thriving coffee shop scene that caters to a diverse range of tastes.
- Germany – 8,670: Germany comes in second place, consuming 8,670 thousand bags of coffee beans. Coffee culture in Germany encompasses a variety of brews, including filter coffee and specialty options.
- Japan – 7,551: Japan has embraced coffee as a modern cultural staple, with 7,551 thousand bags of coffee beans consumed. Coffee shops in Japan offer a unique blend of tradition and innovation.
- France – 6,192: France takes the fourth spot with 6,192 thousand bags of coffee beans consumed. The French have a deep appreciation for café culture, savoring espresso in charming sidewalk cafés.
- Italy – 5,469: Italy, the birthplace of espresso, ranks fifth in total coffee consumption, with 5,469 thousand bags of coffee beans consumed. Italian coffee is renowned for its bold flavor and meticulous preparation.
- Russia – 4,820: Russia, known for its preference for strong, dark coffee, ranks sixth with 4,820 thousand bags of coffee beans consumed.
- United Kingdom – 3,770: The United Kingdom stands in seventh place, consuming 3,770 thousand bags of coffee beans. British coffee culture has witnessed a renaissance in recent years, with specialty coffee shops on the rise.
- Spain – 3,253: Spain, famous for its café con leche, ranks eighth with 3,253 thousand bags of coffee beans consumed.
- Poland – 2,501: Poland, with its growing love for coffee, takes the ninth spot, consuming 2,501 thousand bags of coffee beans.
- Netherlands – 2,030: The Netherlands, also featured in the per-person consumption list, secures the tenth spot in total coffee consumption, with 2,030 thousand bags of coffee beans consumed.
These rankings showcase the sheer volume of
coffee consumed in these countries, emphasizing the role of coffee as an integral part of daily life. The United States, with its love for diverse coffee options, stands atop this list, indicating the extent of coffee’s popularity in the country.
In conclusion, while the love for coffee transcends borders and cultures, the extent of coffee consumption varies from country to country. Whether you’re exploring the Scandinavian tradition of coffee breaks or enjoying an espresso in an Italian café, one thing is certain: coffee has a remarkable ability to bring people together, making it an enduring global phenomenon.