Have you ever asked yourself who consumes the most coffee? By ‘who’, we’re not referring to the country (although that is the United States in case you were wondering); rather, the ‘who’ we’re referring to is which age group. The answer years ago might have been the 40-60 age bracket, but stats show that has rapidly changed - in fact, this age group is drinking so much coffee that they are putting a strain on the already-precarious coffee supply. Keep reading this week's Bristol blog if you’d like to know more.
So, who is consuming the most coffee? Today, the answer would be Millennials, the generation born between the early 1980s and late 1990s. Coffee consumption has been shifting in general, but trend reports conducted by the National Coffee Association (NCA) found that the Millennial generation is drinking more coffee than any prior generations' young adults. According to the NCA’s 2014 Annual Drinking Trend report, the proportion of those aged 18-24 who consume coffee daily more than doubled to 51 percent, while 62 percent of those aged 25-39 also consume coffee daily (a large increase from 42 percent in the year 2000). Not only is the percentage of coffee drinkers increasing, the amount consumed per day is increasing as well, with statistics also finding that Millennials are drinking more quality coffee (specialty coffee) than other age groups.
The fact Americans are becoming coffee junkies at an earlier age and younger adults are tending to increase their coffee consumption makes up for the decline in consumption among the older age groups. Data from the NCA has shown that Millenials born after 1995 started drinking coffee at about 14.7 years old, while those born closer to 1982 began at 17.1 years. William Tuesca, for example, is a 21-year-old junior at Parsons School of Design in New York City who started drinking coffee at 5 years old and now drinks 2-3 cups daily, or even more during mid-term or final exams. “In school, drinking coffee is also like a fashion symbol and an opportunity to socialize,” Tuesca said. Unfortunately, this growth in demand is putting pressure on an already-shaky market.
Drought and leaf rust (Roya) have already impacted global coffee supplies and ever-growing demand from Millenials may further unbalance the market. Brazil, the world’s biggest producer and exporter of coffee, has experienced very low production, while Asia has had its production hindered by drought. Although the lack of Robusta coffee (the more bitter varietal which is used in instant coffee) initially spelled good news and a surge in price for Arabica (the varietal favored by specialty coffee producers), prices have since fallen and have reached a 10-month low.
It’s not all doom and gloom for coffee addicts, though - coming rains will definitely help plants recover and increase production in Brazil and other areas affected by drought, which will hopefully also balance out market prices for both coffee varietals. In the meantime, keep drinking coffee, preferably Bristol Coffee ;) and keep reading our blog. We’ll keep you informed on how things are shaping up in the coffee world.