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How Our Coffee Drinking Habits Have Changed Over the Past Year

Since 1950, the National Coffee Association (NCA) has released annual reports on coffee trends. The most recent report, the 2021 National Coffee Data Trends Report, gives us the first comprehensive look into just how the coffee world has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

2021 Coffee Trends: Coffee Consumption During a Pandemic

Americans Still Need Their Coffee!

A global pandemic did not alter total coffee consumption, however, it did cause a serious change to where and how coffee was consumed. Coffee drinking remains alive and well with about 6 out of every 10 Americans having had a coffee within the past day. Of those that drink coffee, they aren’t just having one cup, rather several, with the average being 3 cups per day.

At Home Coffee Grows Rapidly

With everyone spending more time at home than ever before, we saw a substantial rise in at home consumption. There was high single-digit growth of at home coffee consumption compared to pre-pandemic numbers with 85% of coffee drinkers enjoying coffee at home. With more coffee consumed at home than ever before, people have also been quick to make investments in better coffee equipment with 23% purchasing a new coffee maker or gadget this past year. Of brewed coffee methods used at home, the drip coffee brewer still takes the top spot (42%) though followed close behind by single-serve coffeemakers (24%) and cold brew devices (10%). Fun fact, Bruvi® can do all three!

Out of Home Coffee Evolves

As the traditional coffee shop experience changed, many adapted to the new norm. We saw a huge increase in drive-through and app-based coffee purchases, both up 30%. As for where people were drinking their coffee, we saw consumption in restaurants and offices naturally decrease by half or more while coffee shops were down 1/3. Even for those that continued to support local coffee establishments, the way in which they were getting their coffee changed drastically.

Specialty Coffee Exploration

Since at-home consumption reached peak levels, the pandemic had people searching for unique coffee experiences. 41% of coffee drinkers tried a new coffee and a quarter even purchased a new type of coffee to make at home. Unable to go into coffee shops, many also tried to pick up some new barista skills with 27% attempting to make their favorite coffee house drinks in the comfort of their own homes.

Closing Thoughts – Has the Pandemic Changed Coffee Forever?

2021 Coffee Trends: Coffee Consumption During a Pandemic

While it may be too soon to know the lasting impact of the pandemic on the coffee world, it certainly will change in some capacity. On one hand, we lost many great independent shops who simply couldn’t stay afloat with the financial pressures created by the loss of business. On the other hand, we saw tremendous innovation, use of technology and pivots in business models to meet consumer demands in a new normal environment. It has been beautiful to see the coffee community support one another in these trying times and my thought is, whoever can weather the storm will be well positioned for success in a post-pandemic world. As we still fight to get to the other side, I remain optimistic about the coffee world and pleased to see that even a pandemic can’t stop Americans from drinking their coffee and wanting more! 

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