In this article, we focus on coffee preferences among respondents. The topic was approached through an online survey conducted on the questia.ro platform. The research study was active between November 28th and November 29th, 2018 and covered 1000 coffee drinkers, with a +/- 3% margin of error when reported to the Romanian online population.

Energy in a Cup

What’s the first thing you have in mind immediately after you wake up? Well, for millions of people, it’s “coffee”. Around 125 million people worldwide start their morning ritual with a cup of coffee. Moreover, world coffee production for 2018-2019 is estimated at 171.2 million 60 kilogram bags, while the global consumption is forecasted at 163.2 million. Over 60% of total production comes from just four countries: Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia and Indonesia. The global coffee consumption is expected to grow by 2.2% per year until 2020.

Europe is a large coffee market, accounting for around 30% of the global consumption and is the highest per capita consumption in the world, amounting to around 5 kg of coffee per inhabitant yearly. Nordic markets (Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland) register the highest per capita consumption, with more than 8 kg per inhabitant per year. More recent studies reveal that Finland comes out on top as the most coffee drinking country, with 12 kg of coffee beans per person per year.

Scientists concluded that drinking coffee has significant healthy properties. The short-term benefits of coffee on the body are: clearer and faster thinking, reducing the risk for heart and liver disease, lower rates of prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s, type two diabetes, reducing the back pain, neurological disorders and many more. Furthermore, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal, it has been found that drinking three to four cups of black coffee a day provides the most health benefits.

Analysis from Harvard University and UK Biobank suggest that drinking coffee might help you live longer, regardless of how much you drink and whether it’s decaffeinated or not.  

Whether or not you’re a coffee lover, it may be your genes to blame (or to thanks).  As it seems, the answer seems to lie on how your body metabolizes the caffeine intake. If you’re a quick metabolizer (or if you smoke – which boosts metabolism), you are more likely to consume more caffeine. On the other side, “if you produce less of the caffeine-zapping enzyme, more of the chemical will circulate in your body for longer, meaning it can affect you for longer”. Numerous studies point out that due to certain genes, some people might experience insomnia after a cup of coffee in the morning while some might even feel anxious or even experience panic disorders.

Some people might avoid coffee just because they associate it with negative side effects, as one study has shown. On the other side, it has been demonstrated that coffee craving or aversion is influenced by the dopamine receptor, which may affect how much caffeine gets to your nervous system.

Moreover, our genes are responsible for how we perceive the coffee taste and smell. According to researcher Danielle Reed, “only 15 percent of the bitterness of coffee is from caffeine”.

Most of all caffeine consumed worldwide comes from coffee. It has been reported it takes up to 5 hours for the consumed caffeine to be reduced to half, meaning that the human body dissipates 20% of caffeine per hour. Considering the evidence from above regarding the influence of genes, the time it takes for those quick metabolizers to dissipate the caffeine might be even shorter. However, for the average person this means that if you have consumed 10 milligrams of caffeine, after 5 hours you will still have 5 milligrams of caffeine in your body. Moreover, the effects of caffeine are resembled after 30-60 minutes from its consumption.

Studies have shown that the human body can absorb just 300-310 mg of caffeine. If more amounts are consumed, the provide no additional stimulation to the brain receptors.

Nearly 90% of the United States population has at least one caffeinated beverage on a daily basis.

Now, let’s dive into some stats about coffee consumption. Research studies reveal that the US coffee consumption is of 3.1 cups per day, on average. A little over half of Americans (56%) drink coffee, mainly espresso, cappuccino, latte and cold coffee. Moreover, 65% of all coffee is consumed during breakfast hours, 30% during meals and the remaining 5% with other meals.

According to The 2017 Western European Coffee Market Size Report, Western Europe 2017 coffee market  value was of 8 billion Euros from retail sales. However, the most expensive coffee in the world, Black Ivory Coffee, is not made in Europe, but in Asia – Thailand and it costs 1.100 US dollars per kilogram. It is produced from Arabica coffee beans consumed by elephants and then collected from their waste. The Black Ivory Coffee has been described as being very smooth and without having the bitterness of the regular coffee.

Findings

First, we asked the respondents how often they drink coffee. As it appears, almost half of them (49%) consume coffee every day, while more than a quarter (38%) drink more than one coffee throughout the day.

It has been found that if we drink coffee when our cortisol levels are high, we experience jitters and our lever of stress increases. It has been stated that for the average person (neither early bird nor night owl), the best time to drink caffeinated coffee is between 9:30 and 11:30 AM.

Almost three-quarter of respondents like to start their morning routine with a cup of coffee, with 74.7% of respondents saying they drink coffee before 10 AM. Very few respondents drink coffee after noon, with almost 8.2% saying they enjoy a cup of coffee after 12 PM. Most coffee drinking habits are also sensitive to the cultural context of specific countries (i.e. Italians drink coffee very often afternoon).

In North Europe, there is a strong growth in out-of-home coffee consumption, mainly due to a more developed coffee culture, higher incomes and higher coffee quality imposed by the coffee shops. Germany, however, seems to be a traditional market for in-home consumption.

Almost 70% of our respondents prefer to enjoy their coffee at home, while almost one-quarter (24.6%) drink it at work or at college. Nevertheless, in big cities in Romania coffee shops have spurred in the last couple of years, possibly making the phenomenon a social one.

Most of respondents (90%) prefer drinking Arabica coffee. They also seem to like it normal/classic (76.7%), while 17.1% would go for a more intense, stronger coffee.

When we asked the respondents what they appreciate the most in a coffee, more than half of them (54.5%) answered the flavor, closely followed by the taste (39.1%). The strength, however, doesn’t seem to count as much as the previous mentioned factors, with only 6% of respondents valuing it the most important aspect in a coffee.

Why do respondents drink coffee in the first place? The main reason seems to lie in the taste factor (36.2%) – coffee for the sake of coffee, followed closely by the fact that coffee is proven to boost energy (32.5%). Only 7.9% of respondents drink coffee due to coffee-related habits such as smoking, reading newspapers or chatting with family or friends.

When asked what makes them want to buy a certain coffee brand, it seems that for almost half of the respondents (42.2%), the name of the brand itself proves to be the main reason for buying. They also tend to buy products they have used before, as 31.1% stated they buy coffee based on habits.

Most popular coffee beverages among respondents are espresso and Turkish coffee, with 36.8% of respondents drinking espresso and 27.7% Turkish/kettle coffee. According to a study, espresso contains the highest concentration of caffeine, mainly 4200 mg of caffeine per liter.

To end this in an coffee-fashioned way, I’ll just quote Lingvstov:

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