Global coffee consumption is expected to see a significant drop despite more people brewing at home.

By Jelisa Castrodale
July 17, 2020
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This morning, within minutes of waking up and before both of your eyes were completely open, you probably padded into the kitchen and filled your "Don't Talk to Me Until I've Had My Coffee" mug to the absolute brim.

Although the words on the sides of our favorite mugs probably vary (although everyone has gotten that "Don't Talk to Me…" in at least one office gift exchange), a lot of us may still be drinking most of our joe at home right now, because we're still working from our kitchen tables, because our favorite coffee shop hasn't reopened yet, or for a number of other pandemic-related reasons.

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Despite the fact that supermarkets have reported significant increases in their bagged coffee sales, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has suggested that global coffee consumption is going to fall this year, for the first time since 2011. According to Bloomberg, one major factor in that worldwide decrease was the lengthy shutdowns that coffee shops, cafes, and restaurants have had to endure, as they account for one-fourth of coffee demand. (One research company estimated that more than 95 percent of the "out-of-home" market for coffee has had to close for at least some period of time since the pandemic began.)

In addition to shutdowns and stay-at-home orders, still-wary consumers are keeping an eye on their bank balances, and may not be willing to spring for $6 lattes right now. "We believe that consumers will move down price points, and turn more to cheaper, instant coffee, as they tighten their belts amidst the gloomy economic outlook,” one retail analyst told Bloomberg. “Consumers will continue to embrace home brew and instant coffee, both because they will still avoid heading out to cafes, and also because it is generally a cheaper alternative.”

Last month, a spokesperson for Keurig told Rolling Stone that it had seen "a spike" in sales of its K-cup coffee brewers in the past several months. "Since early March, many Americans have been at home in quarantine [and] not surprisingly, demand for coffee in the home has been very strong, as consumers bring their out-of-home consumption into the house,” they said. Breville has also reported a "steady increase" in sales of both its drip coffee makers and espresso machines.

In April, coffee-focused website Sprudge conducted a survey of 471 of its readers, who reported that their at-home coffee consumption had increased by 13 percent, jumping from 2.45 cups a day to 2.77 cups a day. More than half of respondents (59 percent) said that they have been ordering coffee online or through a subscription service, with another 14 percent reporting that they were buying their beans at grocery stores. Coffee shops made up only 18 percent of the total.

But all of those in-home brews and whole bean subscriptions still don't add up to the volume of coffee that is served in cafes and restaurants—thus the prediction that global consumption will fall. On a positive note, coffee is projected to rebound in Asia during the second half of this year, as most lockdowns have ended and daily routines are inching back to normal there.

So there's hope for a global rebound next year as well. Just don't talk to us about it until we've had... well, you know.