NCA Finds Under 40s Love Non-Espresso, Cold Brew

June 27, 2019
The latest National Coffee Association survey finds coffee drinkers aged 40 and below are interested in non-espresso and cold brew ready-to-drink beverages.

Coffee remains a beverage of choice for the majority of Americans. The National Coffee Association found in its most recent survey that daily coffee consumption has held steady at 63 percent since 2018, following an increase from 57 percent in 2016 to 62 percent in 2017.

As seen in previous years, daily coffee consumption is high among seniors. The survey found that 72 percent of consumers who are 60 and older drink coffee daily, compared to 47 percent of consumers who are 18 to 24 years old. Results indicated that the percentage of this young adult age group who drink coffee daily has remained stable since 2016. About 62 percent of the members of the 25 to 39 age group, according to the surveys taken in the last four years, drink coffee daily. The survey did not find significant regional differences in daily coffee consumption.

Espresso-based coffee

Daily consumption of espresso-based beverages has been at record levels for the past three years at 24 percent, while regular coffee brewed from gourmet quality beans has remained flat at 15 percent. Since 2012, daily consumption of traditional, regular gourmet coffee has declined 7 percent, while espresso-based beverages have increased by 10 percent.

The percentage of gourmet coffee cups drunk daily reached 61 percent, which is the first time it has exceeded 60 percent, according to the survey. Non-gourmet made up 39 percent of cups.

The survey noted that the trends were similar for espresso-based beverages, traditional coffee – gourmet and gourmet coffee beverages when it came to consumers’ weekly coffee consumption.

Non-espresso-based coffee beverages

Recognizing the soaring popularity of gourmet coffee-based beverages that are not espresso-based, the association added the segment of non-espresso-based beverages to the survey in 2017. The segment includes frozen blended coffee, cold brew coffee and nitro coffee, which is a cold coffee infused with nitrogen.

The results in 2019 found that daily consumption of this segment is 11 percent, with weekly consumption at 13 percent for frozen blended coffee, 12 percent for cold brew coffee and 5 percent for nitro coffee. Coffee drinkers under age 40 and coffee consumers in the western part of the country are especially interested in these beverages, like 2018 survey results.

Cold brew and ready-to-drink coffee

Cold brew and ready-to-drink coffee became new sections of the survey this year.

Younger consumers are especially interested in these two types of beverages based on consumption rates by consumers under 40 years old, the survey found. While ready-to-drink coffee, with 89 percent of respondents aware of the beverage, is slightly more well-known than cold brew, which nearly 80 percent of respondents had heard of, opinions of both beverage types are divided into three overall opinions of each: excellent/very good, good and fair/poor.

About 20 percent of respondents said they regularly or occasionally drink cold brew, while 31 percent of respondents drank ready-to-drink coffee regularly or occasionally.

Cold brew coffee consumption is more likely to occur out-of-home than in-home, the survey found.

Afternoon coffee consumption grows

While breakfast is still very much a common time to drink coffee, the percentage of people who drank coffee the day before the survey fell from 87 percent in 2012 to 82 percent in 2019. The percentage of people who drank coffee in the morning overall prior to the day of the survey also fell from 41 percent in 2018 to 37 percent in 2019, especially as seen among the 25 to 39 age group. Their particular subsection of the survey dropped from 46 percent in 2018 to 36 percent in 2019.

Reversely, the percentage of people who drank coffee the afternoon prior to the day of the survey grew from 19 percent in 2012 to 25 percent in 2019.

Out-of-home coffee preparation remains strong

While home is still where most coffee is prepared, the percentage of people who drank coffee at home the prior day dropped from 84 percent in 2012 to 78 percent in 2019. Yet, it has increased since the number seen in 2017, 75 percent.

Consumption of coffee prepared outside the home dropped 1 percent from 36 percent in 2018 to 35 percent in 2019, but it is 5 percent higher than the level seen in 2012. Coffee consumption at convenience stores and quick-service restaurants is up 1 percent since 2018, and all other venues have been flat since 2018. 

Percentages of people who feel better about their financial situation compared to where they were six months previously dropped from 37 percent in 2018 to 33 percent in 2019. The survey has found that when people positively view their financial situation, they tend to drink more coffee, especially outside of the home. Fewer people are seeing their situation as improving, and more consumers, at 15 percent, feel they are in a worse financial situation since six months previously, compared to last year’s 11 percent. This may help explain how gourmet coffee consumption has not dramatically increased over 2018.


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