October 1, was International Coffee Day, a global celebration of flat whites and espresso martinis.
Worldwide we consume about 150 million bags of coffee a year, that's almost 10 million tons - you might be surprised to learn who is the top consumer... and it's not the US!
While the earliest evidence of coffee drinking appeared in Yemen in the middle of the 15th century, which country today, is most fond of the much-loved bean?
According to coffee consumption per capita – it's the Finns that come out on top. They grind their way through an impressive 12kg per person per year, according to stats from the International Coffee Organization (ICO). Finland's neighbors are just as hungry for java. Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Sweden also make the top 10 – it must be those long winters.
Based on data collated by WorldAtlas.com these are the top 10 countries for consumption of coffee per capita:
- Finland - 12kg per capita per year
- Norway - 9.9
- Iceland - 9
- Denmark - 8.7
- Netherlands - 8.4
- Sweden - 8.2
- Switzerland - 7.9
- Belgium - 6.8
- Luxembourg - 6.5
- Canada - 6.2
So, how do people around the world take their cup of coffee?
Here’s a look:
You might be surprised to know Brazil is ranked tenth in terms of consumption per capita because it has been the world's largest producer of coffee for the last 150 years - and it still is. Coffee is the national beverage in Brazil, and coffee is actually cafezinho, which is almost a synonym for welcome in the country. Wherever you go, the minute you walk in the door, someone will pop the question would you like a cafezinho? and they won't take no for an answer.
Known predominantly as the world's second largest cocoa producer, Ghana is increasingly entering the coffee market. Some coffee plants are grown, harvested and also brewed in Ghana.
"Coffee is the first meal of my day. I drink a cupful around 7.30am. It keeps me going and fired-up for the day. I don't eat breakfast until about 11am". Martin Kwakwa, Executive Producer, SBS African Hour .
Coffee is an integral part of Italian culture, with around 8 million bags imported annually. Italians drink coffee either at home, where it is usually made in a moka pot, or in cafés, restaurants and workplaces, where it's dispensed from espresso coffee makers. It's served in tiny cups and it is usually sipped while standing at cafés. A must is the affogato: an espresso with a spoon of ice cream.
Coffee is more a family thing in Colombia and it goes generally with breakfast but it’s also a beverage for the cold weather. Even though Colombian coffee is considered one of the bests in the world, Colombia doesn't have a big coffee culture.
"In our country the typical coffee is Tinto which is basically a long black. But for breakfast it is more common to have coffee with milk which is the same as a ‘latte’." Carlos Colina, Senior Producer, SBS Spanish .
Kopi Tubruk is the most popular brewed coffee in the country.
To make a cup of Kopi Tubruk:
- Add two teaspoons of fine or medium ground coffee (sugar is optional) into a cup
- Boil the water and then add it to the cup at the boiling temperature
- Stir so the water and the coffee grounds mix well
- Let it stay and cook with the coffee for a few minutes until most of the ground coffee has settled in the bottom
- Enjoy your coffee but leave the "mud" at the bottom alone. Don't drink it.
In local restaurants there are not many choices: the coffee is already brewed and usually is black, with sugar or milk.
"As I remember when I was in Hong Kong, there were some occasions that we would do coffee sessions (usually in a restaurant or cafe. Updating our recent circumstances with your coffee mates or gossiping (depending on how long the gossip expected to be, we choose different coffee venues). We liked the cakes (or the look of them) so much that coffee was simply an arbitrary companion". Aaron Wan, Producer, SBS Cantonese.
Drinking coffee is a social experience in Greece. Greek coffee is similar to espresso, but you cannot drink it standing up: sipping a coffee is meant to be a relaxing, enjoyable experience. In summer the most common choice would be a frappé (φραπές), an iced coffee.
“In Greece coffee is a perfect excuse for getting together with family or friends to have a chat about just about everything. And if, after two hours, you still have some coffee in your cup and found no solutions to your problems, there’s always the option of coffee cup reading to help you along!” Dina Gerolymou, Senior Producer, .
Australians love coffee, there's no doubt, and the local coffee culture has been influenced by the strong Italian immigration, although to order an espresso you can ask down under for a short black.
Australians claim they invented the flat white, steamed frothy milk over a double shot of espresso, but New Zealanders beg to disagree. While cappuccino is sometimes spelled with some poetic license (cupachino), Italian speakers who are not Australian residents might be surprised to find out that a latte (literally: milk) is a coffee similar to a flat white but with more frothed milk, and a piccolo (literally: small) isa ristretto with frothed milk, served in a small glass.
Coming in at the top are Finnish coffee drinkers. A report from Nordic Coffee Culture found that 6% of Finnish women and 14% of men drink more than 10 (yes, ten) cups of coffee per day. That's a huge amount of coffee! The average consumption of coffee, although not 10 cups, is still pretty high at 4-5 cups per day. Laws have been created to support this high intake. Finnish workers are legally required to be given an official coffee break, making Finland the only place in the world with this law in place.
The most popular coffees are very lightly roasted, but you can still get medium and dark coffee in the country. If you drink decaf, you may be out of luck, decaffeinated coffee is pretty hard to come by with many coffee shops and supermarkets not stocking decaffeinated coffee due to low demand.
You don't have to pack your bags to enjoy coffee from different regions of the world. Explore some of our single origin coffees and have that international experience in your own home.
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