What is the Most Widespread Type of Coffee?

by Peter Taylor | Last Updated: 13 June 2020

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What is the Most Widespread Type of Coffee?

Since coffee first bloomed and made its way across Europe and the world starting in the 15th century, it has become a staple for many people as part of their morning routine, afternoon routine or even night routine! But you may be wondering just how popular coffee is and what is crowned most popular coffee in the world? Is your favorite drink on the list?

We’re going to break this down for all the coffee trivia junkies in the room. We will be looking at:

  • Top coffee drinking countries
  • Most popular coffee beans
  • Most popular coffee chains
  • Most popular coffee drinks

By the Kilo – Top Coffee Drinking Countries

Before drilling down to the specific coffee favorites, let’s look at the top coffee drinking countries in the world! Top ten caffeine addicted countries:

10 – Canada: 6.5kg (14.33lbs) per capita

Canada is best known for Tim Hortons, but most cities and towns have independent coffee shops and of course, things like Starbucks and McDonalds. Coffee is also widely brewed at home, especially during the cold, dark, wet winters.

9 –Luxembourg: 6.5kg (14.33lbs) per capita

Tied with Canada is Luxembourg which is jammed full of coffee shops. Luxembourg is also known for unique espresso drinks such as “lait Russe” and “café gourmand”.

8 – Belgium: 6.8kg (14.99lbs) per capita

Belgium used to grow coffee in the Congo and Rwanda due to being a colonial power in the past centuries. Coffee shops are now found in ever town and coffee is often paired with the famous Belgium waffle.

7 – Switzerland: 7.9kg (17.42lbs) per capita

In Switzerland, the most popular drink is the espresso-based drink, such as the “Caffe crema” (similar to an Americano) and filter coffee is a lot less popular. The people of Switzerland also spend a lot of money on coffee too since they spend more money in cafes and a coffee can be $3.50 (USD) or more per cup.

6 – Sweden: 8.2kg (18.08lbs) per capita

Coffee is so commonly drunk in Sweden that they have a word for the partaking of it (along with pastries or cookies) called “fika”. And nearly anything can qualify as “fika”: a break in the workday, a social gathering, etc., as long as there is coffee! Coffee is not only enjoyed, but it’s even considered a way of life and a huge part of social interactions.

5 – Netherlands: 8.4kg (18.52lbs) per capita

The Dutch were the first Europeans to bring coffee trees back from Mocha, Yemen, so it makes sense that the Netherlands would be a huge partaker. Coffee houses in Amsterdam are well known for serving coffee and marijuana! Coffee is also served with cookies and cakes at home (called “Koffietijd, or Coffee Time and we can get behind this) and is split between the north and south along religious lines with the north serving a single cookie with the coffee; while in the south, it includes a large sweet pie.

4 – Denmark: 8.7kg (19.18lbs) per capita

Denmark just barely trails behind our top three with coffee served at each meal and on special occasions where it’s served with cookies, cakes and small sandwiches. It’s also an expensive drink to buy, but you can always make it yourself.

3- Iceland: 9kg (19.84lbs) per capita

I mean, it’s cold in Iceland, so it makes sense that coffee would be widespread! Small independent coffee houses dot the landscape and the country hosts competitions between baristas and roasters to find the best quality coffee.

2 – Norway: 9.9kg (21.83lbs) per capita

Coffee became popular in Norway in the early 18th century and it never looked back. Coffee is usually served with breakfast and with dessert after dinner. People can also be invited over specifically and literally for coffee, cakes and pastries. Country folk also drink a cocktail of weak coffee with vodka or moonshine. Sheesh!

1 – Finland: 12kg (26.46lbs) per capita

Actually, this might be low because it takes children into consideration and they (probably?) don’t drink a ton of coffee! Coffee in Finland is drunk all day, every day and worker’s unions usually require a coffee break. Finland is also well known for a very light roast of coffee and almost no decaf.

Where does your country stand in the Caffeine Lovers of the world?

Most Popular Coffee Beans

This is going to be very subject to opinion of course, but there are some places that the budding coffee gourmand can get started. Now, keep in mind that your flavor and roast preferences are going to factor in hugely here and it’s definitely worth trying a wide range of coffee before landing on your favorite. But here are some popular and considered brightest coffee beans:

  • Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee: Ethiopia grows some pretty awesome coffee and the Yirgacheffe is considered the birthplace of coffee. It has a light or medium body, is nicely intense, and a clean taste with tones of chocolate and citrus. Some are nutty as well!
  • Sumatra Mandheling Coffee: Sumatra grows some amazing coffee as well and this particular coffee is an even fuller body version of the Java Arabica coffee. It’s rich, earthy and very heavy.
  • Kenyan Coffee: Kenyan coffee is noted for a bold character, intense flavor and bright acidity. It uses wet processing and is not very subtle. That being said, you can taste citrus, blackberry and pepper lemon, which is pretty neat.
  • Tanzania Peaberry Coffee: This type of coffee is grown on Mt. Kilimanjaro, so that alone is pretty cool. Known for a delicate taste and quality and mild acidity, this is a softer coffee  with the Peaberry meaning that the whole coffee cherry is used, not two half beans.
  • Sulawesi Toraja Coffee: This coffee is grown in Indonesia and it is heavy and deep with earthy tones. It can also be spicy and pungent and is often done as a dark roast.

Of course, these are also expensive coffee beans since they are quite gourmet. For sheer affordability and widespread use, you’re looking at Folgers, Maxwell House, Dunkin Donuts, Eight o’ Clock and Chock Full O’ Nuts. Folgers actually hit the top of the Harris Poll Coffee of the Year while Maxwell House is considered stable and Eight O’Clock coffee has an inexpensive but smooth and chocolatey flavor.

Where Do You Drink Your Coffee?

Drinking coffee at home is still the most popular way to drink your Joe, with 79% of coffee drinkers brewing it at home. It’s a popular method because it’s far more affordable than constantly purchasing it at coffee shops and people can cater their coffee to their taste buds.

What is the Most Widespread Type of Coffee?

That being said, coffee shops are still pretty popular since not everyone has the time to brew or they don’t want to make an entire pot and have part of it go to waste. Still other people like fancier drinks that would be very hard to make it at home without specialized apparatus and ingredients. So, what are the most popular coffee shops in the US?

  • McCafe
  • Tully’s Coffee
  • Coffee Beanery
  • Costa Coffee
  • Caribou Coffee
  • Lavazza Coffee
  • Gloria Jean’s Coffee
  • Tim Hortons (Hi Canada!)
  • Starbucks (Surprise)
  • Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks and Tim Hortons take the top three slots, which is unsurprising considering what giants they are, how widespread they are and the different flavors of coffee, drinks, and food they offer.

Most Popular Coffee Drinks!

Now for the final piece: we have the most rabid coffee drinking countries (looking at you, Finland), the most popular and gourmet coffee beans, and the most popular coffee shops; so in all, what’s the most popular coffee drink?

Well, just like the best coffee beans, this is going to be subject to opinion. But the top of several popular coffee lists is Espresso, either straight up or as part of an Americano or Cappuccino. The reason for this is simply that these drinks have a more intense flavor and espresso in particular is a small drink with a concentration of caffeine, so it wakes you up faster.

However, we have entered a new era of what coffee shops can offer, so when we talk about popular coffee drinks, we also have to look at cold coffee. The popular drinks here include Cold Brew (ground beans steeped in cold or room temperature water), Iced Coffee (cold brew coffee over ice) and frappe (or Frappuccino at Starbucks).

But much of this is subject to the time of year, the one partaking of the coffee, and personal preferences. You can also usually cater any coffee to suit your needs with things like syrups, lactose free ingredients, decaf, half caf, half sweet, etc. So really, while espresso and cold brew are usually near the top of or at the top of lists of most popular drinks, remember that there is a massive range out there and it’s worth trying new things.

All in all, coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world, so it’s no wonder that people have created so many different drinks, flavor profiles, and entire gourmet micro cultures around it! Not bad for a modest little red fruit grown in the tropics.

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