Worldwide we consume about 150 million bags of coffee a year, that's almost 10 million tons. While nations across South America, Africa and South East Asia none of them are in fact the top consumer - you might be surprised to learn who is.
Do you know how people around the world take their cup of coffee?
The Melbourne International Coffee Expo, the largest dedicated coffee event in the Asia Pacific, is just around the corner. For the sixth year it will be held in Victoria, from Thursday 30th of March to Saturday 1st of April.
While the earliest evidence of coffee drinking appeared in Yemen in the middle of the 15th century, the image of an Italian espresso is often what many associate with a classic cup of coffee. But actually none of these nations appear in the top ten in terms of how much coffee each citizen consumes. Based on data collated by WorldAtlas.com in fact these are the top 10 countries for consumption of coffee per capita:
- Finland: 9.6 kg per capita (consumption of 2.64 cups/day)
- Norway: 7.2 kg (1.98 cups/day)
- Netherlands: 6.7 kg (1.84 cups/day)
- Slovenia: 6.1 kg (1.68 cups/day)
- Austria: 5.5 kg (1.51 cups/day)
- Serbia: 5.4 kg (1.49 cups/day)
- Denmark: 5.3 kg (1.46 cups/day)
- Germany: 5.2 kg (1.43 cups/day)
- Belgium: 4.9 kg (1.35 cups/day)
- Brazil: 4.8kg (1.32 cups/day)
Australia is ranked 42nd in the world for coffee consumption at almost 3kg per capita.
But what does coffee mean to different coffee consumers around the world? Let's break it down:
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.
Unknown to many, the Philippines is a big coffee producer. It has a special home-grown variety, a Liberica (as opposed to Robusta or Arabica) called Barako (which means macho).
"Coffee means sitting down with friends on a breakfast table every morning talking about anything under the sun."
- Ronald Manila, Executive Producer, SBS Filipino.
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:
1. add two teaspoons of fine or medium ground coffee (sugar is optional) into a cup
2. Boil the water and then add it to the cup at the boiling temperature
3. Stir so the water and the coffee grounds mix well
4. Let it stay and cook with the coffee for a few minutes until most of the ground coffee has settled in the bottom
5. 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, SBS Greek.
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.
Finns are the biggest coffee drinkers in the world: 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 we rank the world's top coffee nations by the import/export of coffee beans, according to the International Coffee Organization the top 5 exporting countries are Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia and Honduras.