Anyone who has lived in cities like New York or D.C. understands the theory of some that, without coffee, the economies and productivity levels of each location would pretty much screech to a caffeine-deprived halt. Every morning I brew my cup of coffee and head to the Metro station armed with the all-important travel mug, floating by other commuters blearily clutching their travel mugs as well.
So, as I was sipping on my cup of Sumatra dark roast this morning in an attempt to perk up my Wednesday, I noticed a Facebook post by my friend Rose about coffee and was immediately intrigued. The article was very interesting indeed–today a report came out about the most caffeinated cities in the United States. My own city, D.C., ranked in sixth place, which wasn’t really a surprise. I don’t think I’ve ever attended a conference, meeting, or even date (when I was single) that didn’t involve coffee somehow, let alone the fact that all you have to do is pass by a coffee shop during rush hour and feel a little bad for the overwhelmed baristas. The coffee crowds here are like scenes from zombie films.
According to a 2011 study conducted by the National Coffee Association, more than half of American adults drink coffee every day (again, not really surprised), and even more grab a cup of joe on occasion. Coffee shops also remain wildly popular in the U.S.–that is something that I like about my country, I must say. I enjoy living in cities/countries in which coffee shops are part of the culture, as meeting places and locations to get a favorite beverage and hang out with friends or just grab and go. When I was studying in Santiago, Chile, one lone Starbucks had opened in my neighborhood and served amazing dulce de leche lattes. Plus they had really comfortable chairs and a study room, which is the mark of a truly great coffee shop.
According to the coffee study, the top ten most caffeinated cities in the U.S. are as follows:
#1 Chicago (home of Intelligentsia coffee, which my friend Esther introduced me to during a visit–it is quite delicious)
#2 New York (home of every kind of coffee shop imaginable)
#3 Seattle (never been but they are the home of several popular American coffee brands, after all)
#4 San Francisco
#5 Los Angeles (it does seem like everyone walks around L.A. with their coffee cup as a fashion accessory)
#6 Washington, D.C. (I’m a proud contributor to the study I suppose!)
#7 San Jose
There you have it, the top ten most caffeinated cities in the U.S. I’d be curious to see which countries in the world are the most caffeinated–I’m guessing Italy, France, and Spain, and the UK if you count tea consumption as well. I also drank a lot of coffee in South Korea and Japan; coffee companies have found a way to ease themselves into Asian consumer markets and are proving pretty effective over there, as evidenced by all of the coffee shops springing up in cities like Seoul and Tokyo.
It would also be interesting to compare coffee consumption rates in countries that export coffee, namely in Africa and Latin America. For instance, do Brazilians or Kenyans drink coffee often, or are the coffee industries removed from the culture? Hm…I smell a dream coffee study.
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a quote from Mike Phillips, from Chicago’s Intelligentsia Coffee (he was interviewed by Bundle, which reported the study’s findings):
“If you think about it, coffee is the most affordable luxury that people have on hand…You can spend a little bit of money and treat yourself extremely well.”