The Top Coffee-Consuming Countries
Canada stands out as the only non-European country to make the list of the world’s top ten coffee consumers.
The traditional Finnish way of brewing coffee is a variation on Turkish coffee where water and coffee grounds are brought just barely to a boil repeatedly.
In 1616, the Dutch were the first Europeans to obtain live coffee trees, brought back from Mocha, Yemen, by Pieter van der Broecke.
1 – Finland: 26.45 lbs per capita
Coffee is typically consumed all day, every day, and coffee breaks are required by most workers’ unions. Special occasions and post-church luncheons are celebrated with a coffee table: a buffet of cold sandwiches, slices of bread, cookies and cakes, and of course, endless “khavi.”
2 – Norway: 21.82 lbs per capita
Kaffe is typically served black at breakfast, and with dessert after dinner. Norwegians also commonly invite people over specifically for coffee, served with cakes and pastries. 80% of the roughly 5 million people of the nation drink coffee, many at a rate of four to five a day. If you are ever in rural Norway, don’t forget to try “karsk,” a cocktail made with weakly brewed coffee, sugar, and a hefty helping of moonshine. Don’t worry, if it’s too strong you can always light it aflame to burn off some of the alcohol!
3 – Iceland: 19.84 lbs per capita
In the capital city of Reykjavik, you won’t find coffee giants like Starbucks or Second Cup. However, there is no shortage of smaller, independent coffee shops scattered across the city, many in close radius to one another. In case there was any question whether or not Iceland takes its coffee drinking seriously, the country hosts competitions which place baristas and roasters against one another, in a quest to find the country’s highest quality brew.
4 – Denmark: 19.18 lbs per capita
Like other Scandinavians, coffee in Denmark traditionally is served at each meal and becomes the central focus during special occasions, served with cookies, cakes, and small sandwiches. Danes rank slightly better on another statistic, having the sixth most expensive coffee in the world, so each of those coffees cost them a pretty krone. So grab a Danish-made Bodum coffee press and some aptly named danishes, and dream about spring in Copenhagen.
5 – Netherlands: 18.52 lbs per capita
Coffee is served in the home for “Koffietijd” (Coffee Time), usually with cookies and cakes. Interestingly the coffee culture is somewhat split between the North and South and along religious lines. The North was traditionally populated with Protestants who prefer to serve coffee with only one cookie, seen as a gesture of modesty. In the South, usually inhabited by Roman Catholics, Koffietijd typically includes “vlaai,” a sizeable sweet pie.
6 – Sweden: 18 lbs per capita
In Sweden, there is a concept known as “fika,” which means “to have coffee.” With this concept, the pairing of cookies or pastries is implied. A variety of situations can qualify as a “fika,” whether it be a break during the working day or a social gathering. The one important common denominator is that there is coffee involved.
7 – Switzerland: 17.42 lbs per capita
Like many countries making this list, coffee is a social activity in Switzerland. Espresso-based drinks are particularly popular in this central European country, including the “caffè crema,” a type of espresso drink similar to an Americano that is said to have originated in Switzerland near the Italian border. Unlike many of its Scandinavian counterparts, filter coffee is less popular amongst the Swiss.
8 – Belgium: 15 lbs per capita
When you think of Belgium, visions of waffles and beer may dance in your head, but Belgium has a long history of pairing their national obsession with chocolate with their coffee.
In Italy coffee, a cultural mainstay is usually consumed in the form of espresso.
Coffee on-the-go referred to a as American is usually only sold to tourists. In Italy it’s usually drunk hot while standing at the coffee bar, al-banco in Italian. It’s that quick jolt of energy you need and then you’re on your way. Italians drink Cappuccino only in the morning and it’s not usually consumed at other times.
In honor of National Coffee Day, which takes place on September 29th, we’ve chosen a handful of countries around the world and assessed their coffee cultures just for you.
Image courtesy WorldAtlas