No 30

Coffee or Tea? A Picture of World Consumption

February, 2014


Coffee or Tea? A Picture of World Consumption

An interesting market study shows a clear picture on consumption preferences for the two most popular hot drinks in the world.

A market research study by Euromonitor measured, country by country, the preferences of consumers between coffee or tea and provides interesting readings about potential penetration of the bean in different markets.

The study reveals that the American continent is a region that favors consumption of coffee versus tea. For example, the United States (the main destination of Café de Colombia exports) consumes three times more coffee (75.4%) than tea (24.6%).

And in other coffee producing countries, consumption of coffee compared to tea is also overwhelming: Ecuador (97.4%), Brazil (97.4%), Costa Rica (96.9%), Mexico (89.7%) and Peru (80.8%), among others.

According to this, we find that the high level of consumption in other coffee producing countries allows Café de Colombia to have a good penetration and acceptance because of its high quality and differentiation.

In countries such as Canada (57.7%) and Argentina (56.2%), coffee vs. tea consumption is more even, whereas in Chile (35.3%) and Bolivia (34.9%) the proportion is reversed and more tea than coffee is consumed. Recent trends allow inferring that this consumption structure also provides Colombian Coffee opportunities to grow and gain a place in new markets against consumption of tea.


Except for the United Kingdom, where tea consumption, due to its cultural tradition, remains important, Western Europe, where 20% of members of the 100% Program are located, is a region that also favors coffee consumption versus tea. Besides it represents a significant coffee market size of US$ 23.9 billion for 2013 and an estimated growth of 2.1% by 2018, in addition to an important per capita consumption of US$ 48.8, as shown in Figure 1.

The Nordic countries show the highest rates of preference for coffee: Denmark (92.2%), Sweden (90.6%), Norway (88.9%) and Finland (88.8%).

In the Iberian Peninsula (Spain, 85.9% and Portugal 88.1%), Italy (78.4%), Belgium (90.4%), Romania (89.9%), Austria (80.7%) and Greece (96.8%), among others, coffee consumption against tea is also overwhelming.

And in countries such as the Netherlands (73.8%), France (70.5%), Switzerland (69.7%), Germany (60.2%), Czech Republic (65.5%) and Poland (51.3 %), coffee consumption is predominant over tea.


Figure 1. Coffee Market Figures 2013 - Western Europe

Source: Euromonitor

In contrast, in most Asian countries more tea than coffee is consumed: China (1.1% of coffee consumption against 98.9% of tea), Iran (10.1%), India (11%), Russia (22.5%), Saudi Arabia (31.3%) and Japan (37.4%), among others.

But the high populations and dynamics of these markets represent a significant growth potential for consumption of Colombian coffee, as evidenced by the 15.8% of members of the 100% Program on that continent. The coffee market size for the Asia Pacific region in 2013 was US$ 12.5 billion and the estimated growth by 2018 is 3.1%, with a per capita consumption of US$ 3.1, where (Figure 2) Japan is highlighted as the largest consumer of coffee in Asia and the second largest buyer of Colombian coffee after the United States.


Figure 2. Coffee Market Figures 2013 - Asia Pacific
Source: Euromonitor

Another interesting finding of the study is that most former British colonies prefer tea versus coffee, as in the case of South Africa (12% coffee versus 88% tea), although in the case of Australia these gaps are reduced (49.7% coffee versus 50.3% tea).

These data provide a clear picture of consumption preferences for the two most popular hot drinks in the world and growth opportunities for Café de Colombia, which has won its reputation as the best mild washed coffee in the world.

You are invited to learn more about our coffee family and our products, visiting the BEAN & BEYOND sections on the top of this page.