With most of the UK working from home for the past year, many of us have turned to caffeine to help keep our productivity levels high. We surveyed over 2,000 coffee drinkers to find that the UK is drinking more coffee than ever before with 22% stating an increase in coffee intake over the past 12 months.

Who’s Drinking More Coffee?

Who’s Drinking More Coffee?

Simply put, everyone is drinking more coffee but coffee consumption is different between generations.

In previous years, most consumers have opted for popular supermarket brands such as Nescafe and Illy, however, during the last year our data shows a surge in independent suppliers and indie coffee brands. The increase in demand for independent coffee roasters has been fuelled by the millennials and gen Z who are drinking 20% and 16% more respectively.

We can also see that it is the younger generations looking to increase their coffee count too. One in four millennials are drinking more than this time last year and 16% of gen Zers are following suit.

It is the more mature minds who are drinking less coffee over the past 12 months, 20% of the 45-54 age bracket are drinking less coffee with those ages 55-64 and 65+ taking on a partial coffee detox too.

Coffee Consumption by Country

Coffee drinkers in Wales are in need of the biggest caffeine boost with coffee intake increasing 23% in the country over the past year. Scotland and England are tied for the second biggest coffee increase with 22% of coffee drinkers in both countries increasing their coffee hit.

Those in Northern Ireland have seen the lowest increase with 15% drinking more whilst staying at home. We can actually see that the majority of Northern Ireland have decided to keep their coffee intake the same with 67% of people saying they consume the same amount now compared to a year ago.

Coffee consumption by Country

Coffee Consumption by Region

As the typically fast paced London came to a standstill for months, it comes with a shock that Londoners have increased their caffeine intake the most compared to other coffee drinkers in England. Around 29% of London residents said that they increased their number of daily coffees as they longed for their office percolator to be switched back on.

On the other end of the scale, the lowest increase can be seen in the South West of England where only 16.5% of hot drink lovers drank more coffee over the past year.

But do influencing factors change where coffee intake increases? Well... where coffee consumption increased the most, Greater London and South East England, we can see that the importance of taste increases as taste buds start to identify strength preferences and fruity notes.

Where coffee consumption has increased the least, South West and North West England, we can see that the importance of taste decreases a little and the importance of price increases with people looking for a cheap caffeine boost above a tasty alternative.

Coffee Consumption by Region

Sustainable Coffee

But, it is much more than just the cost and taste people consider when going for their coffee of personal choice. The data from this study also uncovers that Brits value the sustainability of a coffee when shopping around. The rise of both eco-friendly lifestyle and sustainability as a hot button topic has been aided by woke generations looking to help a variety of industries from fishing to clothing and toothbrushes to coffee.

Those aged 18-34 lead the way in terms of sustainability with both millennials and gen zers saying that a coffee with a good sustainability background is make or break when out shopping - 46% of those who consider sustainability when coffee shopping are youngsters.

For coffee drinkers over the age of 55, the sustainability ranking becomes a non-existent factor when coffee shopping. Instead, the convenience of the coffee starts to weigh in with 36% of respondents who say the ease of making a coffee is most important being aged 55+.

Sustainable Coffee

Coffee Brands Preferences

Moving away from independent coffee suppliers for a second, we can see that coffee drinkers are much more decisive than the tea drinkers in the UK. Unlike the revelations in our tea survey, the UK has a clear favourite for their coffee; Nescafe takes the crown with 34% of the votes, Kenco ranks in 2nd place with 15% of the votes.

Again, the discrepancy between age groups and their coffee preferences can be seen in who drinks what at home. The older community are those funding the major coffee brands seen in supermarkets with Nescafe being the dominant brand for the elderly, Nescafe’s trust gives a good platform for guaranteed quality.

For millenials and gen Z we can see that there is more of a risk taking side, 29% of 18-34 year olds opt for independent coffee brand and are happy to try coffee which may have a little bit of something different to it.

Coffee Brands Preferences

That’s the Way we Like It

Coffee at home and coffee in a coffeeshop are two very different experiences. We can see that the majority of the UK opt for Lattes when drinking out with a quarter of the UK opting for that milky deliciousness.

But at home, things start to change, instead of frothing the milk and swirling love hearts into our coffee, 48% of Brits opt for pace over passion with instant coffee being the type of coffee most common in our homes.

That’s the Way we Like It

Author: Richard Smith

Partner at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company

Richard Smith is a Tea expert, entrepreneur, and owner of The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company. Part of a family of renowned Tea planters dating back four generations, he was born in Calcutta (Kolkata), India, where he spent his childhood between Tea Estates in Assam and Darjeeling.

In the late 1970s, having accumulated years of knowledge in the industry, Mr Smith and his mother, Janet Smith, moved to Kent, South East England, to establish a Tea business in the village of Pluckley. Their early days of packing Tea Bags by hand from chests of 10,000 prompted the creation of the company’s flagship infusion known as Pluckley Tea. It remains our most popular product today.

Mr Smith, who studied economics at London Polytechnic, has since specialised in over 1,000 types of Loose Leaf Tea - in addition to around 70 varieties of Roast Coffee - from around the world. These are now available at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, where everything is still packed by hand and fresh to order, not only to honour tradition but to ensure the utmost quality and consistency.