It’s safe to say we all drink coffee. If you’re reading this right now and you don’t drink coffee, chances are you meant to type Drudge, not Sprudge. But with the global shutdown caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, doing much of anything these days requires intentionality. There’s no more popping out for a quick coffee at moment’s notice (or for anything for that matter); going out requires planning.
So we here at Sprudge wanted to know: how has Coronavirus affected your coffee consumption habits? Have restrictions on movement caused you to drink less coffee? Or are you stuck at home with nothing better to do than drink another cup? To find out, we created a poll a few weeks back to hear from the coffee consuming public. And with some 500 responses on the books form around the world, we can offer some concrete conclusions today with some confidence.
First: coffee consumption is not going away due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the total 471 replies we received, only three stated they are no longer drinking coffee during the pandemic. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be looking at the other 468.
What we’re seeing is, coffee consumption has gone up since shelter in place orders have gone into place around the world. Before coronavirus folks were consuming on average 2.45 cups of coffee a day. That number has since gone up to 2.77 cups, roughly a third cup extra a day representing an over 13% increase. Over half the responses state their coffee consumption has stayed the same, but for folks who did change their drinking habits, their cup count overwhelmingly went up as opposed to down, by a ratio of 2.2:1. On average, those who cut down on their consumption did so by 56%, whereas those who increased consumption did so at a rate of 112%.
And no doubt in some part due to social distancing and sheltering in place, the majority of coffee respondents are purchasing is coming via delivery. 47% of folks state they are ordering their coffee online, with another nearly 12% receiving their via subscription. Grocery stores and coffee shops, ever in that eternal struggle, are duking it out for the remaining purchasers, at 14% and 18%, respectively. Most of these folks, three out of every four, said they are making coffee with some sort of manual brew method. 92% of the remaining individuals opted for a coffee maker. Some just like instant.
We also asked folks: are you willing to try out a new roaster or purchase a new brewer right now? In a seemingly counterintuitive pair of responses, folks were generally about as willing to try a brand new roaster as they were unwilling to purchase a new brew method. 62% of folks stated they were very willing to try a new roaster whereas a little over 52% state they had no intention of buying a new brewing method while sheltering in place. Drilling down further, though, a larger pattern begins to emerge that hints at the non-arbitrary relationship between the responses to these two questions.
There appears to be an inverse correlation between the two. That is to say, looking at the new brewer finding in terms of new roaster willingness and vice versa, the willingness to unwillingness to try a new roasters maps pretty directly onto the unwillingness to willingness to buy a new brew method.
This, I believe, can be explained by three things: necessity, price point, and availability. Coffee is seen more as a necessity than a new brew method is. (Unless you don’t have any brew method at all. In which case, a brewer would be necessary.) And trying a new roaster for a week would most likely mean not buying coffee from your usual source, so you would be replacing dollars spent on Roaster X with dollars spent on Roaster Y for a mostly net-zero dollar output.
The last consideration is simple availability; there just aren’t as many novel-to-you brew methods as there are roasters. There are, for instance, over 2,500 roasters worldwide on our #StillRoasting map. It’s safe to say that even the most adventurous coffee drinker still has 2,000 new roasters on that map alone that they could try. There are not 2,000 new brew methods out there (unless you count every new “reimagining” of the French press out there on Kickstarter, which I most certainly do not).
In summation, if you feel like you’ve been drinking more coffee recently, you’re not alone. We’ve found that coffee consumption during COVID-19 is trending upward and moving online. Folks are generally interested in trying new things, though only in fiscally conservative ways. So drink more coffee, and enjoy the ritual of it all. The world may be a little uncertain right now, but brewing up a nice cup of coffee offers a little escape for those who can afford it, even only ever so briefly.