The 10 European countries that drink the most coffee
Europeans drink the most coffee of any continent—but who drinks the most? Find out how much they drink, how they prefer to take it, and more.
8 min read
Linked to increased alertness and powerful antioxidants, coffee features in many people’s morning routines around the world. But did you know that Europe consumes more coffee than any other continent? With the global coffee market being valued at a staggering €86 billion, it’s a lucrative industry that many of us contribute to daily—often without even thinking about it. So, let’s dig a little deeper and discover the European countries that drink the most coffee!
Europe’s biggest coffee drinkers—the data
According to the International Coffee Organization, between June 2020 and June 2021, Europeans consumed 242 million kilograms of coffee. Including the UK (21.8 million kgs) and Switzerland (9.3 million kgs) into that figure, a staggering total of 273 million kgs of coffee were consumed. As the average kg of coffee yields 130 single-shot coffees—that means the Europeans guzzled around an astonishing 35 billion cups of joe last year!
However, when it comes to deciding exactly which European countries drink the most coffee, there’s a lot of conflicting information out there. While the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI) puts Germany in the lead, followed by France and Italy, The National Coffee Association and The Specialty Coffee Association of America gives the top spots to Finland, Sweden, and Switzerland, and the European Coffee Report argues it’s Germany, Italy, and Belgium.
So, while we’ll be largely using the data supplied by Statista as it’s the most recent and trustworthy source, it’s important to take all findings with a pinch of salt (or sugar). Statista observed global coffee consumption habits over the course of 2020 and used kg of coffee consumed per capita (i.e. per person)to categorize their findings.
1. The Netherlands
Consuming a colossal 8.3kg of coffee per capita, the Dutch are the coffee maniacs of Europe, with many drinking up to 4 cups a day. Known for their slow Dutch brew—a brewing method that slowly drips ice-cold water over freshly ground coffee for 3–12 hours—the Dutch consume a lot of coffee… and they’re not always willing to wait for it.
The Netherlands’ favorite way to drink coffee
Dutch brew aside, the Dutch don’t tend to be too fussy about their coffee and are more likely to opt for a simple filter coffee, which they drink black. The best place to grab yourself a cup is in one of the Netherlands’ many renowned coffee shops—famous for selling other, greener, ways to relax!
Taking second place, but not by much, the Finnish consume an average of 7.8 kg of coffee per head each year. Typically drinking between 3–5 cups a day, the Finns are a highly caffeinated bunch who typically drink coffee with each meal.
Finland’s favorite way to drink coffee
The Finnish prefer a lighter filter coffee, with 80% of all consumed coffee being a light roast. Thanks to the Finnish government making it mandatory that each employee takes two 10-minute coffee breaks during a working day, coffee is mostly drunk either at home or in the office.
The ever-popular Swedish tradition of “Fika” which encourages people to meet and share a coffee together firmly puts the Swedes in third position, consuming 7.6 kg of coffee per head each year. Akin to the British afternoon tea, Fika started when coffee was introduced to Sweden in the 18th century, but developed into a more indulgent affair with the arrival of patisseries a century later!
Sweden’s favorite way to drink coffee
Best enjoyed over a leisurely afternoon Fika with friends, the Swedes prefer to drink their coffee filtered and black—but they like it strong! However, for more adventurous drinkers, a Swedish Egg Coffee is made by mixing a raw egg with the coffee grounds before brewing. The result is a smoother, velvety-tasting coffee!
With 80% of the country drinking between 4–5 cups of coffee a day, Norway comes in fourth at 6.6 kg of coffee per person. Founders of the World Barista Championships, the Norwegians take their coffee culture seriously. However, it’s only over the past two decades that Norwegians started to drink coffee outside the home. Thanks to the growing popularity of coffee shops and those in search of an artisanally crafted cup of joe, Norway’s cities boast a lively coffee scene.
Norway’s favorite way to drink coffee
A traditional Norwegian coffee, known as a ‘kokekaffe’(literally, boiled coffee), is made by bringing water to boil and steeping the coffee for a good few minutes, just like a cup of tea. The trick is to use single-origin coffee grounds as the technique tends to emphasize any flaws that would be better hidden in a blended coffee.
Lagging just behind the Nordics, Germany boasts 5.2 kg of coffee per capita and is Europe’s largest coffee importer, importing predominantly from Brazil, Vietnam, and Honduras. Averaging around 2.6 cups of coffee a day, the Germans seem to value speed when it comes to coffee—in 2017 they consumed 13.5 thousand tons of instant coffee!
Germany’s favorite way to drink coffee
Since the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990 and up until the mid 2000s, Germans increasingly drank less coffee. However, this changed around 2005 when new methods of making coffee—predominantly by using milk, were introduced. As a result, regular filter coffee now competes with more milk-based types of coffee including lattes, cappuccinos, and “milchkaffee.”
Though not technically in the EU, as Switzerland is still part of the European single market, which includes the import and export of coffee, they’re included in this list. Drinking 4.8 kg of coffee per capita, fascinatingly, the Swiss’ caffeine intake varies depending on which linguistic region of Switzerland they live. Researchers from the University of Lausanne discovered that the German-speaking Swiss consumed 204 mg per day, the French-speaking Swiss consumed 170 mg per day, and the Italian-speaking Swiss consumed 136 mg a day!
Switzerland’s favorite way to drink coffee
Thanks to their blend of cultures and languages (Italian, French, Romansh, and German), Switzerland boasts a varied coffee scene. While filter coffee is frowned upon for being too weak, since the 1980s the Swiss’ favorite way to drink coffee is as a ‘caffè crema’—which is essentially a long espresso made with coarse grounds.
Coming in at number 7, at 4.7 kg per head and averaging around 3 cups a day, the Italians drink plenty of coffee per year! Introduced to Italy way back in the 1500s, Italian coffee is often seen as the gold standard for European coffee, thanks to their obsession with combining the perfect beans, grounds, and blend to create faultless espresso.
Italy’s favorite way to drink coffee
In Italy, when you go to the bar, you don’t usually order a pint of beer, you order an espresso. A ‘bar’ is actually a cafe that often sells pastries and snacks, but most importantly, coffee. When it comes to consumption, speed is everything. Italian’s like to order an espresso at the till, down it, and leave, all within a couple of minutes!
Coming in at number 8 with 4.3 kg of coffee consumed per capita, Estonian coffee culture is thriving. Thanks to the creative entrepreneurship of coffee connoisseurs Vello Raul Leitham and Raimond Feil who began experimenting with different beans in their cafe in the early 2000s, there’s now a great demand for specialty coffee in Estonia.
Estonia’s favorite way to drink coffee
Preferring coffee made from either a machine or a French Press, while many Estonians drink a cup of coffee at home in the morning, many prefer to savor their coffee later on, with milk, in a cafe.
Ninth on the list, the average Portuguese person consumes 4.0 kg of coffee per year, preferring to drink it in a cafe or restaurant—though at-home consumption is increasing. One of the least expensive cups of coffee in Europe, it’s a tradition to follow a hearty Portuguese lunch with a coffee to prevent the post-lunch activity slump.
Portugal’s favorite way to drink coffee
While most countries opt for 100% Arabica beans, the Portuguese prefer the denser, more robust flavors of a slow-roasted Arabica and Robusta blend. Like the Italians, the Portuguese like to drink their coffee as an espresso shot, which, thanks to the thickness of the coffee blend, is often served with a glass of water.
At 3.4 kg of coffee consumed per head, and with a growing demand for specialty coffees, France rounds up the list of Europe’s top ten biggest coffee consumers. With a staggering 70% of the French owning a coffee capsule machine, it’s little surprise that France is one of Europe’s leading countries for coffee pod and capsule consumption. As a result, the French drink a large portion of their coffee at home, but 35% of the population visit a cafe 4–5 times a week.
France’s favorite way to drink coffee
The French like to drink their coffee strong, hot, and black. Milky coffee isn’t a popular choice, and neither is filter coffee. Instead, the French opt for an espresso, sometimes followed by a cigarette. C’est la vie!
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