Coffee an ever-growing trend

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I’ve never really thought of coffee as anything but popular. I mean, my mother first introduced me to coffee as a child, limiting my consumption to special holidays which only heightened the drinks value in my adolescent eyes.

Now, at 21, I drink a minimum of one cup a day.

According to a recent article published in USA Today, the author discovered that coffee consumption and sales are only increasing:

About 83 percent of adults drink coffee in the U.S., the world’s biggest consumer of the beverage, up from 78 percent a year earlier, according to the National Coffee Association’s 2013 online survey. That’s an average of three cups a day per person, or 587 million cups. The only weak spot: volatile young drinkers, who last year drank less coffee.

Industry experts credit a handful of diverse factors driving coffee’s escalating popularity. The most cited is the growth in hot-selling home-brewing gadgets, with single-serve coffee makers leading the pack. Other strong factors: gourmet offerings, coffeehouses with hip appeal and health benefits.

“Coffee has become important to us on so many levels and there’s no signs its cachet is going away any time soon,” said Joe DeRupo, National Coffee Association president. “It’s part beverage, another part pop culture.”

While I think this seems blatantly obvious, it got me thinking: could coffee finally be overtaking tea as the most widely consumed beverage? Not including water, of course.

As detailed in an article on Moneyshow.com, coffee is starting to overtake some previously tea dominated Asian countries as the preferred drink of choice. Japanese consumption is up by almost 300 percent, 400 percent in Taiwan and 1,800 percent in South Korea since the mid-1990s.

While the demand for coffee grows in these countries, consumption in the United States has switched from customers seeking the average cup of joe to an artistically designed, non-fat, caramel latte – or any other gourmet cup.

The USA Today article depicts this:

According to the recent NCA survey, consumption of gourmet coffee remains strong and steady, with nearly one-third of U.S. adults drinking a gourmet coffee each day. At the same time, those drinking traditional coffee dropped from 56 percent in 2012 to 49 percent this year.

“We’ve gone from drinking mass-produced coffee to specialty coffee. People today are more educated about coffee than ever before. They know where it’s grown and how it’s roasted,” said Matt Poole, owner of Giant Coffee, a downtown Phoenix shop that pours single-origin coffee roasted in San Francisco.

“They want coffee to taste exactly how they like it.”

Not only is demand for artisanal coffee growing, sales are increasing for single serve brewing machines like K-cups, or pods to satiate the apparent need for at-home coffee shop coffee.

However, a new study shows why people are eager to reach for the daily cup of java; regular coffee consumption may lower the risk of a stroke.

People who drank at least one cup of coffee daily had about a 20-percent lower risk of stroke compared to those who rarely drank it. People who drank two to three cups of green tea daily had a 14- percent lower risk of stroke and those who had at least four cups had a 20-percent lower risk, compared to those who rarely drank it.

Also coinciding with this study was the growing number of tea sales, which have risen over the past 20 years with annual sales of $2.2 billion.

So, in the end, coffee may not be overpowering tea as world-wide drink of choice, but consumers of either beverage seem to have a chance at lowering health risks with whatever path they choose.

No matter what outcome, though, coffee will always be my first morning choice. And afternoon. And evening.

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