A cup of coffee is a popular way to start the day for many people. By lunchtime, some people will have looked for drinks elsewhere, and opted for juice, tea or soda over another cup of coffee. At least, this used to be the way things worked. In the last 10 years, US coffee consumption has increased by over 50% – while soda consumption, both for diet and regular drinks, has been in decline. This chart depicts the revenue of both the soda and coffee markets (not coffee shops, just purchased coffee), and it is easy to see that the advantage will soon be with coffee as it is set to potentially overtake soda revenue (data from IBISWorld). There are a couple of reasons that this has happened, and while studies aren’t pointing to one thing specifically, it doesn’t take a lot to see that these reasons definitely carry some weight.
- Coffee is healthier than soda. There are studies all the time about the new potential health benefits of coffee and caffeine. Sugar has been blamed for the “obesity epidemic and there is simply lots of anti-soda propaganda out there.
- Bottled water and energy drinks are popular. These categories are taking market share away from soda – and while the same parent companies are still profiting because they own products in these categories, drinkers of bottled water and energy drinks are often former soda drinkers.
- Coffee has class. It’s not just that we like coffee, but now consumers are much more educated and appreciative of good coffee than ever before. So, we drink more.
- Coffee is expensive. Unlike soda, which is inexpensive to produce, coffee is a pricey and labor-intensive agricultural product. As demand increases, so do prices and that pushes the coffee industry further into the black.
I will admit that I’m not the most skilled latte artist out there when it comes to free-pouring rosettes and such, but I do like to practice even though my creations sometimes look a little on the abstract side. I can make some darn good microfoam, though, and will often opt for etched latte art – made using a toothpick – to decorate my drinks. This lion is a recent favorite of mine and I’m pretty sure that he makes the drinks taste even better.
I always love to hear good news about research that reveals new potential health benefits of coffee (or tea, of course), because I don’t want to cut back on my coffee consumption. It also never hurts to feel like you’re doing something good for yourself by pouring another cup during the day. A recent study focused on older adults found that regular coffee drinkers who drank four or more cups a day were at a much lower risk of depression than non-coffee drinkers. This was particularly true of the non-drinkers who consumed a lot of artificially sweetened beverages, since that was linked to the highest risk of depression in this particular study. There are many other factors that could start to explain these findings, but the preliminary results of the study – which was large and, unusually, focused primarily on older people in the IS – are very interesting. The results were released by the American Academy of Neurology and the study was led by Dr. Honglei Chen, an investigator at the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
Coffee and caffeine have already been linked to a happier and more optimistic outlook on life in other studies, so lowering the risk of depression may not be too much of a stretch.
The popular independent coffee chain, Intelligentsia, is planning to expand its reach a little further this year. The Chicago-based coffee company already has several locations in Chicago and Los Angeles, and distributes its fresh-roasted coffee to numerous stores, such as Whole Foods, all over the country. The cafes are known for their coffee loving, independent minded customers (and, in LA, a very high number of hipsters filling their tables) and their skilled baristas. This expansion includes one store in New York and one in San Francisco, connected to their roasting facility in Potrero Hill. They’ll also own three new locations in the Chicago area. Fans of the coffee beans will definitely want to stop in to the cafes for the atmosphere and a cup perfectly prepared to Intelligentsia’s high standards.