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Are U.S. Coffee Drinkers Addicted to Their Morning Brew?

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For most American coffee drinkers—cue the old Folgers jingle—the best part of waking up really is the coffee in their cup. According to new research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of BUNN, four in five coffee drinkers (81%) say that coffee is what motivates them to get out of bed in the morning.

In fact, the survey of 2,000 U.S. adults found that Americans crave their caffeine fix so much, the average coffee drinker consumes 460 cups per year.

“I don’t think I’d be going out on a limb to say that coffee is very important to a seemingly increasing share of the U.S. consumer market,” Steve Hall, co-founder of Indianapolis-based Tinker Coffee, told The Food Institute.

My Coffee, My Routine

“You have a strong contingent of consumers that are adamant about needing their coffee as soon as they wake up in the morning; an increasing share of consumers that are elevating their home coffee experience through the use of high-end grinders and brewers; and another sizable group that simply enjoys coffee as a treat during their day.”

And it’s true—the variety of different ways that coffee can be enjoyed is a massive part of the appeal. For many consumers, drinking coffee has become a comforting daily ritual, one that can feel deeply personal.

Survey respondents were split on their favorite ways to enjoy coffee, although hot coffee was most popular, with 48% claiming it as their go-to. Some 20% said they favor cold brew, 18% opt for iced coffee, 7% prefer frozen or blended coffee, and 5% are espresso drinkers.

“The act of brewing coffee or filling up a thermos of homemade cold brew or pulling an espresso shot at home is simply part of many people’s morning routines, and that routine helps people retain a bit of consistency in a world where we’re constantly fighting distraction,” said Hall.

Many of those distractions can be attributed to social media, which, coincidentally, 42% of hot coffee drinkers would prefer to give up instead of coffee if faced with the choice. Cold brew drinkers, however, are slightly more attached to their online profiles—only 31% would choose coffee over social media.

Coffee at Home Hits Different

And because coffee is so precious, roughly half (48%) of coffee drinkers have tried to recreate their favorite beverage at home. Among those who have tried, 92% said they were satisfied with the results. The taste of a well-executed DIY project is just so gratifying—and the caffeine helps, too.

Even so, most survey respondents would rather leave it to the pros, as 71% said they think it’s important to have their coffee prepared by a skilled barista. Only 27% of coffee drinkers would refer to the beverages they make at home as “excellent,” and many admitted to facing their share of challenges.

One reason why home baristas may struggle to replicate their favorite drinks is simply because they don’t have the right equipment, especially as preparation techniques become more advanced. “I’m intrigued by the growth of technology in coffee preparation,” said Hall.

“There are so many tools and pieces of equipment available now to help coffee shops produce consistently delicious coffee,” he explained. “And the shops that are able to incorporate technology into their workflow will ultimately be the most successful.”