Millennials are coffee junkies: consumption outpaces production (again)

Brittany A. Roston - Oct 31, 2016
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Millennials are coffee junkies: consumption outpaces production (again)

Millennials are coffee junkies, and their boundless love for the brewed beverage has resulted in consumption outpacing production for a second time. Is the coffee apocalypse upon us? Probably not, though prices are already high and it’s likely they’ll continue to climb in coming months. This latest coffee season ended on September 30, and saw coffee drinkers around the world consuming more beans than crops produced, that itself partly being due to droughts affecting farmland where coffee is grown.

The variety of coffee known as ‘robusta’ — the kind you get with instant coffee — is largely affected by recent dry spats in Brazil, as well as droughts in Asia. Because robusta output in both regions of the world are low, companies that acquire a lot of coffee are turning toward Arabica beans — the most common and best tasting variety — thusly causing the price to increase.

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This decreased output coupled with high demand amongst millennials has resulted in high prices, but that trend could change if Brazil is able to recover its crops. In addition, green coffee bean stockpiles in the U.S. are the highest they’ve been since the year 2000…though stockpile amounts have been falling since July while consumption continues to grow.

All things told, the United States is already the world’s top coffee consumer, and it is on track for reaching its own all-time high. This trend is expected to continue as millennials not only continue drinking coffee, but their own kids begin drinking it at younger ages. While coffee was once reserved for adults, many millennials began drinking it during their teens, and some even younger. It isn’t surprising, then, that millennials are also getting their own kids hooked at a young age.

As pointed out by Bloomberg, the National Coffee Association found that older millennials — those born in the early-to-mid 1980s, started drinking coffee around the age of 17, while younger millennials born in the mid-to-late 1990s started drinking coffee before the age of 15.

At this point, arabica coffee prices are the highest they’ve been since February of last year, so it’s not time to panic yet. A rainy season in Brazil will help restore coffee crops to their former glory, and prices will likely come back down in response. Until then, though, you may want to keep an eye out for good deals on coffee beans and grab them when you can.


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