Coffee Is Hot Commodity, Even During This Record Hot Summer

And now here’s a 1946 movie scene that’s set in a coffee shop…roll that film.

I want a cup of coffee, black.

Just a cup of coffee.

That’ll be 20 cents.

Stop the projector. Twenty cents for two cups of coffee? Wow. It’s no wonder US coffee consumption reached its peak in 1946 with the average American consuming that year almost 46 and a half gallons of coffee. Things went along pretty well for coffee until the 1970s when coffee consumption began to turn downward. So the average American in 1946, drinking over 46 gallons of coffee, by 2005 that was down to 24 gallons and still falling. What happened?

It’s a combination with the use of the percolator, which is the worst way to do it.

That’s Arondo Holmes, a coffee grower roaster and marketer who grows coffee in Honduras. And yes, he says first there was the electric percolator, which really took hold in the 50s and 60s. Those machines depended on boiling the water to get it to brew the coffee. Boiling is too hot and will often give you very bitter coffee. So one factor was the percolator. Another competition from soft drinks and the consumer shift away from breakfasts.

Also the coffee companies started using more and more robust coffee, which was a third of the price of Arabica beans, trying to make higher profits, but they just made that coffee at the same time.

But finally the tide turned. a new era of coffee started to brew in the 2000s.

Some of the coffee companies made it more fashionable and people started looking for even better coffees. 100% Arabica, well raised, top grade, roasted right.

He says once people tasted good coffee, demand for it started to rise, not just because of the coffee itself.

You know, it’s a social thing.

This is Karen Blakesley, Extension Educator, Kansas State University.

People like to hang out with friends or meet with colleagues to have a work session and to go have a cup of coffee

And that coffee is far different than in the past.

We’ve added a lot of flavors to them to enhance people’s idea of what coffee is supposed to taste like.

Oh, it’s a new world of coffees. I sometimes go to the drive thru coffee shop and my daughter will ask me to bring her…

…a hot grande Caramel Macchiato with almond milk.

or maybe…

…a hot grande chestnut praline latte.

Well, I gotta write all that down. Also, for home brewing, there are those single cup brewing machines

That’s added a whole ‘nother dimension to the market.

And a different sound as well. So all of this is bringing coffee consumption up from a per person yearly average of 24 gallons in 2005 to over 35 last year. However, health experts are voicing concerns.

Do you really need a lot all that caffeine?

We’ll take a look at the pros and cons of that in a future report Gary Crawford reporting to the US Department of Agriculture