February 1, 2007

In a survey on coffee drinking habits, a majority of Americans said they would give up an important part of their daily routine to hold on to their morning coffee, and for 12% this included giving up 3 hours of sleep. The survey—which was commissioned by OnTech Operations, Inc, San Diego, a company that provides self-heating containers—found that two thirds of American adults are coffee drinkers, and nearly half have at least one cup of coffee every day. Shining the harsh morning light on our collective addiction, the survey also asked respondents about what they would be willing to forego to keep their morning coffee. Among the survey takers, 42% said they would give up their morning radio, television, or newspaper; 20% said that they would give up lunch; 12% said that they would give up 3 hours of sleep; and 10% would be willing to go as far as giving up brushing their teeth.

Defining Coffee Personalities

Survey respondents fell into five main coffee personalities: The Social Drinker (33%) who shares coffee as a break with family and friends; The Comfort Lover (24%) who likes to hold a warm drink in their hands; The Coffee Addict (14%) who must have coffee to get through the day; The Task Master (11%) who uses coffee to stay focused; and the Coffee Gourmet (7%) who matches the optimum brew with the perfect meal. The largest group of coffee lovers classified themselves as Social Drinkers. Demographic data revealed social drinkers are most likely to live alone and see coffee breaks as a way to connect outside the home with family and friends. As household size increases, the likelihood of being a Social Drinker decreases.

Younger coffee drinkers are the Task Masters who primarily drink coffee to help them accomplish tasks, according to survey data. More than a third of those aged 18-24 (37%) put themselves in this category, while 16% of the 25 to 34 age group also chose this category. Younger drinkers are also driving the flavored and iced coffee craze while older groups said they prefer basic brewed coffee.

Not surprisingly, those who drink five or more cups of coffee per day are the most likely to characterize themselves as Coffee Addicts, with half saying they fall into this category. However, only a quarter of those who drink three to four cups per day classified themselves as addicts.

Although coffee drinkers from most income categories were equally likely to call themselves coffee addicts (around 12%), those from the highest income category were twice as likely to call their love of coffee an addiction.

Additional Findings

Additional key findings from the survey include:
    •     Men admitted to drinking more coffee than women. On average, men reported drinking about 1.6 cups of coffee per day, while women only reported an average of 1.2 cups per day.
    •     People from the Northeast report drinking the most coffee of any region, with an average of 1.6 cups per day, as compared to 1.4 cups, 1.3 cups, and 1.2 cups each for the West, North Central, and South regions, respectively.
    •     The most preferred variety of coffee is brewed coffee, with more than half of all coffee drinkers (57%) choosing this as their favorite.
    •     Latte and cappuccino drinks came in a distant second at 12%, followed by flavored coffees at 10 % and iced coffee at only 4%.

OnTech commissioned the survey on America’s coffee drinking personality and habits as part of the launch of its Hillside line of hot beverages.