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A “Perk-me up”, Coffee – what is in your cup? 

A “Perk-me up”, Coffee – what is in your cup? 

A “Perk-me up”, Coffee – what is in your cup? 

TORONTO – There is nothing that awakens the senses quite like the aroma of fresh brewed coffee. Whether it’s the first sip of the day, or a full pot to help you through a long night ahead, coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world.

Everyday, globally, people consume an estimated 2.25 billion cups of coffee. According to the Coffee Association of Canada, Canadians drink an average of 2 cups a day.

For coffee lovers who need that jolt of caffeine first thing in the morning, the value of the popular drink may be priceless. It is no surprise that coffee is a big business and worth about $300 billion worldwide (all values represented in CAD).

Ever wonder what goes into that “cup of joe”?

The first place to start is at the source – the grower. There are two main species of coffee beans in the world, Arabica and Robusta. Originating in the southwestern highlands of Ethiopia, the Arabica bean is more popular among connoisseurs who prefer a smoother, sweeter taste. Robusta is the preferred choice among those craving a bolder and more bitter flavour. Choosing the right balanced blend makes an exceptional shot of espresso.

From growing, to producing, to exporting, much of the coffee production is concentrated in the global south. Brazil dominates the world production of co  ee at 37.5%. That translates into nearly 65 million bags of coffee beans: each bag weighing 60kg. The next largest producer/exporter is Vietnam representing 17.4% of the global market, followed by Colombia at 8% (Chart 1).

In 2018, approximately 7.2 million tonnes of green coffee beans were exported internationally at a value of $25 billion. The next stage in production for the little green bean is roasting. This is when the true colour, richness and flavour of the beans are brought to life.

Factoring in all costs related to roasting (such as labour, administrative, packaging), the total export value of roasted beans was $14 billion. In 2018, of the top exporters of roasted coffee (based on the value of coffee) was Switzerland – at $3 billion. This is due in part to the hyper-inflated price of roasted beans in the landlocked Alpine country (Chart 2).

In Italy, one of Europe’s largest coffee consuming countries, the total value of exported roasted coffee beans comes in at $2 billion. The hot caffeinated beverage plays an important role in Italian culture. Among the top brands in the country are Illy and Lavazza. Approximately 70% of consumers drink espresso.

In Canada, it is difficult to travel the span of a couple blocks without passing a Tim Hortons, Starbucks, or Second Cup. These are among the top leading coffee chains in Canada which, in 2018, generated about $10 billion in gross sales. Of the major retail store sellers, Nestlé tops the market share at 22.3%.

In light of Covid-19 restrictions and limitations on in-door dining/ drinking in some areas, enjoying a cup while seated at your local café may be a challenge. The increasing popularity of single-serve machines allows for greater convenience to enjoy the aromatic beverage anywhere.

As one can imagine, the most popular place to drink coffee is at home.