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Caffeine nation


Coffee is now the dominant hot drink in Australia with 2.1 billion cups bought from cafes and other vendors a year.

The BIS Foodservice Coffee and Beverages 2012 report shows Australians are buying more cups of coffee, even as the average national price edges toward the $4 mark.

The number of cups drunk outside the home or office rose from 1.8 billion in 2010 to 2.1 billion in 2012.

In the past two years the average price of an espresso-based coffee rose from an average $3.62 a cup to $3.86.

In Perth, where the high price of coffee has been controversial, cafes now regularly charge $4 or more for a latte.

Head of BIS Foodservice, Sissel Rosengren, said the away-from-home coffee market was likely to grow by 10 to 15 per cent over the next two years, while coffee consumed at work was also expected to rise.

“The signs are there that Australia is becoming a coffee nation,” Ms Rosengren said.

“Pod machines are very likely to increase at home and at work, while by 2020 we fully expect the espresso-based coffee to overtake the instant/soluble variety.”


The most frequently mentioned reason for people drinking coffee at work was ‘stimulation’ at 43 per cent, followed by ‘enjoyment’ at 34 per cent.

Coffee is now also the at-home hot beverage of choice for Australians, replacing tea for the first time.

“This has been driven largely by the significant fall in cost of making an espresso-based coffee at home, combined with a maturing coffee palette,” Ms Rosengren said.

“In addition, coffee is now the number one hot beverage across all age and socioeconomic groups.

“The demise of tea can largely be attributed to the demise in popularity of black tea.”

Ms Rosengren said green and other types of tea had tracked reasonably well, but black tea with milk in particular had seen a sharp decline in popularity.


The consumption of black tea with milk at home has dropped 11 per cent since 2010.

“Tea actually tracks well in the home environment but falls short away from home, unlike coffee,” Ms Rosengren said.

“Operators need to understand the value in producing a better quality cup of tea.

“In 2012 we still have the extraordinary situation where many high-end cafés use tea bags instead of tea leaves in a pot despite it being well known that using tea leaves will produce a better quality cup of tea.

“Consumers tend to feel short-changed when they spend $3 on hot water and a teabag.”

The average Australian aged 14 of older spends $8.60 a week on coffee away from home, which equates to $447 per year.


On average, Australians drink 1.8 coffees in a typical week both away from home and away from the workplace, representing a rise of 0.3 coffees per person since 2010.

“Despite downturns elsewhere, the coffee industry has joined mining in the tier of the economy that is tracking well,” Ms Rosengren said.

Meeting friends remains the main reason people drink coffee away from home and away from work, with 47 per cent of consumers claiming this to be the main reason.

However, people who bought coffee for no particular reason increased from 20 per cent in 2010 to 25 per cent in 2012.

At work, people are most likely to consume coffee mid-morning (62 per cent), followed by mid-afternoon (35 per cent) and early-morning (30 per cent), the latter two periods switching spots since 2010.

The report combines results of a survey of 1200 respondents aged 14 and above with BIS Foodservice ‘s proprietary database information, official figures and online databases.

Photo: Joe Mabel, Wikimedia Commons

3 Responses to “Caffeine nation”

  1. michael jarrahstan says:

    In the 1960’s i wondered if Western Civilization functions on Coffey – Caffeine as it was supplied free in many of the media offices i worked in.
    Half a century later i realise that if coffee was banned, the whole industrial commercial matrix in the West would experience major trauma. The legal speed drug is the oil that keeps the machine running. In fact i have read that the coffee bean is the world’s most traded commodity, above wheat or gold. Have not checked to see if this supposed fact is correct.

  2. Kay says:

    I was charged over $4 for a large cup of tea at a Michel’s in Cockburn Gateways. I expected tea leaves and a strainer… but got a Lipton teabag and a cup of hot water. Left me flabbergasted.
    oneperth got the same treatment in Nannup.

    Not good.


  3. jeffg says:

    $4 for a coffee = ridiculous


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