Tea Consumption Steady at 43%

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CHARLESTON, SC – Annually since 1950 the National Coffee Association has asked American adults: “What did you drink yesterday during each of the following times?” This open-ended question is followed by a list of day-parts.

The “past-day” study then selects those who drink coffee for an extensive interview which offers some interesting insights into how coffee drinkers consume tea.

Last year tea surpassed soda in the January survey and this year tea surpassed bottled water as the choice of 40% of American adults. In 2008 an estimated 37% of adults drank bottled water the previous day while 40% drank tea (iced and hot).

Bottled water had climbed steeply to become the choice of 48% of adults in 2012 but slipped to 41% in the 2013 National Coffee Drinking Trends study. It fell to 40% in the latest survey.

Tea has been a slow but steady gainer by comparison to its rivals. This year’s survey showed consumption flat at 43% the same as last year.

Soda meanwhile fell from the choice of 57% in 2008 to 39% in 2015 with among a statistically weighted group of 2,771 adults. Respondents were given their choice of any beverage drunk at home or outside the home that may have come in a cup, can or bottle.

Among the young 44% drink tea (18-24) with a dip to 38% among 25-39 year olds. Daily tea use peaks among those 40-59 at 45%. Older adults prefer a daily coffee over daily tea by a wide margin of 65% to 39%.

“Consumers 18-24 years of age show a preference for past-day consumption of coffee over soft drinks by a 7 percentage-point margin. For other ages, the preference persists with even wider margins: coffee leads soft drinks by 19 points for the 25-39 group, 22 points for the 40-59 group and 25 points among those 60+,” according to the NCDT 2015 study.
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NCA has taken a close look at the use of single serve brewers, now in 27% of American homes. Among the findings due to a new question this year is the interest in brewers to make tea. The statement: a single cup brewer is a good way to make tea and other beverages including chai latte, which is new to the list.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents agreed with the statement “a single-cup brewer is able to make a wide variety of beverages” and 69% said the single-cup brewer encourages them to experiment.

The survey showed that 25% of respondents did not know that a single-cup brewer can be used to make chai lattes. Only 21% did not know it could be used to make iced tea.

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Dan Bolton

About Dan Bolton

Dan Bolton edits STiR Tea & Coffee Industry International. He was formerly editor and publisher of World Tea News and former editor and publisher of Tea Magazine and former editor-in-chief of Specialty Coffee Retailer. He is a beverage retail consultant and frequent speaker at industry seminars and conferences. His work has appeared in many beverage publications. He was a newspaper reporter and editor for 20 years prior to his career in magazines. Dan is the founding editor of Natural Food magazine and has led six publishing ventures since 1995. He lives in Winnipeg, Canada.