With upscale artisanal coffee brewers dotting city streets across the country, America might fancy itself a nation of high-end coffee drinkers.
But just the opposite is true: People in this country, on the whole, are actually drinking worse coffee today than they have in the past. And the reason appears to be that they value cheapness over quality — and convenience over everything. "A lot of people in America would take a sip of single origin high-end coffee and not appreciate the taste," said Howard Telford, an industry analyst at market research firm Euromonitor.
"Price is important because if you can’t afford it, you can’t buy it, but convenience is the one thing that’s really changing trends these days." Indeed, the bulk of this country runs not on single-drip artisanal coffee, but standard, pre-ground coffee, which, by most coffee snobs' measures, is one of coffee's most inferior forms.
Only about 8 percent of the coffee beans Americans buy are fresh whole beans, which upscale coffee brewers, like Blue Bottle, will tell you is the much better way to buy coffee beans. And ground coffee isn't just outpacing whole bean coffee — it's increasing its lead, each and every year.
The rise of coffee pods, which come pre-ground, provides what is without question the most compelling evidence of the country's desire for convenience. Sales of coffee pods have grown by a blistering 138,324 percent — yes, 138,324 percent — over the past 10 years, according to data from Euromonitor. They have have jumped more than tenfold since 2009 alone. And they're still rising at an annual clip of more than 30 percent.
And pod coffee machines, to further vindicate the trend, have been outselling drip coffee machines since 2013. America's fast-growing obsession with single-serve pods is such that it has made Keurig Green Mountain, the maker of K-Cups, the best-selling brand of coffee in the United States.
SOURCE: Washington Post