Americans are drinking less coffee, one K-Cup at a time

Mon Jun 22, 2015 1:59pm EDT
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By Luc Cohen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Americans are spending more money on coffee than ever before, but for the first time in six years, they will be drinking less of it as the single-serve revolution transforms the brewing habits of the world's largest coffee-drinking nation.

Coffee consumption in the United States is expected to fall to 23.7 million 60-kg bags (132.27 pounds) in the upcoming 2015/16 season, down from 24 million bags in the year that ends in September and the first drop since 2009/2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecast in its biannual coffee report on Friday.

The nation will be the only one of the top eight global coffee-drinking countries to see a decline in consumption, with overall global demand rising by nearly 2 million bags to 147.6 million bags.

The forecast will upset traders and roasters as arabica coffee futures prices continue to fall amid plentiful supplies.

The report provides further evidence that the growing popularity of single-serve pods, dominated by Keurig Green Mountain's K-Cups, is having a material impact on U.S. demand for green coffee beans, market participants said.

As Americans shift from traditional roast and ground coffee toward single-serve, they are brewing only what they intend to drink, reducing the amount thrown down the drain.

"People used to make a pot of coffee, now they make a cup," said Pedro Gavina, owner of Vernon, California-based roaster Gavina & Sons. "Right there we're losing the sink as a consumer."

In February, Reuters reported that Americans are buying less coffee as coffee pods increase the efficiency of consumption, limiting the amount of beans roasters will need to buy per consumer.   Continued...

A container of coffee is pictured in New York March 11, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson