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NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Young American adults have increased the amount of coffee they drink daily in 2011, after feeling better about their finances following the global economic crisis, a survey showed on Saturday.
Forty percent of the 18- to 24-year-olds who responded to the National Coffee Association's National Coffee Drinking Trends 2011 survey said they are drinking coffee daily, compared with 31 percent in 2010.
This brought the daily coffee consumption of this age group back to levels reached in 2009, the survey showed.
"2010 was troubling for younger consumers. That's rebounded in 2011. It shows the industry is able to respond," said Michael Edwards, managing partner with ART Marketing Insight, which was involved in the survey.
The study, which the NCA has conducted annually since 1950, was done online from mid-January through mid-February with 2,826 people aged 18 years and older selected randomly from an online panel. Its margin of error is plus or minus 3 percent.
Daily coffee drinking also increased in 2011 for those aged 25 to 39, to 54 percent of those surveyed from 44 percent last year.
Overall, 58 percent of those surveyed said they drank coffee in the past day, up from 56 percent in 2010 but down from 60 percent in 2009.
As the younger crowd increased their regular coffee drinking, they returned to the more expensive gourmet coffee, which includes all espresso-based drinks as well as regular brewed coffee that is made from premium roasted beans.
"It just underlies how important gourmet coffee is," Edwards said.
For instant coffee, only 2 percent said they buy instant stick packs regularly while 10 percent buy it infrequently.
"There's an opportunity to get that 10 percent to buy more often," Edwards said.
Many major coffee companies now offer single-serve brewed coffee, which include individual pods of coffee that require specific machines that quickly brew a single cup of fresh coffee. While this system is increasingly used in offices and restaurants, the survey showed that only 7 percent of those surveyed owned a single-cup brewing system in 2011.
"It was a little disappointing. You've managed to convince people that these systems are okay. You haven't been able to convince them that these are amazing, and that's the next step," Edwards said, speaking to the coffee industry.
Penetration of the single-cup systems is growing at an average of 1 percent per year, the survey showed.
Reporting by Marcy Nicholson; Editing by Vicki Allen