Report: Seniors’ coffee intake rises most among generations

Coffee consumption has reached its highest levels in 20 years — and seniors are the group that’s seen the biggest jump.

Rachel French, Contributing writer

May 17, 2024

2 Min Read
A scoop of coffee beans.

At a Glance

  • According to a new report, 67% of American adults drank coffee in the past day — a 37% increase since 2004.
  • Among those, 73% of consumers 60 years and older consumed coffee in the past day.
  • Only 21% of seniors reported drinking a specialty coffee drink in the past day.

The number of American adults who reported having coffee in the past day has reached its highest level in 20 years, according to the Spring 2024 National Coffee Data Trends (NCDT) report by the National Coffee Association (NCA). Across the generations, senior adults have seen the biggest hike in past-day coffee intake.  

According to NCA’s report, 67% of American adults had coffee in the past day — marking an increase of 37% since 2004. In 2004, just under half (49%) of American adults reported they had coffee in the past day. Three-quarters of adults (75%) reported drinking coffee in the past week, compared to 71% in 2023.  

The greatest increase in past-day coffee intake is among consumers 60 years and older, whose consumption rose by 9% (from 67% to 73%), the report found. That’s compared to consumers aged 25 to 39 years, which saw an increase of 4.5% (from 67% to 70%); consumers aged 40 to 59 years, which saw an increase of 4.5% (from 66% to 69%); and consumers aged 18 to 24 years, which held steady at 47%. 

Similar to previous NCA findings, coffee is the beverage most consumed by Americans — beating out even tap water or bottled water. The coffee beverage of choice among seniors is traditional coffee, which was cited by 59% of those in the senior age group as the coffee they had in the past day. Seniors are also the highest consumers of traditional coffee, compared to other age groups.  

Conversely, seniors are the lowest consumers of specialty coffee among the age groups, with 39% of seniors having specialty coffee in the past day. 

“This category has always been dominated by a younger age cohort, and our Spring 2024 NCDT found those aged 25 to 39 had the highest past-day consumption of specialty coffee, with 52% of this age cohort opting for this type in the past day,” the authors of the report wrote.  

About a fifth of seniors (21%) said they had an espresso-based beverage in the past day. Over the past week, 46% of seniors said they had a specialty coffee and 30% said they had an espresso beverage. The espresso beverages seniors reached for in the past week include cappuccinos (9%), lattes (8%), espresso (8%), caffé americanos (8%), caffé mochas (4%) and flat whites (2%).  

“It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why we’re seeing this latest increase in consumption, but we know that coffee does remarkably well keeping up with consumers’ taste for tradition, as well as with their changing needs and preferences over time,” the report said. 

Another potential reason for the increase in coffee intake could be the connection between coffee and health.  

“We do also know consumers are increasingly interested in health and nutrition, and that there’s been increasing attention to the scientific evidence that coffee is associated with significant health benefits,” per the report.  

About the Author(s)

Rachel French

Contributing writer

Rachel French joined Informa’s Health & Nutrition Network in 2013. Her career in the natural products industry started with a food and beverage focus before transitioning into her role as managing editor of Natural Products Insider, where she covered the dietary supplement industry. French left Informa Markets in 2019, but continues to freelance for both FBI and NPI.

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