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The dark side of the German love of coffee

The Germans are a nation of coffee lovers: everyone in this country drinks an average of around 170 liters a year.

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The dark side of the German love of coffee

The Germans are a nation of coffee lovers: everyone in this country drinks an average of around 170 liters a year. Men on average 3.5 cups a day, women 3.2 cups – and the trend is rising.

This is the result of the "coffee report" that the coffee roaster Tchibo created in cooperation with the publisher Brand eins and the statistics portal Statista. And according to data from the German Coffee Association, the average consumption per capita and day in the second quarter of 2022 even increased by five percent compared to the whole of 2021.

This means that coffee roasters are, to a certain extent, beneficiaries of the pandemic. The association explains it by saying that employees in the home office drank more espresso, cappuccino and co. than in the office. In addition, people took advantage of the freedom that the corona restrictions had lifted, went to cafés more often and bought more coffee when traveling or going for walks.

According to the “Kaffeereport”, most of them get a taste for it when they are young: On average, they drink coffee for the first time at just under 17 years of age. 35 percent of respondents said they were following their parents' lead. For 34 percent of the newcomers, it was curiosity. Around 38 percent of them liked the smell of fresh coffee. However, around 30 percent initially found the taste bitter.

Coffee plants are demanding plants, so they are only grown in countries along the equator. There, the year-round high temperatures and the high altitudes offer the coffee farmers good conditions. Around 70 percent of the global harvest comes from Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia and Vietnam alone.

However, drought is an increasingly big problem for farmers. Months with little precipitation or even no rain have again led to crop failures this year, for example in Brazil. Because coffee needs a lot of water: With around 20,000 liters per kilogram of roasted beans, it is one of the foods with the highest consumption.

As with many other foods, the price of coffee is also increasing. In addition, there are fewer special offers in the supermarkets this year than in previous years. In the entire EU, coffee prices in August 2022 were an average of 17 percent higher than in the same month of the previous year, as the statistics office Eurostat recently reported.

First of all, the market leader for filter coffee, the Hamburg roaster Tchibo, had already increased the price of coffee beans by up to 1.30 euros last February. Other producers such as Dallmayr - with the best-selling individual brand Prodomo - or Melitta and Darboven followed suit.

The manufacturers justify the price increases with high energy costs - Dallmayr recently spoke of a fivefold increase. Nevertheless, the discounters in particular ensure lively price competition. Aldi and Lidl have their own coffee roasters and house brands.

In Germany, the state also earns a lot from the coffee business – and not just through VAT. He levies a coffee tax of 2.19 euros per kilogram, which dates back to the post-war period. In Europe, this tax only applies in Belgium, Denmark, Lithuania and Norway.

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