Butterworth & Son’s Izzy Glen comes up with some startling facts about the global love of coffee
Regardless of how coffee was discovered, it’s no secret that the population worldwide is obsessed.
Finland is the world leader when it comes to coffee consumption, with each Finn drinking an estimated 12kg of coffee per year– that’s more than double the amount Italians drink. Blame it on the dark and dreary winters, maybe? Thanks to the UK’s long-standing infatuation with tea, our culture was somewhat slow to catch on in London. But the past decade or so has seen a huge increase in cafés and coffee-drinking. This boom may be due in part to the influence of American TV programmes, but it’s also a result of our increasingly digital lifestyle, which has turned cafés into workplaces for millions of freelancers.
London also supposedly introduced Europe to the flat white, an espresso-based coffee drink made with steamed milk that’s been popular in Australia and New Zealand for years. If you need any more proof of London’s coffee fixation, join the 7,000-plus visitors and baristas who attend the massive London Coffee Festival each year.
It’s no secret that Scandi countries positively adore coffee, and Norway is no different. In fact, Norway is the second most avid coffee-drinking country in the world after Finland. Oslo in particular appreciates a good cup of joe, with a preference for light roasts that bring out the coffee’s natural aroma. Daily coffee breaks are practically mandatory in Norway, but unlike cafés in London and New York, coffee shops in Oslo are a place for community rather than computers.
Although most countries are adjoined in adoring caffeine, not all love it in all forms – coffee pods are banned from German government buildings; this rule was established in 2016 because it was found to create unnecessary waste that contained aluminum.
Coffee was also once believed to be punishable by death and during the 17th century Ottoman Empire, it was believed that coffee contained mind-altering effects. The ruler of this period believed it to be a type of narcotic and banned it from public consumption. (It’s also rumoured that you should avoid drinking coffee when stressed – this can supposedly result in levels of hallucination!)
It’s no surprise that Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day. On average, 250 cups of espresso and coffee drinks are sold per day at almost any espresso drive-thru business with a great location. Studies have shown you would need to consume more than 70 cups of coffee to kill an average sized person – this translates to three cups of coffee every hour for 24 hours for it to be lethal.
So next time you’re feeling bad about your third coffee of the day, or the fact you treated yourself to a coffee every morning before work, don’t! You’re not alone.
Butterworth & Son coffee roasters and tea smiths are based on Moreton Hall, Bury St Edmunds. Owner Rob Butterworth’s job takes him around the world visiting coffee farms to source great coffees.