Coffee Drinkers of Colombia

In a previous article, Coffee in Colombia, we discussed the consumption of coffee in Colombian households.  There, we found that 88% of Colombian households served coffee once or more per day.  In this article, we look at how people consume coffee.  There is an obvious difference between households and persons, in that not all persons within a multi-person household have to drink the coffee.  In addition, there are many places outside of the home in which coffee is consumed (e.g. restaurants, cafes, office dispensing machines, etc).  Therefore, this article complements rather than duplicates the previous article.

We will refer to some data taken from the 2003 TGI-EGM Colombia study.  Within this survey, there were 12,514 survey respondents between the ages of 12 to 64 years old.  Of these people, 76% of them said that they have consumed coffee within the past seven days.  The next chart show the breakdown by socio-economic level and age/sex groups.  At the household level, the consumption level was flat across the socio-economic level, but the personal consumption levels here show a decrease up the socio-economic scale (note: Level 6 is the highest and Level 2 is the lowest here).  

In the next chart, we show the locations at which the coffee drinkers have consumed coffee in the last 7 days.  The sum total of these percentages will add up to more than 100% because it is possible to have been to more than one place.  The home is the most frequent place, but even that is less than half the time.  

In the next chart, we show the various times of day during which coffee is consumed.  The most popular time period is breakfast in the morning, followed by the mid-afternoon coffee break.  

The presence of coffee in the daily lives of so many Colombians is no doubt due to its historical significance as a cash crop for the country.  In the mid-1970's, coffee accounted for more than half of the value of exports of Colombia.  In recent years, coffee consumption has not decreased around the world.  If anything, the world seems to be awash with gourmet coffee shops such as Starbucks.  However, the surprising thing is that coffee has not done well for Colombia and its share of export values has plummeted to 7% in 1995.

What happened here?  For one thing, overproduction within Colombia brought down prices amd created huge unsold oversupply, and thereby ruined many coffee farmers.  For another thing, the neoliberal globalization process has seen coffee buyers rush to other areas with cheaper prices such as Vietnam.

It is however doubtful that the global fortunes of the coffee business will affect how Colombians consume their national beverage.



(posted by Roland Soong on 1/24/2004)

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