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The Most Popular Drink and Drinks in the World: Tea, Coffee and More

Biggest Tea Drinking Countries

We drink more water than anything else. That’s a quick and boring answer to the question posed in the title of this article. But what happens when you take water out of the equation, what is the most popular drink around the world and what types of tea, coffee and soda lead the way in their respective categories?

The Most Popular Drink in the World: Tea

Obviously we’re a little biased here on Healthy-Teas. We’re a tea site, so it’s clear which drink’s side we’re on. But believe it or not, tea actually does take the number 1 spot on the list of the world’s most popular drinks. That is, providing you don’t include water.

Or rather it does if you ask the right people. We’ve checked through a lot of data, a lot of news reports and a number of articles just like this one. It seems like 80% of them claim the answer is tea, while the other 20%, including some very respected publications, claim that coffee is the number 1.

So why the discrepancy?

Well, we can’t quite put our finger on it. If we look at the data gathered by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations then there are more cups of tea consumed everyday than there are cups of coffee. The problem is that many of these studies cover smaller areas and even single countries and some of them are commissioned by the coffee industry, which means they’re always going to lean towards coffee.

In any case, it’s wrong. Coffee might not be as popular in the US as tea but it has a fraction of the popularity of India and China and both of those countries prefer tea, and by quite some distance.

In fact, in the United States soda is consumed at a rate of nearly 2 cups for every 1 cup of coffee, although that number has dropped significantly over the last few decades.

The Most Popular Types of Tea in the World

Black tea is the most popular tea in the world, with most of the tea harvested every year being used to make it. Demand has been on the increase over the last few years as developing nations increasingly turn to importing the drink while developed nations see it as a healthier option.

Earl Grey, which is a variety of black tea flavored with bergamot oil, is one of the most consistently popular types of black tea, while tea blends made from combinations of African and Asian teas account for the main bulk of the market share.

Most Popular Tea in the US

Even though it doesn’t come close to beating coffee, tea is growing in popularity in the United States and can be found in 8 out of every 10 households. The vast majority of the tea consumed in the US is black tea, which is either consumed hot or cold in the form of iced tea. Only 1 in every 10 cups of tea consumed are made from green tea, with other forms of tea taking a significantly smaller share of the market.

Most Popular Tea in China

Oolong seems to be the most popular type of tea in China, where there is more of an emphasis on the lighter flavored teas than on the full-strength black teas commonly favored in other countries. However, that’s not to say that they don’t enjoy their black tea, because they definitely do and it’s still consumed in large amounts in China.

Most Popular Tea in the UK

In the United Kingdom, a big tea drinking nation, English Breakfast tea, which is a very strong type of black tea, is the most popular type of tea. Nearly 2 cups of this specific type are consumed for every 1 cup of green tea. Earl Grey is also popular, while fruit tea, peppermint tea and camomile are all drunk more than decaf black tea.

Biggest Tea Drinking Countries in the World

Biggest Coffee Drinking Countries

If you go by total amount of tea consumed, then China is the biggest tea drinking nation. But they are at a clear advantage because they have the largest population on earth. If you focus on consumption per capita instead then its a different story with Paraguay sitting at the top of the list by quite a distance.

Azerbaijan, Ireland, the UK and Russia make up the rest of the top 5, while the US are not even in the top 30 and China only just make it into the top 20.

Popular Coffees and Big Coffee Drinking Countries

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the most popular types of tea—we are a tea site after all—so let’s shift to focus to coffee. First, the biggest coffee drinking countries.

The Biggest Coffee Consumers Worldwide

Paraguay were a surprise inclusion at the top of the list for tea drinkers, and you may be just as surprised to know that Finland are at the top for coffee drinkers on a per capita basis. In fact all of Scandinavia is coffee obsessed, with Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland all joining Finland in the top ten.

The United Kingdom only just makes it into the top 50, although it is climbing up the ranks thanks to a current obsession with chains like Starbucks and Costa, and the US sits in 26th.

The Most Popular Type of Coffee in the World

There are only two types of coffee bean commonly sold worldwide: Arabica and Robusta. Arabica is preferred and is often used in premium brews, but Robusta is used in instant coffee and is cheaper. You would expect Robusta to sell more because of this, but shortages in recent years and an increased demand for Arabica (which stems from the fact that more customers now actively seek the higher quality bean) means that it outsells Robusta by two to one.

As for popular types of coffee Espresso is consistently popular and on a per serving basis is easily one of the most popular, something that has been helped by Starbucks customers regularly adding multiple servings to large coffees, as well as the fact that countries like Italy prefer it over any other type.