Coffee snobs exposed: we are secretly drinking instant

Graphic: Jamie Brown
Graphic: Jamie Brown 

Australians might be world leaders in ducking out for a café latte and spending up on home coffee machines but at home we secretly crack open the instant stuff.

Despite our coffee snobbery, a Euromonitor International market analysis claimed 75 per cent of the coffee we drink at home is instant coffee and not the brewed in fancy pod or espresso kind.

That's 29,709 kilograms of dry instant coffee sipped in homes. 

Australians and New Zealanders spent $32 per capita on instant coffee for the year in 2013, the report says. Australians consumed 0.7 kilograms of coffee in 2013 and New Zealanders, 0.6 kilograms.

Before we get righteously indignant on our coffee credentials, the report also claims that Australasia is ‘’first in the world in terms of per capita spending in specialist coffee shops’’ which include the likes of McCafe, Gloria Jeans and Jamaica Blue.

Secret stash: Australians are bigger fans of instant coffee than we let on.
Secret stash: Australians are bigger fans of instant coffee than we let on. Photo: Natalie Boog

But the mantle for the most spending in cafes per capita goes to Greece with Australia ranked seventh in the world.

Restaurants, cafes, specialty coffee shops and other outlets that sold coffee bought 36,282 tonnes of dry volume fresh coffee in 2013.

Our home instant coffee consumption also appears to be slowly waning. In 2010, 80 per cent of the coffee we drank at home was instant.


The report attributes our instant coffee drinking to our colonial heritage, saying we are traditionally a nation of tea drinkers and instant coffee thrives in Commonwealth countries.

We ''tea drinkers'' drank about $1 billion in instant coffee, it states, and the global instant coffee market is about $31 billion.

The figures include instant coffee mixers and some instant coffee drunk in workplace kitchens.

Nescafe has just over half the instant coffee market the report titled, Hot Drinks: Instant Coffee - Versatility and Convenience, states.

Euromonitor International predicts the Australasia in-home fresh coffee market will make up 97 per cent of the overall retail growth in coffee consumption at home between 2013 and 2018. Instant coffee is only expected to increase marginally over this time.

Americans are however not interested in instant coffee. Figures have barely moved over the last six years and fell marginally last year to just over $960 million.

In Eastern Europe, instant coffee makes up over 50 per cent of retail brewed coffee consumption and in Western Europe it is more than 25 per cent. Together they make up 40 per cent of the world’s instant coffee drinkers.