Caffeine Nation: Zagat 2014 Coffee Survey Results

By Carolyn Alburger  |  February 24, 2014

Despite conflicting evidence about coffee's benefits for your body, its consumption in America shows no sign of slowing down. Our 2014 coffee survey polled upward of 1,500 Zagat readers, finding that most people who drink coffee drink it every single day - and it's not just one cup of joe. That daily dose is actually 2.3 cups, on average. But we went much deeper into coffee-drinking habits. For instance: is $3 too much to spend on a simple cup of joe? Is it ok to hang out at a coffee shop all day long? And is decaf really déclassé? These answers and more can be found in the 2014 Zagat Coffee Survey Results, listed out by the numbers, below. 

  • Credit: Flickr/Robert Banh

    More than two cups a day is perfectly normal. 

    We worship at the altar of our coffee shops every day, treating that morning cup of caffeine like a sacred, not-to-be-missed ritual. And similar to last year, java-drinkers are still knocking back over two cups per day (2.3, to be exact) and you're not taking any of this decaf, half-caf business: 90% of our survey takers prefer fully-caffeinated joe. 

    How often do you consume coffee drinks? 
    Every day: 87%
    A few times a week: 10%
    A few times a month: 2%
    A few times a year: 1%

  • Credit: Flickr/goincase

    Nobody likes spending more than $3 for a daily buzz.

    Coffee prices may be exploding, and to offset coffee's daily assault on your wallet, 32% of you make your own coffee drinks at home or work. Those who do buy it out report spending $3.05, on average, for their coffee drink of choice. And while you'll pay a smidge over $3 to get your coffee buzz on, your breaking point for a cup of regular drip is $3.17, on average. Naturally, most people will shell out more for an espresso-based beverage like a latte or cappuccino. The general consensus is that $4.92 is too much to pay for a special barista-made drink. Now, while the price of a Starbucks grande latte may fall in step, your local independent roaster may have more trouble keeping prices in check. 

  • Credit: Flickr/cloughridge

    A little over half of you admit that you're addicted to coffee. 

    Coffee is a $30 billion dollar industry in America, so it's not surprising that 55% of our survey takers say they're addicted to their daily jolt. Interestingly, a deeper dive shows that women are more likely than men to be self-proclaimed coffee addicts (61% vs. 49%, respectively). Regardless, most coffee drinkers aren't showing any signs of quitting any time soon.

    Have you ever tried to quit coffee?
    Yes, tried but failed: 5%
    Yes, for fixed period (e.g. pregnancy, Lent, etc.): 23%
    Only tried to cut back: 18%
    Not yet, but I plan to: 0%
    Nope: 54%

  • Credit: Flickr/AngieChung

    Black coffee rules the day.

    Despite the proliferation of sweeteners, syrups, milk substitutes and sugary coffee gimmicks out there, you're not buying it. 30% of our survey takers drink black coffee. For those of you that like some dairy, half-and-half is the most popular choice, with 26% of you favoring it over all of the other options out there. Furthering the point that we're still purists at heart, raw sugar is the most popular sweetener, but Splenda is gaining on it at a close second. 

    What's your favorite coffee-drink sweetener?
    Sugar (raw): 15%
    Splenda: 10%
    Sugar (white): 8%
    Simple syrup: 4%
    Sweet'N Low 3%
    Stevia: 2%
    Agave nectar: 1%
    Equal: 1%
    Truvia: 1%
    Other: 4%
    I don't use sweetener: 51%

    What do you typically put in your coffee?
    Half-and-half: 26%
    Skim milk: 15%
    Whole milk: 13%
    2% milk: 11%
    Creamer: 10%
    Soy milk: 6%
    1% milk: 6%
    Almond milk: 5%
    Other: 6%
    None of the above: 30%

  • Credit: Flickr/Bryant Scannell

    Most people don't really care where there beans come from. 

    Perhaps you've heard about the very expensive Kopi Luwak, aka toddy cat poop coffee? And you've no doubt witnessed the terms "Third Wave," "single-origin" and "Chemex" tossed around like the worst kind of name dropping. Well, it seems that the trendiness isn't really sinking in, as less than half (40%) of our survey takers feel it's very important to know where coffee beans come from. That said, a closer look into the data shows that men are more likely than women (46% vs. 35%, respectively) to care about this aspect.

    How important is it that you (percentage that feels that factor is "extremely/very important"):

    Know where the beans come from: 40%
    The coffee is fair-trade: 39%
    The beans are roasted in-house: 29%
    The beans are single-origin: 11%
    The coffee is certified organic: 10%

  • Credit: Flickr/Luke Shoemaker

    Tipping is customary. Lingering is fine. 

    There's a tip jar in almost every coffee shop in America, but only 24% of you regularly make an offering to baristas. Looking across the regions, surveyors in the Northeast tip baristas less regularly than those in the Midwest, South or West (22% vs. 26%, 28% and 30%, respectively). Coffee drinkers in their 40s are more likely to tip than those in younger and older age groups.

    And although Americans aren't overly generous coffee-shop tippers, we definitely feel entitled to take our sweet time while sipping inside. Just about one in four survey takers felt that he or she should be able to hang out in a coffee shop indefinitely, while 18% of you felt that staying for more than two hours is over-staying your welcome. 

    How long is too long to hang out at a coffee shop?
    15 minutes: 11%
    30 minutes: 11%
    45 minutes: 11%
    One hour: 13%
    One-and-a-half hours 13%
    More than two hours: 18%
    You should be able to hang out indefinitely: 23%

    Do you tip baristas?
    Yes, always: 24%
    Yes, if I order a complicated drink: 10%
    Yes if he/she is notably friendly: 24%
    No, it's not necessary: 27%
    No, I don't drink barista-prepared coffee: 15%