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Coffee vs Tea vs Soft Drinks: What Caffeine Drinks Do Countries Prefer?

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Coffee vs Tea vs Soft Drinks: Caffeinated Drink Popularity

Coffee, tea, or soft drinks… How do you get your caffeine fix?

It might be the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive substance, but your preferred caffeine drink of choice might come down to where you live.

A study into caffeine consumption of 57 countries examined the role it plays in our diets, using the volume sales of caffeine-containing beverages from Euromonitor to see what caffeine source each country prefers.

The resulting map of caffeine preference shows regional trends, including some surprising standouts.

Most Purchased Caffeine Drink By Country

There are many different caffeine drinks for consumers to choose from, from brewed drinks to ready-to-drink vending machine options.

To simplify tastes, we grouped them into three types:

  • Coffee — Includes fresh brewed coffee, instant coffee, and ready-to-drink coffee.
  • Tea — Includes herbal, black, green, and other teas, as well as ready-to-drink tea.
  • Soft Drinks — Includes colas, other soft drinks, sports drinks, and energy drinks.

Here’s the full breakdown of each country’s preferred caffeine drink of choice, by volume sales.

CountryRegionMost Purchased Caffeine Drinks
KenyaAfricaTea
NigeriaAfricaSoft Drinks
South AfricaAfricaSoft Drinks
ChinaAsiaTea
Hong KongAsiaTea
IndiaAsiaTea
IndonesiaAsiaTea
IsraelAsiaSoft Drinks
JapanAsiaTea
MalaysiaAsiaTea
PhilippinesAsiaSoft Drinks
South KoreaAsiaCoffee
TaiwanAsiaTea
ThailandAsiaSoft Drinks
VietnamAsiaTea
AustriaEuropeSoft Drinks
BelgiumEuropeSoft Drinks
Bosnia-HerzegovinaEuropeCoffee
BulgariaEuropeSoft Drinks
CroatiaEuropeSoft Drinks
DenmarkEuropeCoffee
EstoniaEuropeCoffee
FinlandEuropeCoffee
FranceEuropeCoffee
GeorgiaEuropeCoffee
GermanyEuropeCoffee
GreeceEuropeCoffee
HungaryEuropeSoft Drinks
IrelandEuropeTea
ItalyEuropeSoft Drinks
LatviaEuropeTea
NetherlandsEuropeCoffee
NorwayEuropeCoffee
PolandEuropeCoffee
PortugalEuropeSoft Drinks
RomaniaEuropeSoft Drinks
SloveniaEuropeCoffee
SpainEuropeSoft Drinks
SwedenEuropeCoffee
SwitzerlandEuropeSoft Drinks
TurkeyEuropeTea
UKEuropeTea
CanadaNorth AmericaCoffee
Costa RicaNorth AmericaCoffee
Dominican RepublicNorth AmericaCoffee
GuatemalaNorth AmericaSoft Drinks
MexicoNorth AmericaSoft Drinks
U.S.North AmericaSoft Drinks
AustraliaOceaniaSoft Drinks
New ZealandOceaniaTea
ArgentinaSouth AmericaSoft Drinks
BoliviaSouth AmericaSoft Drinks
BrazilSouth AmericaCoffee
ChileSouth AmericaSoft Drinks
ColombiaSouth AmericaSoft Drinks
UruguaySouth AmericaSoft Drinks
VenezuelaSouth AmericaSoft Drinks

Examining the regional spread shows us some expected caffeine strongholds.

Tea was the preferred drink of choice for many countries in most of Asia, including China, India, Indonesia, and Japan. But it also showed a strong foothold in Africa, as Kenya is the world’s largest black tea exporter, and in Europe, as Turkey, Ireland, and the UK are the world’s top three tea-consuming countries per capita.

Coffee was the most preferred caffeine drink in a number of countries in Europe, including all of the Nordic countries. It is also the drink of choice in Canada, South Korea, and Brazil, the latter two being the only countries in Asia and South America to prefer coffee.

Perhaps most surprising is the global preference for soft drinks. The U.S. and most of Latin America overwhelmingly consumed soft drinks over other caffeine drinks, as did the Philippines, Thailand, and Australia. Even in Europe, some countries that are heavy coffee drinkers like Italy and Switzerland purchased more soft drinks than coffee by narrow margins.

Coke’s Influence on the Coffee vs Tea vs Soft Drinks Debate

Though the global map of caffeine preference looks regionally-specific at a glance, there are some notable business influences at play.

The proliferation of soft drinks in Latin America is largely due to the power of Coca-Cola. Mexico, the country which preferred soft drinks the most over other drinks, is also the world’s biggest consumer of Coca-Cola per capita. Coca-Cola also reached far beyond the borders of the U.S. where it originated, becoming a staple drink in many parts of Europe, Australia, and Asia.

This power of brands extends to coffee as well. Many coffee-preferring countries actually leaned more towards instant coffee purchases over freshly brewed coffee, a mark of the lasting influence of Nestlé’s brand of instant coffee, Nescafé.

But it’s important to note that many countries were not tabulated, and that caffeine purchases don’t differentiate between every single possible caffeine drink. There are many different types of coffees, teas, soft drinks, and even yerba mate for consumers to choose from.

As a snapshot of global caffeine consumption, it’s a reminder that the world’s most commonly consumed psychoactive stimulant is taken in many different forms. Both throughout history, and in modern times.

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Commodities

Ranked: The Countries Most Dependent on Agricultural Exports

Which countries are most heavily dependent on agricultural exports to fuel their economies? We visualize the data in this chart.

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A cropped chart of countries whose agricultural products make up more than 75% of their exports, along with their top agricultural export.

Ranked: The Countries Most Dependent on Agricultural Exports

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Between 2019 and 2021, agricultural products accounted for more than one-third of the total value of global commodity exports. This graphic ranks the most agriculturally-export-dependent countries in the world, using data from UN Trade & Development (UNCTAD).

For this graphic we have only included countries where agricultural products represent more than 75% of its total exports. Resource dependency can make a country vulnerable to economic shocks via price fluctuations.

Ranked: Countries that Rely Heavily on Agricultural Exports

In Micronesia, a staggering 98% of all its exports are agricultural, of which 89% are fish in various forms. In fact, five of the top 10 countries are small island nations in the Pacific. Four of them also have fish as their top agricultural export.

Below is a more extensive list showing countries whose agricultural products make up more than 60% of their total exports. Also listed: their most-valued agriculture export in 2022, sourced from the Observatory of Economic Complexity.

RankCountry% of Merchandise
Exports From
Agriculture
Top Agricultural
Export (2022)
1🇫🇲 Micronesia98%🐟 Fish
2🇬🇼 Guinea-Bissau94%🌰 Cashew Nuts
3🇲🇼 Malawi93%🚬 Raw Tobacco
4🇸🇧 Solomon Islands89%🌲 Rough Wood
5🇲🇻 Maldives88%🐟 Fish
6🇻🇺 Vanuatu86%🐟 Fish
7🇰🇮 Kiribati84%🐟 Fish
8🇹🇴 Tonga82%🐟 Fish
9🇺🇾 Uruguay79%🐄 Bovine Meat
10🇪🇹 Ethiopia77%☕ Coffee
11🇳🇿 New Zealand77%🥛 Milk
12🇦🇷 Argentina76%🌱 Soybean Meal
13🇬🇲 Gambia75%🥜 Groundnuts
14🇧🇿 Belize75%🍬 Sugar
15🇼🇸 Samoa69%🥥 Coconut Oil
16🇵🇾 Paraguay68%🌱 Soybeans
17🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire67%🍫 Cocoa Beans
18🇸🇴 Somalia67%🐑 Sheep & Goats
19🇦🇫 Afghanistan65%☁️ Raw Cotton
20🇸🇾 Syria63%🫒 Pure Olive Oil
21🇸🇩 Sudan62%🌿 Sesame Seeds
22🇧🇯 Benin61%☁️ Raw Cotton
23🇨🇫 Central African Republic60%🌲 Rough Wood

Maldives, in the Indian ocean, is also within the top 10. Its top agricultural export is also fish. Interestingly, the Observatory of Economic Complexity states “Planes, Helicopters, and Spacecraft” as Maldives’ top overall export in 2022 ($433M). However, it’s possible that this might be a case of re-exportation.

Aside from fish, various kinds of nuts and edible oils are also popular categories of agricultural exports.

Regionally, these agricultural-export-dependent countries are spread between Asia, Oceania, Africa, and South America. Europe and North America are not represented in this list.

There are also correlations between resource export dependency and economic maturity. The UN found that 67% of the world’s developing nations were resource-export-dependent in some way: between agriculture, energy, and mining.

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