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

10 Travel Destinations for Post-Pandemic Life

Excited to get back to travelling the world? This infographic highlights the 10 most popular tourist destinations.

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10 Travel Destinations for Post-Pandemic Life

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization formally classified the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic. The resulting travel bans decimated the tourism industry, and international air travel initially fell by as much as 98%.

Almost two years later, travel is finally back on the table, though there are many restrictions to consider. Regardless, a survey conducted in September 2021 found that, as things revert to normalcy, 82% of Americans are looking forward to international travel more than anything else.

To give inspiration for your next vacation (whenever that may be), this infographic lists the 10 most visited countries in 2019, as well as three of their top attractions according to Google Maps.

Bon Voyage

Here were the 10 most popular travel destinations in 2019, measured by their number of international arrivals.

CountryNumber of international arrivals in 2019 (millions)
🇫🇷 France*90.0
🇪🇸 Spain83.5
🇺🇸 U.S.79.3
🇨🇳 China65.7
🇮🇹 Italy64.5
🇹🇷 Turkey51.2
🇲🇽 Mexico45.0
🇹🇭 Thailand39.8
🇩🇪 Germany39.6
🇬🇧 United Kingdom39.4

*Estimate | Source: World Bank

France was the most popular travel destination by a significant margin, and it’s easy to see why. The country is home to many of the world’s most renowned sights, including the Arc de Triomphe and Louvre Museum.

The Arc de Triomphe was built in the early 1800s, and honors those who died in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. In 1944, Allied soldiers marched through the monument after Paris was liberated from the Nazis.

The Louvre Museum, on the other hand, is often recognized by its giant glass pyramid. The museum houses over 480,000 works of art, including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

Art isn’t the only thing that France has to offer. The country has a reputation for culinary excellence, and is home to 632 Michelin-starred restaurants, the most out of any country. Japan comes in at second, with 413.

While You’re There…

After seeing the sights in Paris, you may want to consider a visit to Spain. The country is the southern neighbor of France and is known for its beautiful villages and beaches.

One of its most impressive sights is the Sagrada Familia, a massive 440,000 square feet church which began construction in 1882, and is still being worked on today (139 years in the making). The video below shows the structure’s striking evolution.

At a height of 172 meters, the Sagrada Familia is approximately 52 stories tall.

Another popular spot is Ibiza, an island off the coast of Spain that is famous for its robust nightlife scene. The island is frequently mentioned in pop culture—Netflix released an adventure/romance movie titled Ibiza in 2018, and the remix of Mike Posner’s song I Took a Pill in Ibiza has over 1.4 billion views on YouTube.

Beaches Galore

If you’re looking for something outside of Europe, consider Mexico or Thailand, which are the 7th and 8th most popular travel destinations. Both offer hot weather and an abundance of white sand beaches.

If you need even more convincing, check out these links:

Expect Turbulence

Under normal circumstances, hundreds of billions of dollars are spent each year by international tourists. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTCC), this spending accounted for an impressive 10.4% of global GDP in 2019.

Travel restrictions introduced in 2020 dealt a serious blow to the industry, reducing its share of global GDP to 5.5%, and wiping out an estimated 62 million jobs. While the WTCC believes these jobs could return by 2022, the emerging Omicron variant has already prompted many countries to tighten restrictions once again.

To avoid headaches in the future, make sure you fully understand the rules and restrictions of where you’re heading.

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Misc

Which Values Children Should Be Encouraged to Learn, By Country

Which qualities do people think are most important for children to learn? The answer differs from country to country.

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Qualities Children Should Learn

Many of the values we prioritize as adults were instilled in us during our childhood days.

They’re called our formative years for a reason—from when we’re born up until we’re about eight years old, our brains are easily molded and remain highly sensitive to external influences and environments. But depending on where you grew up, you may have been exposed to different values during your childhood compared to someone from another place.

These visualizations by Anders Sundell illustrate the most important values people think children should learn at home, across more than 80 different countries.

Methodology

Sundell used data from the World Values Survey, an international survey that interviews hundreds of thousands of participants from across the globe. Respondents were asked to pick up to five qualities they believe are the most desirable for children to have:

  • Good manners
  • Independence
  • Hard work
  • Feeling of responsibility
  • Imagination
  • Tolerance and respect for other people
  • Thrift, saving money
  • Determination and perseverance
  • Religious faith
  • Unselfishness
  • Obedience

Sundell took the survey data and calculated the proportion of people in each country that selected each quality. From there, he took the top qualities and created three separate plot graphs to show the contrast between them.

Let’s look at the importance that countries placed on different values, including (1) independence and obedience, (2) unselfishness and religious faith, and (3) hard work and imagination.

1. Independence vs Obedience

Nordic countries value independence greatly, and find obedience to be a less important quality to instill in children.

Independence_vs_Obedience

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Other available data also supports that adults in Nordic countries value independence. According to Eurostat, the most common age to leave home in Sweden is between 17 and 18—nearly a decade sooner than the average age across the EU (26 years old).

Denmark’s average age to leave home is also below the European average, at 21 years old.

On the other end of the spectrum, countries like Iraq and Egypt believe obedience is much more important for children to learn.

2. Unselfishness vs Religious Faith

Bangladesh, Egypt, and Jordan all place a strong emphasis on faith, and fall on the far right of this graph.

unselfishness_versus_faith

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Islam is a strong influence in all three of these countries. In Bangladesh and Jordan, it’s the official state religion. And while Egypt is a secular country, a majority of citizens identify as Muslim—about 90% of the population.

Interestingly, places like the U.S. and Hong Kong fall right in the between, placing relatively equal importance on religion and unselfishness.

3. Hard Work vs Imagination

Left-leaning Nordic countries like Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland think imagination is more important for children to learn than hard work.

Hardwork_versus_imagination

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Interestingly, Japan also scored high for imagination, seeing it was a more important value to teach children than hard work. This is despite the fact that the country has an international reputation for being a hardworking country, where even taking an extended vacation can be frowned upon. Then again, Japan has a reputation for producing wildly creative works of art that are popular internationally (anime, for instance).

As expected, countries and cultures contain multitudes, and can often seem paradoxical and complex to those who try to codify them.

What qualities do you think are most important, and what countries surprised you with their placements?

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