Cappuccino, the world’s favourite coffee drink?

Coffeeness, a German website dedicated to ‘all things coffee’, conducted a Google search volumes analysis for 21 coffee types over the past 12 months to uncover the most popular coffee drinks worldwide for 2024. The results are interesting as well as perplexing given the supposed ‘preferred’ drink in the countries on the list, so I admit to being a bit skeptical — a searched term does not necessarily translate to a purchase. So, per the study based on ‘searched’ coffee terms, the recently released results revealed that cappuccino is world’s favourite coffee drink, followed by espresso, black coffee, americano and mocha.

The Coffeeness study reported that “cappuccino is easily the most popular coffee drink in the world,” and is preferred by 24 countries, including Albania, Austria, France, Kenya, Spain, Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands. (Fun fact: the word “cappuccino” is an Italian term derived from the word cappuccino meaning “hood.” The friars and nuns of the Capuchin order wore hoods of a similar colour, hence the name cappuccino, meaning “small hood.”)

The second most popular coffee drink, according to the survey, is espresso. Coffeeness found it to be preferred in 14 countries globally, including Canada, Pakistan, Germany, Iceland, Greece, Egypt and the United States. (Fun fact: the name is derived from the Italian word esprimere which means “squeeze out.” Apparently, the name stuck because the drink is quickly made on the spot at the customer’s request.)

My skepticism arose after reading the countries where cappuccino and espresso rank as the most popular. I’m shocked that Italy is not on the list for either cappuccino or espresso, and yet, espresso ranks as the most popular drink in the United States? “Espresso-based” or “espresso-blended” I can see, but I find it hard to believe ‘pure espresso’ is the top drink in the US (whether purchased in coffee shops or prepared at home) but fails to make the list in Italy.

Black coffee, according to the Coffeeness study, took third place and is the most popular coffee drink in 12 countries, including Bulgaria, Israel, Jordan, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.

The Americano is most popular in 10 countries, including Argentina, Costa Rica, Italy, South Korea and Uruguay. It is also popular in South America. (Fun fact: An americano is made by mixing an espresso shot with some hot water for a smoother, less intense cup of coffee. The drink was reportedly made famous during World War II, when American soldiers stationed in Italy would mix Italian espresso shots with water. They did this to get coffee that was similar to what they were used to.)

Per the study, mocha is the most popular choice in six countries: Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Japan, Mauritius, New Zealand and Vietnam. I am surprised that in Vietnam, the most popular drink is not Vietnamese coffee, which, served hot or cold has ample condensed milk in it.

Latte, Irish coffee, flat white, macchiato and iced coffee tied for the sixth spot. According to Coffeeness, they are all popular in four countries spanning Asia, Europe, South America and the United States.

Latte is popular in Brazil, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Irish coffee is popular in Finland, Ireland (of course), Norway and Sweden. Irish coffee is not a coffee drink sold in typical coffee shops, rather in restaurants and bars as it an alcoholic beverage: coffee spiked with whiskey, sweetened with some sugar and has whipped cream on the top.

Flat white (coffee made by mixing two espresso shots with steamed milk, without adding any froth on top) is popular in the Czech Republic, Qatar, Poland and Denmark. It originated in Australia and New Zealand but has gained popularity in Europe and the Middle East.

Espresso macchiato is popular in Honduras, Australia, Albania and the United Kingdom. It is a sort of cross between espresso and cappuccino, as the espresso macchiato has a coffee-to-milk ratio of 1:2

Iced coffee – not cold brew coffee – is the preferred drink in Nicaragua, Chile, Norway and the Philippines.

Cortado, frappuccino and Turkish coffee came in at the bottom of the list, each being popular in less than three countries. According to Coffeeness, these coffee drinks are so low on the list because they are mainly associated with certain destinations and have not yet been widely embraced by the rest of the world.

I’m not sure how valid or accurate the study is given that it is based on ‘Google search volumes analysis’ and not actually based on consumer purchases whether in a coffee shop, retail store or online. Review the full study here and feel free to share your thoughts on the survey.

For now, I’m off to prepare some coffee via my French press!

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3 responses to “Cappuccino, the world’s favourite coffee drink?”

  1. Costel says:

    I live in Italy and, I can say that many of the barista here don’t even know how to make an americano… so this rank is completely bollox for me…
    Ok maybe they know it in big cities… and recently a little bit… maybe in cities like Milan could be the 4th in the list, after espresso, macchiato, cappuccino, americano …
    but if you go in the south will not even make the top 10 coffee-drinks, they will kick out the bar right away…

  2. Haha would be my comment. I would love to set a critique of the research methodology underpinning this study for my students. We have lots of data sources on actual coffee preferences as ordered in coffee shops around the world – it would be far more interesting to speculate on why the distribution of search terms is so different from these (assuming that this data is actually correct).

  3. ljhon says:

    I love the artistry of a well-made cappuccino! The perfect foam swirl is almost too pretty to drink (almost).

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