Company Updates

Instacart Spills the Tea About Consumers’ New Coffee Rituals



Sep 22, 2020

For many people, that first cup of coffee not only provides a much-needed caffeine rush to get the mind sharp, but it’s also an important part of our morning ritual. And now with so many people working from home and changing up their daily routines, the way we drink coffee has also evolved, and possibly for the better. Insights from Instacart show that although Americans might be slowing things down and drinking less coffee this year, they’re spending more to create an elevated craft coffee experience.

Here’s the tea on the latest coffee trends brewing up…

No commute = less coffee needed
Instacart Insights show that people are drinking less coffee now than they did pre-pandemic, with coffee sales down 6% and espresso down 11% year-over-year. For those who’ve cut down on long commutes, school drop-offs, and may not have to rush as much in the morning, one cup of coffee might be all it takes to get the day started.

Cut the caffeine, please
Before the March stay-at-home order was issued to many Americans, decaf coffee and caffeine-free tea products were down 6% compared to 2019, but then quickly accelerated by 46% as soon as people were encouraged to stay home. Since then, sales for decaffeinated products continue to surpass 2019 levels.

“This year has been especially stressful and taxing for many, so it’s interesting to see sales for decaffeinated products surging compared to previous years,” said Laurentia Romaniuk, Instacart’s Senior Product Manager and Trends Expert.

“In particular, the mid-March inflection point is interesting and leads me to believe that people were turning to decaf to reduce extra anxiety. As we head into this year’s unusual election season, we could expect to see another critical moment where decaffeinated products surge as folks look for ways to keep their jitters at bay.”

Doing as the French do
With more time to slow down, many people are fine-tuning their barista chops and investing in tools to create a craft coffee experience at home. Instacart Insights show that searches for “French press,” a popular brewing device, have surpassed 2019 levels with recent data revealing that weekly searches are 210% higher than in 2019.

Taking the grind into our own hands
If you want to take your coffee ritual to the next level, coffee experts recommend purchasing whole beans and using a coffee grinder daily for the richest and freshest coffee flavor. Consumers have taken note, as searches for coffee grinders started to spike in late July and were recently up by 365% compared to last year.

Spending more, but drinking less
Further, with consumers perhaps sticking to just one cup of coffee, they are buying slightly more expensive and gourmet coffee products — with the overall price point increasing by 2% year-over-year.

Coffee vs. Tea: which U.S. cities drink the most?
To find out the buzzing truth about coffee and tea consumption in America, we looked at purchasing habits and uncovered some new grounds.

Here are the top five cities with the most coffee purchases per capita:

  1. Portland
  2. San Francisco
  3. Orlando
  4. Seattle
  5. Tampa

The west coast, famously known for its craft coffee consumption, includes three of the top five cities, with Portland leading the charge. In a surprise to many, Seattle, a city known for its prominent coffee culture and numerous coffeehouses, comes in at #4, following Orlando and preceding Tampa. The times they are a-changin’!

These top five cities are guil-tea for drinking the most tea per capita:

  1. Baltimore
  2. Riverside
  3. San Antonio
  4. Orlando
  5. Tampa

People in the southern part of the U.S. are drinking the most tea, with four out of the top five cities popping up in the nation’s sunbelt region. Not typically known for having a strong tea culture, it appears that Riverside, the heart of Southern California’s Inland Empire, just east of Los Angeles, is also steeping up its game.

It also can’t go unnoticed that Orlando and Tampa hold top five spots for cities drinking the most tea and coffee. Could a new coffee and tea culture soon be rising up in Florida to compete with the greats? Only the data, and time, will tell.

Stay caffeinated, friends!



Instacart is the leading grocery technology company in North America, partnering with more than 1,400 national, regional, and local retail banners to deliver from more than 80,000 stores across more than 14,000 cities in North America. To read more Instacart posts, you can browse the company blog or search by keyword using the search bar at the top of the page.

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