Coffee Survey: How Long Can Americans Go Without Coffee Or Alcohol?

At Craft Coffee Spot, we surveyed 4,000 Americans to determine how long people can go without coffee and alcohol. We also asked related questions on how much people would pay for a cup of coffee, and the primary way people brew coffee at home. 

The interesting results are in our infographics below. 

Crave culture infographic v3 to fit screen. US coffee survey results of 4,000 people with state statistics on coffee.

We’ll break down the data further through this article, and contact us for further discussion.

Background and Methodology

Coffee and alcohol are two important beverages to people across the United States. We have found that 66% of Americans drink coffee daily. We decided to expand on that research and learn how important coffee is. For an idea of the relative importance, we compared desires with another common beverage, alcohol.

This survey covers 4,000 respondents of 18 years or older. We screened out respondents who were not coffee or alcohol drinkers.

Crave Culture: How Long Can People Go Without Coffee Or Alcohol?

The survey showed the average American can go 11 days without a cup of coffee. The survey also revealed that coffee consumption habits vary by state. Idahoans can go the longest without coffee, averaging 20 days, while New Hampshire residents can only make it two days without their java fix. On the other hand, when it comes to alcohol, Alaskans can go almost a whole month before they need an alcoholic beverage, while Virginians can only make it 11 days.

infographic showing how long people will go without coffee in the US

Here are the five states where residents can go the LONGEST without a cup of coffee:

  1. Idaho: 20 days
  2. Nevada: 19 days
  3. Wisconsin: 17 days
  4. Arizona: 16 days
  5. Alabama: 15 days

Here are the five states where residents can go the SHORTEST without a cup of coffee:

  1. New Hampshire: 2 days
  2. Alaska: 2 days
  3. Hawaii: 2 days
  4. Maine: 3 days
  5. Connecticut: 6 days

When it comes to alcohol, our dependency is only slightly less. The average alcohol drinker can only go 20 days before they need a drink. People will go nearly three weeks before they have to drink alcohol again. However, this is nearly double the duration that people will wait for coffee. 

infographic showing how long people will go without alcohol by state

The difference between coffee and alcohol may not be surprising given that coffee can be consumed more easily than alcohol. However, the data spread is also a little surprising given there are more bars than coffee shops in the US – about 70,000 bars compared to 38,400 coffee shops. 

By state, the alcohol data varies when compared to the coffee data. When it comes to alcohol, Alaskans can go almost a whole month before they need an alcoholic beverage, while Virginians can only make it 11 days.

Here are the five states where residents can go the LONGEST without alcohol:

  1. Alaska: 29 days
  2. New Hampshire: 29 days
  3. Maine: 29 days
  4. Oregon: 29 days
  5. Wyoming: 29 days

Here are the five states where residents can go the SHORTEST without alcohol:

  1. Virginia: 11 days
  2. Utah: 11 days
  3. South Dakota: 11 days
  4. North Dakota: 11 days
  5. Montana: 11 days

Our survey choices only went up to 30 days, which likely limited the duration people were willing to select. 

Interestingly, we did not find a single state where people would go longer without coffee than alcohol. Several states had the same days to go without coffee or alcohol (Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Idaho, and Virginia). In all other states, Americans want caffeine more than booze. Again, this may reflect the ease of drinking coffee in daily habits. We did not further panel survey respondents on this topic.

Also, our data may understate the length of time people can go without alcohol because our survey choices only went up to 30 days, which ended up as the average for several states. That means there could be a greater desire to have coffee over alcohol than we allowed respondents to say.

How Much Will People Pay For A Cup Of Coffee?

We also asked respondents about the maximum price they would be willing to pay for their favorite cup of coffee. The average consumer is willing to pay up to $5.57 for just one cup. This represents 16.7% of the average hourly wage in the US, based on latest Census Bureau data

Our survey price suggests Americans are willing to pay about 14% higher than the average, as the average price of a cup of coffee is $4.90 based on NPD data. Said differently, our respondents’ answers were close to what they pay at a coffee shop.

Cost of Coffee In The US: average versus survey on most people are willing to pay

The narrow gap may suggest pricing for coffee shops is reaching a limit. Recent inflation and economic uncertainty could have pushed the price and willingness to pay near parity. Also, this study included people who drink coffee at home, where the cost of coffee is significantly cheaper. This leads to our next topic.

How Do People Brew Coffee At Home?

Finally, the survey asked for respondents’ primary way of making coffee at home. Given the changes in brewing methods and “home baristas” we wanted to see how popular new method would be.

We received the following breakdown of responses. 

  • 41% of respondents use a pod coffee machine
  • 39% use a drip coffee maker
  • 13% use an espresso machine
  • 7% use pour over coffee. 
Survey of how people brew coffee at home

Traditional brewing methods like single-serve coffee pod machines and drip coffee pots still dominate the at-home coffee market, with most Americans preferring these methods to start their day with coffee.

Although there has been significant growth in both pour over coffee and espresso machines, these are only 20% of the market for home brewing. 

Pod machines have also grown over time, including brands like Nespresso and Keurig. In our prior research, we found the single-serve pod market was $16b annually. The single-serve coffee market has grown recently, with Keurig reaching a large share of the US market. The traditional coffee pot is likely losing share to various brewing methods.

What’s Next For US Coffee Consumption?

Coffee is clearly a special beverage for Americans, judging by how long coffee drinkers can go and their willingness to pay for a cup of coffee. While the specialty coffee market and newer brewing methods (like espresso and pour over) are both growing, these are still a small portion of the market. 

We look forward to running more surveys in the future and sharing how the coffee market is evolving.

Please contact us at info@craftcoffeespot.com to further discuss the data. We are happy to share the infographics if contacted directly.

Photo of author
Marko Lazarevic
Marko is the editor behind Craft Coffee Spot. He tests everything behind the articles and owns a dozen espresso machines and burr grinders, not to mention countless brewing devices (don’t ask where it's all stored). He also roasts coffee on a Behmor2000. He’s been going down the specialty coffee rabbit hole since starting Craft Coffee Spot and has no plan to stop. 
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