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A Brew-tiful Morning: Coffee Consumption Changed During The Pandemic

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Today is National Coffee Day and in Pittsburgh, it should almost be a holiday.

The new 2021 WalletHub ranking of coffee-loving cities puts Pittsburgh at number five in the country.

That doesn't surprise Jordan Nicholas who's family has been roasting the beans at Nicholas Coffee for more than a century.

"I just think it came ingrained in the culture and you know a lot of probably European immigration to here and obviously the Europeans love coffee," he says. "I just think it was passed down through generations."

A National Coffee Association Survey says 60% of us prefer coffee as our beverage of choice and 85% of respondents have their first cup at home.

But we don't stop there.

Three cups are the average coffee consumption among coffee drinkers.

Nicholas says he has plenty of regulars.

"Some people come in multiple times a day," he says.

While the pandemic cut "workplace" coffee consumption by 55%, Nicholas says there was actually a positive impact as well.

"They were consuming more coffee at home than before," he explains. "Where it was a cup of coffee before, they started going through a pound of coffee a week."

That has been reflected in his online sales.

The NCA's survey says about 40% of us tried new coffees during the pandemic, 33% tried replicating our favorite drink at home and 25% bought a new way to make coffee at home.

WATCH: The Benefits Of Your Morning Coffee

From a health standpoint Nutritionist Leslie Bonci says, "People don't really understand what is in this cup, that may indeed confer some benefits."

Bonci says there are phytochemicals and plant nutrients in coffee that rival fruits and vegetables (she says don't stop eating your fruits and vegetables) and the medicinal value?

"May have a role to play in decreasing the risk of stroke, decreasing the risk of heart disease, decreasing the risk of type two diabetes, decreasing the risk of liver cancer, decreasing the symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease. There's a lot of benefit to having coffee," Bonci says.

But before you guzzle a full pot she says to make sure it's the appropriate amount.

"Three to five, eight-ounce cups is really okay," But she says to watch out for the caffeine. "That guideline is also 400 milligrams a day, depending upon the size of your mug, you may do that in one, and then be done for the day."

Of course, so far we have only been talking about black coffee and Nicholas says, "Obviously it is pumpkin spice season right now and it is always huge and it starts in August."

Pumpkin spice and other lattes have become the drink of choice these days which prompts Bonci to throw a calorie napkin on the play.

"You do need to plan appropriately and if you're starting your day with dessert in a cup, maybe you're not necessarily having dessert with your dinner," she says.

Nicholas says if you want the latte but not as many calories ask your barista to go light on the syrup. And if you're looking for something different without the calories Nicholas says flavored ice coffees are becoming more popular.

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