coffee.jpgWe were at a friends house over the weekend for a BBQ and after a day of drinking and playing volleyball in their pool I made what turned out to be a dumb request. I asked for a cup of coffee.

The couple looked at my husband and me like we were crazy and proudly announced, “we don’t drink coffee.”

I asked, “you don’t have any in your house?”

“No, we don’t even buy it,” the wife chimed in.

Feeling I was bordering on being rude, I decided to drop the matter. But I sat there in silence wondering how any adult could survive without coffee. I get bypassing it on the weekend, but what about during your workweek? The couple were both hard workers. “How the heck did they get through a day?” I thought to myself. Was I the only one who desperately needed it to survive the daily grind?

Clearly the expected battle of coffees between Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonalds and Starbucks shows many of you out there are also in my boat; and statistics show many of you may be worse off than me.

A survey sponsored by Alterra Coffee Roasters earlier this year found that:

* 65 percent of office workers drink coffee when at work – and couldn’t perform much of
their jobs without this favored beverage.

* 38 percent of coffee-drinking office workers couldn’t even get through one workday without

* More than one in five office workers admit the quality of their work would suffer if they didn’t have coffee.

* One-third have made important work-related decisions while downing a cup of Joe.

* 30 percent of office workers who drink coffee do so mainly because it helps them focus and get more
done, and 24 percent drink coffee mostly because it’s their wakeup call.

* 62 percent think coffee would be more effective than soda or milk in keeping their colleagues sane if they were trapped in their
workplace for a week.

And it turns out, there are certain professions that drink more coffee than others. According to an employee survey by Dunkin’ Donuts and CareerBuilder put out last year, the jobs that need it the most include:

* Nurses
* Physicians
* Hotel workers
* Designers/Architects
* Financial/Insurance sales representatives
* Food preparers
* Engineers
* Teachers
* Marketing/Public Relations professionals
* Scientists
* Machine operators
* Government workers

It’s more than just downing the stuff that we like, found the Alterra study. We also like gathering around the coffee maker.

* Close to three in four office workers observe that people in their workplace are more likely to interact with each other
around a coffee maker than a water cooler.

* Two in five coffee drinkers who work in an office have had interesting or helpful
talks with colleagues or bosses while near the coffee maker.

Thank goodness managers haven’t really caught on yet in the United States when it comes to workers taking lots of coffee breaks. In Australia businesses think employees going java crazy and taking more breaks for the brown stuff than they used to do for smoking.

An Australian publication reported: “Queensland Chamber of Commerce president David Goodwin said employees taking an unreasonable number of breaks from work would only hurt themselves. With an average coffee break lasting at least 10 minutes compared to a five-minute [smoke] break, businesses are at risk of losing an hour of productivity per caffeine addict in their office.”

Adding to U.S. worker coffee down time, is we like to head out of the office to coffee shops to pick up java.

* Over three in five have developed the habit of buying coffee outside of the office during the workweek,
spending an average of $14 a week on this outside-sourced brew. Over half purchase at least $10 of coffee from a
shop, deli or café each workweek.

And the good news is, Dunkin’ Donuts expansion following going public will potentially drive down prices, according to the Wall Street Journal today.

Though Dunkin’ doesn’t have the same level of brand recognition as McDonald’s or Starbucks Corp., the company also hasn’t penetrated the western U.S. or other parts of the country as deeply, giving it more opportunity to expand. And it’s there that it hopes to give both rivals a run for their money among caffeine cravers.

OK, I’m typically inclined to go to Starbucks when I don’t make coffee myself, but Dunkin’ Donut does in a pinch?

What about you? Is it all about price or flavor. The WSJ article says Dunkin’s costs about $1.95, McDonalds, $1, and Startbucks is $2.25.

Wow, the anti-coffee couple is saving a lot of money. I guess that’s how they were able to afford that pool; even if they’re not drinking iced coffee while they lounge around it.

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