Lightning Poll: 1 in 3 People in Germany Say They Drink Sustainable Coffee

This post summarizes Dalia’s Lightning Poll findings in Germany for consumer awareness on sustainability when purchasing coffee in preparation for a coffee industry event titled “Changing the Coffee Industry through Activism”, organized by Moyee Coffee and hosted at the Dalia office during the Berlin Coffee Festival.


Did you know that Germany is second only to the United States when it comes to importing coffee? We didn’t. More incredibly, coffee is the world’s 98th most-traded product, according to MIT’s Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC). Given that Germany imports US$3.5 billion annually, representing 11% of the global population in 2017, what coffee drinkers in Germany choose to purchase can make a difference in global supply chains. But what are people’s purchasing decisions for their coffee in Germany and did factors like “Third Wave”, “Specialty Coffee”, “Single Origin” matter? 

MIT’s Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC)

Source: MIT’s Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC)

To find out, we conducted a Lightning Poll of 1100 Germans over the September 28-29 weekend and asked one simple question to get a quick sense of general consumer awareness. We asked, “Think about your last cup of coffee. Do you know whether it was sustainably sourced?

Our general findings were that one in three people in Germany stated that their last coffee was sustainably sourced. This is true across almost all demographics, except individuals who were 46 years of age or above, where only 46% said no and 32% answered not sure. We had weighted quotas for age, gender, and education based on census data. 

germany sustainable coffee consumption 2019

Created with Infogram

Since sustainable coffee is often associated with trends that could range from Fairtrade coffee to Third Wave coffee interest in single origin beans, to direct trade, it is expected that people in urban areas, who have higher levels of education, and have disposable income, are the ones most likely to make these purchases. The data reflects this with 41% of people with a high education level and, separately, that 45% of people ages 26-35 stated that their coffee was sourced sustainably. 

dalia research coffee lightning poll

Dalia’s realtime dashboard for analyzing survey results.

This quick sample is meant to start a conversation for people in the coffee industry in Germany. Coffee activists and independent roasters can take this snapshot as a starting point to ask whether they would like to target the older populations (such as 46 and above), with an assumption that they may have equal or more disposable income as compared to millennials. Or, brands may decide that the 18-25 age group is worth engaging, with the assumption that they will yield a longer lifetime value (LTV).

We shared this finding with attendees at an event that we hosted during the Berlin Coffee Festival (Oct 1-6, 2019) called Changing the Coffee Industry through Activism, where Moyee launched its FairChain Coffee in Germany. At the event, presenters from a broad range of backgrounds discussed the challenges facing the coffee industry and how activism can address this. 

Johanna Mager, Expansion.Eco

Johanna Mager and Karry Schwettmann, Co-founders of Expansion.Eco welcome attendees to Moyee launch event

You can find out the event highlights in our summary blog post!