The History of Coffee in Canada

For a number of years, coffee consumption in Canada has been among the highest in the world, particularly among adults, exceeding that of tea, milk, beer or even fruit juices.

More than 70% of Canadians report drinking at least one cup of coffee on a typical day, and according to a 2010 Ipsos-Reid study, they would drink almost 3 cups a day on average.

The beginnings of the Canadian coffee culture

Historians claim that it was a man nicknamed Captain John Smith who introduced coffee to northern America, although others claim coffee existed long before that. Captain John Smith was born in 1580.

As coffee consumption increased and its popularity grew with the establishment of the Canadian nation, coffeehouses and a coffee culture emerged that had almost entirely European roots.

Coffee, alcohol and other drinks were offered in the coffee shops. They also mostly offered lodging services and quickly became a place to do business.

As Canada developed, coffee became a national drink, although coffee is not grown in Canada, due in part to Canada’s famous climate.

Canadian coffee culture

The turnover of the coffee industry in Canada in 2019 was around 6 billion dollars. It is the most consumed drink in this country.

The National Coffee Association found that over 72% of adults drank coffee daily in 2018, and that number has risen to nearly 88% in recent years. Of that percentage, more than 60% brew their coffee at home.

Most Canadians prefer drip coffee, but espresso drinks are also growing in popularity.

Canadian culture in general can be traced back to the extremely cold climate in almost all parts of the country, which can be as cold as -40 °C for a few months. And this is probably also the reason for the high proportion of coffee consumption. In 2015, a study by Euromonitor ranked Canada 1st out of 80 countries in per capita coffee consumption.

The coffee industry has developed enormously, in Canada there are many coffee shops of different quality, including:

Tim Horton’s

Tim Horton’s is a national coffee brand and its residents’ favorite coffee shop, where you can find a wide range of coffee and coffee-making equipment.

The coffee chain was founded in 1964 by Tim Horton and Jim Charade in Hamilton, Ontario. This brand mainly specializes in coffee, donuts and pastries. You can also find flavored coffee, soups, snacks, muffins, and cookies in the stores.

Most typical are the timbits, small, bite-sized donuts of various shapes and flavors, topped with various toppings or powdered sugar. There’s a take-out version that costs about $2-$4 and holds up to 20 of them.

Coffee time

Another Canadian coffee and snack chain based in Scarborough, Ontario. She operates more than 100 stores across Canada. Coffee time serves a variety of coffees accompanied by other specialty beverages, baked goods, sandwiches and deli soups.

Coffee time was founded in 1982 by Tom Michalopoulos in Bolton, Ontario. The first stores operated under franchise license agreements.

Williams Fresh Coffee

One of the most popular coffee shop and/or restaurant chains in the city of Ontario, with 31 locations, it is also one of the most popular in the country. The chain was founded in 1993 as the Williams Coffee Pub in Stratford, Ontario by Bill and George Giannakopoulos. The chain offers both counter and table service.


The Starbucks Corporation, the most popular coffee house chain in the world, cannot be missing here. With over 1500 coffee shops across the country, it’s very popular with Canadians enjoying every type of coffee, tea and pretty much every type of food you can get in a coffee shop.

Starbucks came to Canada in 1987 in the city of Vancouver.

A Canadian national drink?

Although not yet declared as such, there is a special coffee: a “latte” with maple syrup.

To prepare this drink you will need:

  • 1 cup of your favorite coffee or your preferred type of coffee
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons 100% real n maple syrup
  • Milk to taste.
  • Big coffee mug
  • Microwave oven
  • A spoon

Now prepare your coffee:

  1. Brew a cup of your favorite coffee like you normally do
  2. Heat the maple syrup in the microwave, this takes about 10-15 seconds
  3. Pour the coffee over the maple syrup. Stir until the maple syrup is well dissolved in the infusion.
  4. Then add as much milk as you like.

It is not recommended to add sugar to the preparation, since maple syrup itself is very sugary.

Consumption trends in Canada

Canada is one of the largest coffee consumers in the world, such that a 2015 Euromonitor study ranked Canada #1 in the world (out of 80 countries) in per capita coffee consumption.

In other bulletins such as Statista’s Consumer Market Outlook, Bulletin 2020 and Average Per Capita Consumption in Kilograms, Canada is in the top 15 in the ranking of countries where more coffee is consumed in the world.

Canada is in 4th place with an average per capita consumption of 5.5 kilograms. It is thus below countries such as Norway with 6.6 kilograms of coffee, Sweden with 7.6 kilograms of coffee and, in first place, the Netherlands with 8.3 kilograms of coffee per year.

Canada’s best coffee shop

Although other coffeeshop brands have already been mentioned, local coffees are also very important and that’s why Canadians themselves rate Incognito Coffee.

Location: 843 Seymour St Atrium of the VSO School of Music, Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 3L4 Canada.

With a prime location in the heart of Vancouver, they offer everything from coffee, tea, smoothies, sandwiches, salads, pastries and more! You can find pretty much anything you could want here. The owners Robert and Chanel have made it their mission to offer their customers the best possible service. Carefully selected coffee specialties make you want your filter coffee, because it’s delicious!

Which group drinks the most coffee in Canada?

Coffee consumption in Canada is highest among adults between the ages of 18 and 24, averaging 2.4 cups per day. This is followed by the 25 to 34-year old’s (2.2 cups per day) and the 35 to 44-year old’s (1.9 cups per day). Consumption is lowest among those aged 45 to 54 (1.5 cups per day) and those over 55 (1.4 cups per day).

Canadians aged 18-24 also drink specialty coffees like lattes and cappuccinos the most: 36% say they do it every day. This is followed by the 25 to 34-year old’s (34%) and the 35 to 44-year old’s (30%). The age group that drinks specialty coffee the least are those aged 45 to 54 (21%) and those aged 55 and over (19%).

When it comes to decaffeinated coffee, Canadians over the age of 55 are the most likely to drink it: 21% say they drink it daily. This is followed by the 45 to 54-year old’s (17%), the 35 to 44-year old’s (16%), the 25 to 34-year old’s (14%) and the 18 to 24-year old’s (12%).

The popularity of coffee

There are a few reasons Canadian coffee brands are so popular. First, the quality of Canadian coffee is generally very good.

Second, Canada’s coffee beans are generally roasted longer than roasted beans from other countries, resulting in a richer and fuller flavor.

Finally, many Canadian coffee companies are using sustainable methods, which appeals to environmentally conscious consumers.

Coffee imports to Canada

Most coffee in Canada is sourced from indirect traders who buy coffee from other large companies.

Canadian imports of green non-decaffeinated coffee reached 167,000 tons in 2003, according to an article by the international consulting firm Trade Center entitled Canada’s Coffee. It notes that coffee consumption has risen sharply, making it the drink of choice for consumers.

About 31% of coffee destined for Canada comes from Colombia, followed by Brazil (22%), Guatemala (13%), Peru (6%) and Costa Rica (4%). These countries are the main producers of Coffea Arabica bean, and Canada has been defined as the country of choice for consuming this type of coffee.


It is interesting to learn about the history and culture of coffee in Canada, especially as Canada is one of the main coffee consuming countries and that coffee is to a large extent part of their culture, even if its history does not go back as far as other countries.

I hope you learned more about coffee and Canada. We’ll see you on the next trip.