Prague ranks fifth for ‘coffee obsession’ – beating out rival capitals Berlin and Vienna

A new ranking brews up some surprising numbers about coffee consumption in the Czech capital and around the world.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 15.07.2021 12:21 (updated on 15.07.2021)

While Prague has long had a reputation for beer consumption, it is also one of the leaders in coffee, and has a long history of café culture.

A recent survey tracking the most “coffee obsessed” capital cities put Prague in fifth place worldwide as well as in Europe, which dominated the top of the chart. Some 40 cities were listed in the ranking.

The most-obsessed capital was Amsterdam, followed by Dublin. Bern and Paris tied for third place. Oddly, Bratislava, the capital of neighboring Slovakia and formerly part of Czechoslovakia, came in near the bottom of the list at 35th place. Willemstad, Curacao, was last.

The concept of “coffee obsessed” is a bit fuzzy, unlike the straight-forward beer consumption per capita, where the Czech Republic has long been the world leader. The latter ranking simply takes beer sales and divides it by population.

Coffee promotion site Brewsmartly looked at three weighted factors in determining the level of obsession: the average customer ratings of coffee shops, the number of such shops per 100,000 people, and import value of coffee per capita.

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“As a city that even holds its own coffee festival, Prague is full of caffeine aficionados that treat going to a coffee shop as a social experience,” Brewsmartly stated.

The import value per capita, at $57.98, was the lowest was the lowest of the top five cities. The number of coffee shops, though, was 77 per 100,000 people, putting it in sixth in the top 10, and their weighted Yelp ratings of 3.96 out of five was the fourth-best. This gave Prague an overall score of 7.17 out of 10.

The high score isn’t totally our of left field. While pubs and beer do get the majority of attention, travel writers for years have been point out the renewal of interest in coffee culture in Prague since the 1990s. Before the communist era, there was a rich café culture, but it dwindled a bit after 1948 due to not only the scarcity and price of coffee, but also the notion that cafés were snobbishly upper class while pubs were for the common working person.

In the Brewsmartly ranking, Amsterdam had 116 coffee shops per 100,000 people, though the term coffee shop there is sometimes used rather loosely. The import value of coffee per person was $220.44, and the average rating was 4.03. “Whilst the Dutch like to brew their own coffee at home … coffee shops are the real stars. People of various ages visit these stores in Amsterdam to sip coffee, unwind after work, and spend the evening chatting with friends,” Brewsmartly stated.

How do you prefer coffee in a café?

Black 37 %
Black with a sweetener 3 %
Dairy or alternative milk 20 %
Any type of milk and a sweetener 6 %
A cappuccino, latte or other fancy drink 34 %
95 readers voted on this poll. Voting is open

Vienna and Berlin are both very heavily linked to coffee culture. But Berlin tied with Hong Kong for 11th place and Vienna was a disappointing 15th place. Worldwide, coffee with whipped cream on top is called Viennese coffee. Since 2011, Viennese Coffee House Culture has been listed as Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, and is described as a place “where time and space are consumed, but only the coffee is found on the bill.”

Places with small populations can often skew the results of a chart. Pago Pago, the capital of American Samoa, tied with Copenhagen for eighth place. One factor was the Pacific island city’s whopping 256 cafes per 100,000 people. But the population of Pago Pago is a mere 3,500 people – so in reality there are about 10 places serving coffee, mostly catering to tourists on their way to see the rain forest.

The shops in Pago Pago ranked fairly well, at 4.31, which was the highest out of the top 10. Cafes in 13th-ranked George Town in the Cayman Islands were best-ranked on the overall list, coming in at 4.41.

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