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Does coffee brew a longer work day?

We checked out the correlation between global caffeine consumption and hours worked - you might be surprised by what we found.
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Jordan Hale and Greg J. Smith, September 24, 2013 1:51:36 PM

Starting a day than with a cup of joe is about as good as it gets. Whether you’re slurping back a double double from Timmy’s in Moose Jaw, or sipping away at an artfully composed cappuccino in Montreal, coffee is undoubtedly a big part of Canadian life. This week, we decided to check out how our caffeine guzzling compares to the rest of the world. Then we compared that with the length of an average work week in those same countries. Do people who work longer hours actually consume more coffee like we think? Well, not quite. Here is what we found:

First things first, Canada is the undisputed coffee champion of North America! We drink (on average) 6.5 kg of coffee per year compared to our American (4.2) and Mexican (1.2) neighbours. We also work the least in the continent: the average work week for a Canadian is 32.9 hours. Americans work about 34.5 hours a week and in Mexico the average work week weighs in at a whopping 43 hours.

Related: Canada’s best jobs

Bouncing across the Atlantic to Europe reveals a complex blend of coffee drinking and labour patterns. In terms of coffee consumption, The Scandinavia’s lord over the region with Sweden (8.2 kg), Norway (9 kg) and Finland (an incredible 12 kg a year!) doubling many of their neighbours. Drinking less than 3kg a year, tea loving Brits are particularly uninterested in coffee. Citizens of Poland are even less concerned with coffee and only drink 2.4 kg a year. So with all of these caffeine quaffing tendencies noted, who works the hardest and least in Europe? The hardest working countries are Greece (an average of 39.1 hours a week), Russia (38.1) and Estonia (36.3)—and Greece is the only one of those countries with modest coffee consumption. Given their relative economic security while the rest of the continent was dangling at the edge of economic disaster during the Eurozone crisis, it is not surprising that, at just under 27 hours a week, Germany has the shortest work week in the region.

Related: The top single-serve coffee makers

Pan over to Asia Pacific and you’ll note that Japan and Australia have virtually identical working (~33 hours a week) and coffee drinking (~3 kg a year) habits, with nearby New Zealand logging more hours at the office and more caffeine consumption.

In surveying all of these countries it is clear that there is no definitive arithmetic in these matters. Some of the most protected and regulated workforces in the world are quite keen about their coffee—suggesting that compulsive espresso drinking might be just as much an indicator of affluence and leisure as a crutch for workaholic tendencies.

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