Coffee Is So Awesome It Has a National AND International Day of Celebration!

By Colleen Luckett

Every year, millions coffee lovers from around the world come together to celebrate their passionate love for anything related to a cup of joe. It’s a once-a-year event that’s renowned by major food and beverage retailers and various associations. Both days were created as awareness days designed to promote amazing coffee culture. Well, because we’re a little late on celebrations this year (both days have already passed—sorry!), let’s talk about the history behind and some of the coffee industry’s buzz surrounding them.

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What Is National Coffee Day?

National Coffee Day, celebrated annually on September 29, is promoted nationally within the US, as organized by the National Coffee Association (NCA). The official social media hashtag is #NationalCoffeeDay used by NCA channels on Twitter, Facebook, and its website. No-one knows for certain the original date of National Coffee Day, but bloggers point to either 2005 or 2009.

In celebration of this day, many big-name brands—such as Dunkin Donuts, Wawa, McDonald’s, and 7-Eleven, for example—typically give away free cups of coffee to help attract more clients to their particular convenience food and drink brand. Great way to create a little brand loyalty! This year, here’s a sampling of some of the deals ‘round town:

  • Dunkin’ Donuts: Any guest who purchases a hot coffee will get one free as a perfect gift to share with their favorite friends, family, colleagues and collaborators who also count on coffee to take on the day.

  • McDonald’s: $1 any size coffee or buy a medium or large McCafé® and get one for $0.01 Participating locations will also offer a small caramel macchiato, cappuccino, or Americano for $2 each.

  • Krispy Kreme: A free coffee beverage (any size and any kind) at participating locations — no purchase necessary. Plus, Krispy Kreme Rewards members receive a free doughnut with their coffee on this day.

  • 7-Eleven: free coffee with the purchase of a breakfast sandwich ($2 and up) at participating stores nationwide.

  • Wawa: Any-size, any-variety coffee for $1 at convenience stores across the country.

  • Dunn Brothers Coffee: A free small cup of coffee (no purchase required).

Other coffee shops opted for a donation to community organizations:

  • Caribou Coffee: For every cup of Amy’s Blend coffee purchased on National Coffee Day, Caribou will donate a coffee to caregivers and family members in cancer centers across America.

  • Peets Coffee & Tea: For every pound of beans sold in Peet’s coffee will donate $1.00 USD to its Farmer’s Assistance charity, TechnoServe, a non-profit organization that raises incomes and quality of life for coffee farmers. 

Starbucks decided to stay away from giving out free coffees and instead spotlighted raising the big bucks to help support the greater coffee industry: “We’re focused on providing continued assistance to help Puerto Rico recover following the devastation of Hurricane Maria one year ago, where the coffee industry was decimated. We are donating 2 million coffee seeds to help rebuild. The Starbucks Foundation and EFI Foundation (our licensee partner in Puerto Rico) are also giving a three-year $583,000 grant to World Coffee Research to improve seed quality and growing practices on the island. Additionally, we just announced a commitment of up to $20 million towards an Emergency Relief to support smallholder farmers that are impacted by the coffee price crisis in Central America.”

What Is International Coffee Day?

International Coffee Day is promoted globally around the world on October 1, with its origins coming from the International Coffee Organization (ICO), the international body that represents many foreign countries. The official social media hashtag is #InternationalCoffeeDay used by ICO channels: TwitterFacebook, its blog and official website page.

During the ICO meeting in March of 2014 held at the ICO headquarters, in London, England, the council proposed an International Coffee Day. The proposal was put forward by the Private Sector Consultative Board (PSCB) of the organization. The 77 Member States of the ICO then discussed this idea during the meeting and put it to a vote. The proposal was passed and ICO member countries agreed to celebrate International Coffee Day annually on the October 1 date, starting in 2015, instead of each country having a unique day. This would help to create uniformity in the marketing awareness campaign.

For International Coffee Day, here are some common ways people celebrate around the world:

  • Many coffee shops also offer a free cup of coffee.

  • People eat coffee or coffee-flavored food and beverages the whole day long. How about a coffee flavored yogurt for lunch and ending the day with coffee-crusted steak and a coffee-flavored cake for dessert? Yum!

  • Coffee brings friends together, so lots of people set up coffee dates with friends and spend quality time with them over a cup of coffee.

  • Some folks join a coffee tasting event and learn about the art and science of growing and brewing coffee.

  • Many try new flavors and types of coffee on this day.

So, whichever day you decide to celebrate (or both!), we’ve prepared you long in advance now – you have a whole year to plan for National Coffee Day or International Coffee Day in 2019! How will you celebrate next year? Drop us a comment about it below!

Perry LuckettComment