While attempting to find out what the top 10 coffee brands are, I discovered a problem. I can’t seem to find any data more recent than the end of 2008, and I can’t tell if this data is reflecting global sales or if it’s US-centric. There are those that will argue that the majority of real coffee drinkers are in the US, but after having been around the world, literally, I can’t agree. Perhaps it’s true in overall volume, but not in percentage.
The Top 10 Coffee Brands
Here are the top 10 coffee brands as reported by the press:
1. Folgers: $419.0 million in sales. Folgers is by far the largest selling coffee brand with a market share of 21.60 percent. Maybe Folgers coffee really is the best part of waking up.
2. Maxwell House: $283.7 million in sales. The second largest coffee brand, with a market share of 14.62 percent, Maxwell House was first created in 1892 at a Nashville, Tennessee hotel, the Maxwell House Hotel.
3. Starbucks: $189.2 million in sales. Although Starbucks is the largest coffeehouse company in the world, it’s the third largest overall coffee brand in the U.S. with a 9.75 percent market share.
4. Folgers Coffeehouse: $127.9 million in sales. An offshoot of the main Folgers brand, the Folgers Coffeehouse series is a gourmet branded coffee. The Folgers Coffeehouse line, a Proctor & Gamble brand, has a market share of 6.59 percent.
5. Maxwell House Master Blend: $77.5 million in sales. This gourmet spin-off of the Maxwell brand is part of the Kraft Foods family, and has a market share of 3.99 percent.
6. Chock full o’Nuts: $44.1 million in sales. The brand started as a New York store in 1932 and evolved into the sixth largest coffee brand with a 2.27 percent market share.
7. Millstone: $43.5 million in sales. Millstone, with 2.24 percent of the market, was a private coffee brand until Proctor & Gamble purchased it in 1996.
8. Seattle’s Best: $42.8 million in sales. In addition to roasting and distributing coffee, the private company also has stores serving coffee throughout the U.S. and Canada. Seattle’s Best has a market share of 2.21 percent. Seattle’s Best has been a subsidiary of Starbucks since 2003.
9. Eight O’Clock: $38.5 million in sales. The brand, with a 1.98 percent market share, was owned by The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company until 2003 when A&P sold it to an investment firm, creating the Eight O’Clock Coffee Company.
10. Yuban: $37.4 million in sales. This brand, part of Kraft Foods, promotes itself as being environmentally friendly by helping protect the environment and wildlife in coffee growing regions. Yuban has a market share of 1.93 percent.
Missing from the List
The above list comes as no surprise to me. The top selling brands of coffee are also the brands of the companies that advertise their coffee the most. A day doesn’t go by without a TV or radio commercial being broadcast about Folgers and Maxwell House. To be honest, I haven’t even tried half of the brands on the list and frankly, I don’t intend to try them.
I’m sure there are other good coffee brands (but not necessarily the best coffee brands) that just didn’t make it into the top ten, but I can’t find any information publicized for them in the press. Those that sell primarily iced coffee (in a can or bottle) or primarily instant coffee wouldn’t make it into any list, I’m sure.
Update October 26, 2012
I originally wrote this in March of 2010 and after searching longer than I wanted to today, I still couldn’t find anything that listed things differently.