The National Coffee Assoc. of U.S.A. Inc. (NCA) has released its 2000 National Coffee Drinking Trends survey, which shows coffee consumption around the country has hit a record high. Daily consumption grew most among 18- to 24-year-olds, jumping from 23% just in '99 to 25% last year. In addition, the study found out-of-home consumption grew from the 34% posted in 1999 to 39%, but that statistic could be changing in the near future.

With the faltering economy, some fear the $5 white-chocolate mochaccino purchased at the local coffeehouse may go the way of the dinosaur. Espresso-based and iced or cold coffee sales have jumped 10% since 1997, according to the NCA, so the effect on the coffee industry could be enormous. However, the result may not be a decline in consumption but an increase in coffee consumption outside the well-known but often pricey coffeehouses.

As part of an effort to expand beyond the carbonated beverage category, Coca-Cola is already making moves to hit this potential market by purchasing P.J. Bean, maker of roasted coffee and ready-to-drink bottled coffees under the Planet Java brand. Coke aims to expand Planet Java across the country and will increase the number of flavors available. Add Pepsi's bottled coffee efforts with Frappuccino (its joint venture with Starbucks), and the days of the coffeehouse boom could well be numbered.

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