Coffee culture: Will Nigerians drink coffee like others?

Ayodele Christopher Oniku (Department of Business Administration, University of Lagos Faculty of Business Administration, Akoka Yaba, Nigeria)
Olamide Akintimehin (Marketing Department, Lagos Business School, Victoria Island, Nigeria)

Journal of Humanities and Applied Social Sciences

ISSN: 2632-279X

Article publication date: 16 August 2021

Issue publication date: 8 June 2022




The purpose of this paper is to examine the coffee culture of citizens of Southern Nigeria. Specifically, different scales were developed to measure coffee culture among the citizens which cover health, socialisation, elitism, culture and commercialisation factors.


A quantitative approach was adopted for the study, and factor analysis was used to analyse the data collected through an online survey. As a result, EFA and CFA showed the test of sphericity and the different fit indexes.


The findings revealed the experiences of consumers and their disposition to coffee consumption to establish coffee culture among the citizens. Largely, the findings revealed that coffee culture is still very low among the citizens and the summation that coffee culture is still in infancy.


Given the importance of coffee culture in the larger world, and acceptance of coffee as a global social drink, the design of a scale that focussed on socialisation, health, elitism, culture and commercialisation factors help to robustly investigate the state of coffee culture among the citizens.



Oniku, A.C. and Akintimehin, O. (2022), "Coffee culture: Will Nigerians drink coffee like others?", Journal of Humanities and Applied Social Sciences, Vol. 4 No. 3, pp. 236-250.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Ayodele Christopher Oniku and Olamide Akintimehin.


Published in Journal of Humanities and Applied Social Sciences. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence maybe seen at


Even though coffee is the most popular legal drug across the world because of its pharmacological effects (Topik, 2009) the disposition of a larger percentage of Nigerians, especially from the southern part of the country, does not align with the claim and assertion. Living or growing up in this part of the country, as a Nigerian, exposes you to certain fables and incredulities about coffee consumption, and these have become premises that define coffee consumption among a larger percentage of indigenes. For instance, teenagers are first exposed to coffee in their secondary school days as an essential stimulant for reading towards the examination. In other words, students learn to consume coffee frequently during the examination period to keep awake to read at night. Secondly, coffee is equally used in religious circles as a stimulant for a night vigil or night prayer to keep awake. There are other unfounded and un-pharmacological reasons why coffee is not popular among citizens in the southern part of Nigeria. For instance, it can lead to anaemia and excessive consumption may result in mental illness.

The experience in the Northern part of the country is quite different, in that coffee consumption is very popular and well embraced among the citizens, and this may not be disconnected from the historical connection, affiliation and positive correlation of coffee with Islam (Topik, 2009; Crawford, 1852). Interestingly, the major cities and towns in the Northern part of the country are dotted with local cafés traditionally known as Mai Sai and they command huge patronage irrespective of time, season, or demographics. The operations of Mai Sai, though in its local and informal practice, may be compared to the business of café in Europe and North America characterised by ubiquity and variety of products. Likewise, to a certain extent, coffee patronage in Northern Nigeria shares the same semblance with North America and Europe in the areas of socialisation and relaxation.

Importantly, different publications and studies have shown that coffee is not a traditional Nigerian drink (Fitch Solutions, 2019; Financial Times, 2019; Newstex, 2019), but the global popularity and essence of consumption make coffee a global drink. This assertion has a stronghold in Southern Nigeria; hence, the study specifically focusses on coffee consumption among Southern Nigerians. Southern Nigeria shares certain social statistics in terms of education, Christianity, lifestyle and socialisation with Europe and North America; yet, coffee consumption is very low and selectively embraced among a handful of citizens. For instance, while Nigeria with nearly 200 million people consumes 836 tons of coffee, France with about one-third of that population consumed 366,000 tons in 2018 (EuroMonitor International, 2019); this reveals a huge gap in the market that needs to be studied to reveal the factors behind the development.

It is strategic to understand that in a market of nearly 200 million consumers in which the Southern part makes up nearly 50% of the market, and Nestle – an industry giant, as the only coffee manufacturer that produces only Nescafe instant coffee, and recently 3-in-1 coffee (a mild brand of a mixture of sugar, cream and coffee) to encourage and spur consumption portray a market of huge opportunity if attitude and disposition can be changed. Thus, it becomes pertinent to investigate and provide the answer to the question: Is coffee consumption a function of elitism, healthiness, socialisation or other factors? The study will clarify the state of coffee consumption and the factors that underpin the consumption behaviours of the citizens.

Literature review

Coffee: the social drug

Coffee is globally described as a social drug among consumers, especially in nations where it is well accepted as a drink, edible or dietary food. Historically, it originated from Africa, precisely Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) and thereof it spread to India, Armenia, the Middle East and other parts of the world (Crawford, 1852). The popularity and acceptance of coffee do not happen by chance, but its multi-characteristic potentials that cut across human’s social, political, medicinal, religious and recreational adventures consolidate it (Crawford, 1852; Casiglia et al., 1993; Gonzalez et al., 2020; Topik, 2009; Giesinger et al., 2015; De Blasio, 2007; Stroebaek, 2013). In other words, coffee is a universal drink for multipurpose needs.

To a certain category of consumers, coffee is a source of medical needs to fight depression, anxiety and other forms of mental challenges, and to a large extent, to reduce the incidence of dementia (Mirza et al., 2014; Giesinger et al., 2015; Karabudak et al., 2019). This singular medical role declassifies coffee as a drug that may lead to mental health challenges. In another category, coffee is popular among office workers and labourers as a stimulant to get work done and a source of energy. The stimulant effect of coffee happens to be one of the earlier purposes that accentuated its acceptance and popularity, and in today’s perception, it is synonymous with break time in many organisations across the world for refreshment, energy, socialisation and relaxation (Giesinger et al., 2015; Girish, 2007; Stroebaek, 2013; Samoggia et al., 2020).

The word “Black Medicine” was first ascribed to coffee as far back as 1600 when it was introduced to the European market. Giesinger et al. (2015) hint that Leonhart Rauwolff, a German physician, was the first to mention coffee in 1852 “on his return from Mesopotamia in search for herbal remedies” (p. 2). The medical benefits of coffee cover reduction of diabetes mellitus, Parkinson’s disease, lowering of liver enzymes, rectal cancer prevention, cardiovascular disease prevention, lowering of the suicidal rate and antioxidant effects of melanoidins on man’s health (Mirza, 2014; Casiglia et al., 1993; Corso and Benassi, 2015). Largely, the medicinal potentials of coffee have contributed tremendously to the acceptability and positive consumers’ product intention from its inception as an edible drink.

The relationship between coffee consumption and the elitist factor may vary from one society to another. While it is established that it was first known and consumed by herders in Abyssinia (Ethiopia), the acceptance in Europe started with physicians as a herbal substance in Germany, and its initial embrace among consumers in the UK started with academia in Oxford in 1637 (Topik, 2009). The inkling that coffee is elitist might still subsist in many societies where coffee is not popular, especially when its consumption is attached to a certain position, social class or a particular career or profession.

According to Lazaro, Makindara and Kilima (2008) in the work of OXFAM (2006), the challenges that the coffee industry may face in years ahead are premised on the awareness of changes in coffee consumers’ behaviours; understanding the standards that are developed to meet new consumers’ demands and compliance with any of the standards. The challenges speak loudly of the global picture of coffee consumption soon, and it may determine consumption in many countries, societies and among many consumers. Reflectively, the focus of the study is to determine the factors that affect coffee consumption among Nigerians in the southern part of the country that may be a pointer to future consumption patterns.

Coffee and healthy consumption

One of the potential attributes of coffee that have given it mixed feelings and a reaction from both existing consumers and admirers is the question of healthy consumption. While a set of consumers believe that it is a healthy drink with nutritional potentials to improve the health and wellbeing of drinkers, another set of people in the market believe that its consumption can worsen human health especially in the areas of cardiovascular, depression and related mental issues. In other words, the latter category of the market with negative perception adduces their rejection of coffee consumption to a health factor. According to Giacalone et al. (2016), food and beverage quality is determined based on sensory quality (taste and other sensory features), healthiness, convenience and product categories (e.g. organic or GMO). Caffeine is a major property of coffee that endears many people to its consumption; however, the same property causes avoidance of coffee consumption among would-be consumers because of certain information they are exposed to. However, the work of Kim and Kim (2018) stresses that the prevalence of depression among frequent coffee consumers is 32% lower than non-coffee consumers. Equally, noteworthy is that energy is the leading health reason for coffee because of the positive effects on improved alertness, higher mental and physical performance, i.e. improved body stimulation function and improved mood and emotions (Samoggia and Riedel, 2019; Samoggia et al., 2020). On the contrary, coffee consumption may lead to negative emotions which manifest in terms of worry, off-balance, annoyance, being grouchy, disgruntled and bored (Samoggia et al., 2020). Further studies reveal that coffee consumption has positive effects on liver enzymes, reduction of incidence of dementia and healthy diet (Topik, 2009; Casiglia et al., 1993).

Historically, it was associated with sports; hence, it was regarded as a sports medicine based on the belief that the caffeine component fuels energy. So, the earlier tribesmen in Africa, largely hunters depended on it for good performance. Also, the pharmacological effect was associated with the source of adrenalin among the Arabians which accentuated its acceptance first in Yemen before it spread across the Middle East and later associated with religious rituals (Topik, 2009; Tuchscherer, 2003). Thus, it is hypothesised that:


The expectation that coffee consumption will negatively affect consumers’ health may lead to less consumption.

Coffee culture and Nigerians

The rising of coffee culture across the world is equally gaining ground in many sub-Sahara African economies and this is changing the configuration of non-alcoholic beverages consumption among consumers. Although coffee was first discovered in Africa, the consumption is not popular and coffee consumption rank is far beneath other beverages like tea and chocolate drinks. It is not an understatement that coffee culture is at the embryonic stage in many sub-African markets. According to the euro Monitor report (2017), Cote d’Ivoire, Uganda and other African countries contribute 13% of the global supply of coffee, but the continent at large consumes more tea and cocoa beverages than coffee. Coffee Business Intelligence (CBI) (2016) states that coffee consumption grew in Nigeria by 20% between 2010 and 2015, and coffee consumption will rise to 1,000 tons from the present level of 836 tons by 2020. However, Nigeria’s consumption level at 0.005 kg per capita estimate is far lower when compared to non-coffee producing economies like Finland at 12 kg; Norway at 9 kg; Denmark at 8.7 kg and Switzerland at 7.9 kg based on per capita estimate (IOC, 2016). According to the IOC report, the USA is the largest consumer of coffee with 1.4 billion cups of coffee consumed daily at 4 kg per capita estimate, and France consumes, with just a third of the Nigerian population, 366,000 tons (CBI, 2016).

Coffee culture defines society by the entrenchment of coffee consumption, the frequency of coffee consumption among citizens, and the widespread of cafés in the system. This combination is a feat that is rare in sub-Saharan Africa, except for South Africa. Coffee culture provides elucidation on important characteristics of coffee in a society in terms of value perception among consumers (Kim et al., 2020), consumers’ preference and style (Wann et al., 2018; Giacalone et al., 2016; Calvo-Porral et al., 2018; Bissinger and Leufkens, 2017) and purchase intention (Chen and Lee, 2013; Corso and Benassi, 2015).

To increase coffee consumption and entrench the culture in African markets, certain economies have taken a bold step in this direction. For instance, Kenya has recently increased cafés with plans for chain outlets and Cameroon that happens to be one of the largest coffee suppliers in the continent started FestiCoffee in 2012 with the sole objective of promoting coffee culture among the citizens (Coffee Business Intelligence – CBI, 2017). In the same vein, the Ugandan government in 2016, through its agency named Ugandan Coffee Development Authority –UCDA and other relevant agencies in collaboration with Inspire Africa – a private initiative – established a local campaign to encourage local coffee consumption by serving over 20,000 cups of coffee in a week in Kampala. The target was to boost coffee consumption by 20% which would have tremendous positive effects on the economy (The Observer, 2016). Thus, it is hypothesised:


That coffee culture is foreign to Nigerians may not make consumers well-disposed to imbibe the culture.

Coffee and socialisation

The foremost attribute of coffee consumption that contributes to coffee culture growth is the sociability factor because it makes it possible for people to hold social, political and business discussions over cups of coffee. The act has steadily grown from the early days of coffee till the present time. According to history, the socialisation in cafés had both positive and negative effects on human socio-political development in that coffee houses provided opportunities for elites and aristocrat to meet and discuss issues that affected societies, and equally, it provided platforms for political activism, e.g. 1848 revolution in Berlin, Budapest and Venice (Topik, 2009). More so, in France, coffee houses served as the meeting point for the aristocrats, bourgeois, elite and further for the intellectuals and nobles in the society because coffee, unlike alcohol, “stimulated the body and cleared the mind” (p.93). In the Middle East, the assemblage in cafés or coffee houses was very strong even though it was forbidden by Islamic tenet. It served as the meeting point to entertain friends and non-family members without inviting people into homes. Cafés further served for hospitality, nightlife and political activism (Topik, 2009; Carlier, 1990).

Socialisation in contemporary times has not changed much from the early days of coffee consumption among people except the new dimensions on which sociability is being practiced. While political activism of the 18th and 19th century might not be the issue in the 21st century yet coffee maintains its potentials in bringing together people of like minds either at corporate, informal and leisure gatherings. The popularity and ritual of coffee in office settings and corporate meetings cannot be overemphasised in today’s business world, and it is done with the aims of entertainment, stimulant and energy source (Giesinger et al., 2015; Stroebaek, 2013; Karabudak et al., 2019; Samoggia and Riedel, 2019; Sinniah et al., 2018).

Socialisation is equally implied in the areas of relaxation, recreation and leisure among consumers – both frequent and occasional consumers, and the aim is to entertain and refresh to create bonds and to improve or build a friendship. More importantly, in many religion-sensitive societies and among consumers who avoid alcoholic drinks, coffee becomes the alternative to recreate and socialise and importantly to entertain (Shrum, 2012; Corso and Benassi, 2015; Karabudak et al., 2019; Samoggia and Riedel, 2019; Parenti et al., 2013; Sinniah et al., 2018; Ting et al., 2017). Another factor that popularises and affirms coffee sociability role is the varieties and different formulation or mixtures that are made available in cafés, which allow consumers to have different product choices, which eventually leads to brand loyalty and purchase intent (Parenti et al., 2013; Karabudak et al., 2019; Hwang and Kim, 2015; Deodhar and Pandey, 2008; Wann et al., 2018). Thus, it is hypothesised:


The sociability factor arising from coffee culture is not enough to garner sustainable patronage from Nigerian coffee consumers.

Coffee and elitism

At the early stage of the coffee adventure in the human race, especially outside Africa where coffee was discovered, the social drug was not for the common man. It was a drink that was popular among the elites in society across Europe. For instance, it was first embraced and popular among the academia in England which started in Oxford University in 1637 and it grew with capitalism across Europe (Topik, 2009; Perlin, 1994). Topik (2009) furthers that the opening cafés across the city of Paris were associated with elites who used the assemblage to prove superiority in the society, and the trend spread across countries like Turkey, Iran and Switzerland whose elites and capitalists were part of ardent coffee consumers. Thus, coffee in the early days was synonymous with aristocracy, capitalism, bourgeois, academic lifestyle and religious ceremonies in the case of Islamic nations (Topik, 1998).

Understanding modern elitist factors in coffee consumption do not rely solely on the content, aroma, nor availability in the market, but coffee is assessed from the prism of café ambience, the design of packaging and other marketing factors. Wann et al. (2018) affirm that café style and ambience, in terms of natural scenery, creative personality, architecture and local culture, go a long way in determining consumer attraction and patronage which ultimately spell out class factors. The case of the ambience of coffee shops is further stressed by Ferreira and Beuster (2019) where it is affirmed that the interior of cafés matters a lot to professionals and this, to a larger extent, determines the preference of coffee shops. The ambience is defined in terms of furniture, availability of Wi-Fi, quality of coffee, proximity, cleanliness, safety, comfortable seating and attractive spaces, and these tremendously affect consumers’ preferences, and further make coffee shops an integral part of “professional and working culture” (p. 78). The work of Giesinger et al. (2015) reveals the popularity of coffee consumption among professionals in the medical industry. The study ranks the frequency and volume of coffee consumption among medical professionals, with the orthopaedic surgeons and radiologists taking the lead and the anaesthetists are the least. Succinctly, many modern cafés target professional consumers like investment, legal, auditing and banking clients, and this informs the location and proximity of cafes to business centres or commercial areas of cities. The cafes further provide avenues for socialisation in terms of scheduled business meetings, free time breaks, relaxation and leisure after work.

In another analysis, the quality of coffee equally lends credence to the elitist factor in today’s buying decisions and behaviours of consumers in that the average consumer believes that the better the quality, the more superior the consumers attracted. In other words, specialty coffee shops offer high-quality coffee with differences alongside the ambience to attract high-profile customers. Importantly, quality is determined in terms of roasting machine, brewing, green coffee, coffee laboratory and flavour features in terms of chocolate, nut and low acidity (Giacalone et al., 2016; Ferreira and Beuster, 2019; Sinniah et al., 2018). Thus, it is hypothesised:


Coffee association with elitism and professional career will not allow certain consumers to embrace the coffee culture.

Coffee consumption and commercial factor

Price factor determines many issues in coffee consumption and patronage, and this makes pricing decision pivotal to both retailers and consumers. The fact is that coffee is somehow inelastic among ardent consumers and many organisations or retailers seize the opportunity to understand the behavioural decisions of such consumers and their willingness to pay a certain price for a cup of coffee. Equally, the product types determine the prices in the market. While certain consumers might be ready to pay lesser for instant coffee, another set is willing to pay a premium price for cappuccino, espresso, Americano or Latte. It is equally important to stress that Arabica beans are more expensive than Robusta, and black coffee is far cheaper than Macchiato and other specialty coffee, while fair trade and green coffee are far more expensive than other special deals like organic and decaffeinated (Kim and Kim, 2018; Wann et al., 2018; Cailleba and Casteran, 2010; Chen and Lee, 2013).

Besides, the nature and processing of coffee that influence the price, the ambience and café’s designs, retailer’s brand, packaging and branding elements ostensibly play vital roles in price determination based on strategic reasons like targeting, customisation, brand equity, segmentation, positioning and affordability (Corso and Benassi, 2015; Samoggia and Riedel, 2019; Sinniah et al., 2018; Kim et al., 2020; Bissinger and Leufkens, 2017; Rehm et al., 2020). Thus, all the factors determine consumers’ preferences and purchase intentions and inevitably command the price that the average consumer is willing or ready to part with for a cup of coffee. Thus, it is hypothesised that:


Coffee offering prices that are based on strategic decisions may not be a sufficient reason to attract many consumers.

Coffee culture and Nigerian economy

In reality, coffee consumption in Nigeria is still in its infancy. In fact, in many business meetings, business deals are celebrated with champagne and beer which is a sharp contrast to what happens in many countries’ corporate life. This is largely attributed to the low coffee culture in Nigeria, According to a Reuters report (2020), hot tea and cocoa drinks will account for 40% of non-alcoholic drinks in Nigeria by 2023, while coffee will be at 2.3%. The development shares the same picture with many African economies; even economies like Uganda, Cameroon and Kenya that are ranked among the continent larger suppliers of coffee but tea dominates non-alcoholic drink and this is a pointer to opportunities in the region regarding coffee culture growth.

According to Coffee Business Intelligence (CBI, 2020), Africa supplies 13% of the global output with countries like Cameroon, Uganda and, Ivory Coast playing a leading role in the continent, but Nigeria is not a big coffee producer with 2,100 tons of unroasted coffee in 2013. Nigeria production peaked around 1985/1986 with 6,000 tons annually, but later declined to as low as 1,000 tons in 1987/88; presently, the production is around 3,000 tons (Reuters, 2020).

Coffee consumption is presently on the rise in the economy, but it is still far lesser when compared with few other countries in Africa like Kenya and South Africa. Reuters’ (2019) report shows that while Nigeria’s retail value of coffee is less than $30m, Kenya is about $50m and South Africa is over $250m. Despite the lower record, evidence has shown that coffee consumption is rising in the economy, and this has further led to the opening of more retail outlets or cafés in certain cities in the southern part of the country, like Lagos and Port Harcourt, to serve the targeted consumers. Cafés are now found in shopping malls, business district areas and, certain highbrow areas in cities.

Importantly, the growing consumers are found especially among the younger generation who had once lived in Western countries or been exposed to Western culture and upwardly mobile youths who have embraced coffee as a non-alcoholic drink for socialising. One of the landmarks in recent years is the opening of Café Neo Coffee Shop in 2012 by two brothers Ngozi and Chijoke Dozie in one of the highbrow areas in Lagos Metropolis. Other cafés have sprung up in recent times like Happy Coffee, Vestar Coffee and Mai Shayi Coffee Café in Nigeria, to key into the growing consumers in the economy. Like CBI’s (2016) report, Euromonitor report (2017), further corroborates that coffee consumption grew in Nigeria by 20% between 2010 and 2015, and coffee consumption will increase to 1,000 tons by 2020. Yet, Kenya has done better than Nigeria in embracing coffee culture with the presence of many retailers/coffee shop chains like Art Café and Java House. The rising disposable income of the middle class has also contributed tremendously to the entrenchment of coffee culture in the economy.

Ethiopia has a different story compared to other African countries because it is recognised as the birthplace of coffee centuries ago. More so, the country is not only the largest producer in Africa but equally the largest consumer in Africa because it consumes nearly 50% of its coffee production locally. According to CBI, South Africa equally has a budding coffee culture and the consumption contributes about 2.8% of the annual growth of takeaway and fast-food sector, and the café experienced 7.1% of the income increase in the sector in 2014. This has made the economy one of the leading coffee-cultured societies in Africa.


This study specifically focusses on the coffee consumption of residents and indigenes of Southern Nigeria which used to be the southern protectorate of the colonial era and a largely Christian-dominated part of the country (Onapajo and Ozden, 2020). The northern parts of the country were not included in the study because studies have shown that Islam is associated with coffee consumption (Topik, 2009; Crawford, 1852; Karabudak et al., 2019).

The respondents to the questionnaire were professionals, students and educated elites in the society irrespective of gender, religion, marital status and ethnicity. The universities and polytechnics students on one hand and professionals in the society constituted a larger proportion of the respondents which covered 94.4% of the distribution. The professionals considered in the study spread across the academic, financial, health and manufacturing sectors. There was no specific category of coffee considered in the study. Rather, all categories of coffee like instant, organic, roasted, brew, green, etc. were auspiciously covered based on the fact that the market is not yet sophisticated and still in infancy. Equally, no specific coffee brand was considered in the study. While online administration of questionnaire was adopted, the targeted audiences were residents and indigenes of South of the country. The administration relied on office, school and personal emails, and a clause was inserted that respondents must be a resident and indigene of the southern part of Nigeria. The instrument was segmented into five parts – elitism/professional (Ferreira and Beuster, 2019; Sinniah et al., 2018; Giesinger et al., 2015), health (Giesinger et al., 2015; Casiglia et al., 1993; Kim and Kim, 2018), socialisation (Topik, 2009; Stroebaek, 2013; Calvo-Porral et al., 2018), coffee culture (Topik, 2009; Giesinger et al., 2015) and commercial (Samoggia and Riedel, 2019; Corso and Benassi, 2015).

Data analysis

The Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) is a methodology implemented to discover a comparatively wide variety of variables’ fundamental mechanisms. EFA was, therefore, adopted in this research to determine the fundamental constructs suitable for all measured variables. The researchers performed EFA with the varimax rotation as it is considered the best orthogonal rotation technique (Fabrigar et al., 1999). The Kaiser–Meyer–Olkin measure of sampling adequacy and Bartlett’s test of sphericity were also done to measure the appropriateness of the factor analysis data (Dziuban and Shirkey, 1974). Twenty-one (21) items were subjected to eigenvalues greater than one and were also considered for factor loading using varimax rotation. Also, before the structural equation modelling (SEM), the confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was carried out to investigate the goodness of fit and reliability level of the research model. CFA is further regarded to be the measurement model of the SEM because it is used to gauge the relations between construct measures, indicators and factors (Hoyle, 2011).

Presentation of data findings.

A total of 552 data responses were analysed using SPSS 25 software. The distribution of the study respondents is shown in Table 1. In terms of gender, most of our respondents are males (53.8%). In terms of age, most of our respondents are between 30 and 49years (55.1%). In terms of marital status, most of our respondents are single (54.2%). In terms of educational qualification, most of our respondents are HND/BSc holders (39.7%). In terms of employment status, most of our respondents are fully employed (66.1%). Most of our respondents take coffee occasionally (44.2%). Most of our respondents believe that the major purpose of coffee is as a stimulant (56.3%).

Exploratory factor analysis.

According to the EFA results (Table 2), the KMO measure of sampling adequacy was 0.905, Bartlett’s test of sphericity was significant at <0.01, the degree of freedom was 210, while the chi-square value was 4,903.594. These values indicated the suitability and adequacy of the research items. Although 21 items were subjected to eigenvalues and varimax rotation, one (1) item was eliminated from the commercial variable.

Confirmatory factor analysis.

CFA was conducted on the 20 items accepted from the EFA results on the following conditions: chi-square coefficient must be < 3, while the normed fit index (NFI), Tucker–Lewis index (TLI), comparative fit index (CFI), incremental fit index (IFI) and goodness-of-fit index (GFI), must all be > 0.9 or fall between 0.90 and 0.95. The root mean square error of estimation (RMSEE) must also be < 0.05 or fall between 0.05 and 0.08. According to the CFA results in Table 3, all values above met their expected thresholds, thereby indicating that the research model is fit and acceptable.

Test of hypotheses.

The research hypotheses were tested through the structural equation modelling (SEM) technique, using the analysis for moment structures (AMOS) version 23. SEM is majorly categorised into the measurement model and the structural model (Kline, 2011). While the structural model has been used to measure the goodness of fit of the latent variables through the factor analysis, the structural model was adopted in testing the stated research hypotheses through the path analysis.

The results from the path model in Table 4, therefore, show the following:

  • The non-existence of a significant relationship between coffee consumption and consumer health. This finding provides empirical support for the null hypothesis Ho1 that the expectation that coffee consumption will negatively affect consumers’ health may lead to less consumption. This finding is further consistent with that of Kim and Kim (2018) and Samoggia et al. (2020) whose studies validated the avoidance of coffee consumption owing to the existence of negative emotions such as depression, worry and annoyance. Impliedly, the belief that coffee consumption will negatively affect consumers’ health is very strong in the market, and this may contribute to the low demand and consumption in the Nigerian southern market. Succinctly, the perception among a larger percentage of respondents is that coffee is a stimulant.

  • The existence of a significant relationship between coffee consumption and Nigerian culture. This finding does not provide empirical support for the null hypothesis Ho2 that the coffee culture is foreign to Nigerian consumers, thereby making them non-disposed to imbibe the coffee culture. This finding is further consistent with the predictions of CBI (2016) as regards the growth of coffee consumption among Nigerian consumers. The finding shows that coffee culture is not strange among the people or consumers, which further implies that awareness about coffee consumption is popular; however, low patronage might be attributed to other inherent factors in the system.

  • The existence of a significant relationship between coffee consumption and socialisation. This finding does not provide empirical support for the null hypothesis Ho3 that the sociability factor arising from coffee culture is not enough to garner sustainable patronage from Nigerian coffee consumers. This finding is further consistent with that of Karabudak et al. (2019); Samoggia and Riedel (2019); and Sinniah et al. (2018) whose research findings associated coffee consumption with recreation, entertainment and socialisation. The finding shows that associating coffee culture to socialisation among people is acceptable and understandable among indigenes. From the analysis, the strength of popularity might not be stronger among consumers. In other words, the practice of coffee for socialisation is not popular among the consumers because there are other popular means to recreate and socialise, especially with beer and other non-alcoholic drinks like carbonated drinks.

  • The non-existence of a significant relationship between coffee consumption and elitism. This finding provides empirical support for the null hypothesis Ho4 that coffee is attached to elitism and professional career and will, therefore, not allow certain consumers to embrace the coffee culture. This finding is further inconsistent with that of Ferreira and Beuster (2019) whose research validated that coffee consumption is mostly sought after daily, by office people and also further inconsistent with the findings of UC Davis study (2019); Unnava et al. (2018); and Richard (2017) whose survey findings associated coffee consumption with overall happiness at work, improvement in work-related participation, improved work performance and work productivity. Impliedly, the belief that coffee consumption is elitist is to a large extent embraced and popular among the consumers because of its ubiquity in certain locations like offices, hotels and among wealthy indigenes and foreigners. In other words, the popularity of coffee consumption among certain categories of indigenes who are on the upper ladder of social class entrenches the claim and perception.

  • The non-existence of a significant relationship between coffee consumption and commercial factor. This finding provides empirical support for the null hypothesis Ho5 that coffee offering prices that are based on strategic decisions may not be a sufficient reason to attract many consumers. This finding is further inconsistent with that of Sinniah et al. (2018); Kim et al., 2020; and Rehm et al. (2020) whose research associated consumer willingness to pay for coffee with strategic coffee pricing based on customisation, positioning and segmentation. The study shows that commercial factors like pricing, retailing model and branding strategies are quite not sufficient in the present state of coffee commercialisation in the region, and this may contribute to low coffee culture in the region.

By and large, coffee culture is not foreign in the region among the indigenes; however, the low patronage and consumption are not unconnected to certain beliefs and perceptions that pervade the society, coupled with commercial operators’ retailing model that is not strongly pushing for coffee culture entrenchment in the market. Better still, well-designed marketing strategies can change the landscape of coffee culture in the region.

Implications and conclusion

Coffee culture popularity and embracement are on the increase in many countries and the consumption is ubiquitously accepted based on certain parameters like socialisation, health, corporate drink, etc. The practices have continuously soared the acceptability and consumption of coffee. However, the consumption patterns and disposition of residents of Southern Nigeria, to a certain extent, do not align with consumption behaviours of many other societies in the developed world and even developing societies like Turkey, Malaysia, Brazil and South Africa (Giesinger et al.,2015; Corso and Benassi, 2015; Karabudak et al., 2019; Sinniah et al., 2018).

Succinctly, the disposition of the residents and citizens in the Southern Nigerian translates to low commercial activities in the coffee business. For instance, non-existence of coffee chain retailing (except handful of outlets in international chain hotels and few cafés in highbrow areas). This further affects the availability of varieties like Espresso, Cappuccino, etc., where cafés are available because of low demand and consumption. This is contrary to the work of Kim and Kim (2019) that delves into how the coffee chain can affect habits and patronage. Also, the low demand patterns among consumers invariably affect firms’ capacity to understand consumption patterns; hence the low propensity of firms to strategise with branding properties in the market and this does not support the work of Corso and Benassi (2015) that shows how packaging can influence purchase intent in coffee consumption.

By and large, the study further shows the disposition of South Nigerians to coffee consumption measured on the variables of socialisation, health, elitism and culture, and the findings revealed that, contrary to what prevails in other parts of the world, people of Southern Nigerians have different motives that influence health drinks, socialisation, elitism and culture. The work of Dumbili (2013) stresses that Nigerians largely socialise with alcoholic beverages which include lager or beer and this is further buttressed by Obot (2000).

Equally, the perception of many Nigerians on healthy living and wellness is quite different from the belief that coffee consumption can serve the purposes of medication or prevention when it comes to health issues such as depression, anxiety and other mental health problems and diabetes mellitus. The studies of Eaton et al. (2011), Kola et al. (2020) and Essiet and Osadolor (2019) expressively show that the understanding of people regarding the health challenges largely lies in physiological issues and orthodox remedies that are outside coffee consumption.

Conclusively, the study provides undisputable information that will aid coffee retailers and producers in the development of marketing strategies that will aid positioning of coffee consumption across the different cadre of consumers and that will further enhance coffee culture acceptability in the region. In other words, the fact that factors that promote and entrench coffee culture in other societies have little or no effects on the residents of Southern Nigeria does not imply that coffee culture has no place for acceptability. The study has shown the disposition of consumers to the examined factors and hence the need for appropriate marketing strategies to improve coffee culture entrenchment and acceptability.

Further research study

Further study can look at the behavioural patterns and decisions of millennials regarding coffee consumption. The study is important based on the fact that the entire Nigerian population is made up of more than 65% youths.

Descriptive statistics

Item Frequency (%)
Male 297 53.8
Female 255 46.2
Total 552 100
Below 21 years 9 1.6
21–29years 217 39.3
30–49years 304 55.1
50years and above 22 4
Total 552 100
Marital status
Single 299 54.2
Married 249 45.1
Divorced 4 0.7
Total 552 100
Educational qualification
OND/NCE 43 7.8
HND/BSc 219 39.7
MBA/MSc 174 31.5
Professional + MBA/MSc 116 21
Total 552 100
Employment status
Full-time employment 365 66.1
Part-time employment 52 9.4
Student 68 12.3
Self-employed 18 3.3
Other 49 8.9
Total 552 100
Frequency of coffee consumption
Daily 61 11
Occasionally 244 44.2
Rarely 203 36.8
Never 44 8
Total 552 100
Purpose of coffee consumption
Health 87 15.8
Socialisation 23 4.2
Stimulant 311 56.3
Work environment 95 17.2
Other 36 6.5
Total 552 100

Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) results

X2 Df Bartlett’s test of sphericity p-value KMO
Measurement value 4903.594 210 0.000 0.05 0.905
Recommended value >0.5

CFA results

Measurement model 2.902 157 0.000 0.905 0.935 0.921 0.935 0.920 0.059
Recommended value ≤ 2 or 3 >0.9 >0.9 >0.9 >0.9 >0.9 < 0.05 to 0.08

Path model results

Path Est. Std. Est. SE t-value Sig.
Coffee consumption → Health 0.114 0.295 0.063 1.827 0.068
Coffee consumption → Nigerian culture 0.224 0.688 0.054 4.142 0.000***
Coffee consumption → Socialisation 0.202 0.551 0.061 3.335 0.000***
Coffee consumption → Elitism 0.048 0.155 0.048 1.004 0.315
Coffee consumption → Commercial factor 0.139 0.333 0.074 1.879 0.060

Est. = parameter estimate; Std. Est. = standardised parameter estimates; sig. = level of significance; SE = standard error; ***p < 0.001, **p < 0.01


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Corresponding author

Ayodele Christopher Oniku can be contacted at:

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