The 10 Biggest Coffee Brands in America

The 10 Biggest Coffee Brands in America

There’s no doubt that we’re crazy for coffee in this country. Acc0rding to Drive Research, 74% of us drink it daily, and our collective consumption amounts to what Food Beverage Insider estimates is about 517 million cups a day. There are said to be more than 38,000 branded coffee shops in the U.S., and possibly as many as 12,000 more independent purveyors of our favorite hot caffeinated drink.

The American coffee scene has changed dramatically since the mid-20th century. It used to be that a cup of joe was a cup of joe. People drank it with their breakfast or after lunch or dinner (or with those meals). It came in two flavors, regular and decaf, and the only things you added to it were milk or cream and sugar or artificial sweetener (unless you were the type who preferred your java with a shot of rum or brandy).

If you made your own, you bought pre-ground beans in a can or bag at the market and brewed it in a percolator or by the drip method (which became automated with the introduction of the Mr. Coffee machines in 1972). Wherever you drank it, the coffee was almost certainly made from a blend of high-quality Arabica and lesser Robusta beans.

Coffee aficionados talk of coffee in terms of waves. What has just been described was first-wave coffee. The second wave arrived when small shops like the pioneering Peet’s in Berkeley, CA, began selling single-origin beans, developing custom blends (often entirely Arabica), and popularizing espresso and its offshoots, like cappuccino and latte. Starbucks took this concept and ran with it. (Here’s a look at the best independent coffee shop in every state.)

Third-wave coffee shops typically offer brewing options beyond what comes out of the espresso machine — like cold brew and pour-over. They also pay attention to fair trade practices and sustainability, and source beans not just from specific regions but from individual estates, often working directly with farmers. (These are the top coffee-producing countries in the world.)

There are representatives of each of these waves among the biggest coffee brands in America based on annual sales. 24/7 Tempo compiled a list of the top ten of these, using sources including the data site Statista, the German-based coffee information site Coffeeness, and the online recruitment site Zippia, as well as the websites of the companies listed.

Note that most of these companies sell food products as well as non-coffee beverages. Annual revenue figures reflect the entire business of these corporations, not just their coffee sales.

Here are the 10 biggest coffee brands in America.

10. Maxwell House

Source: Philip Rozenski / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Source: Philip Rozenski / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Year founded: 1892
  • Headquarters: Tarrytown, NY
  • Annual revenue (2022): $20 million

Named for the famed Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville (now long gone), which was its first big customer, this is one of America’s oldest coffee brands. Legend had it that its memorable slogan “Good to the very last drop” was coined by President Theodore Roosevelt, but it was later revealed that an executive at General Foods, which owned the brand for years, came up with it. Maxwell House is now owned by Kraft Heinz.

9. Eight O’Clock Coffee

Eight O Clock Coffee Factory by Maryland GovPics
Source: Maryland GovPics / flickr

  • Year founded: 1859
  • Headquarters: Montvale, NJ
  • Annual revenue (2022): $106 million

In the latter 19th century, this brand — created by the Great Atlantic Pacific Tea Company (later known as A&P, as in the once ubiquitous but now defunct supermarket chain) — accounted for almost a quarter of all coffee sales in America. In 2003 it was sold off to a private equity firm, which in turn sold it a few years later to India-based Tata Consumer Products, its owner today.

8. Café Bustelo

Source: Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images for Café Bustelo®

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 26: Guests experience the Café Bustelo Galeria pop-up event on October 26, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images for Café Bustelo®)

Source: Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images for Café Bustelo®
  • Year founded: 1928
  • Headquarters: New York, NY
  • Annual revenue (2022): $150 million

Spaniard Gregorio Bustelo founded this brand, specializing in Cuban-style ground espresso, in Harlem, and it quickly found a ready market among Cuban immigrants in the New York area. Though it was initially sold mostly in small neighborhood markets, it eventually grew into a brand commonly found in supermarkets around the country, where it stands out on shelves with its bright yellow and red packaging. Today, it is owned by the J.M. Smucker Company.

7. Folger Coffee Company

Source: littleny / Getty Images
  • Year founded: 1850
  • Headquarters: Orville, OH
  • Annual revenue (2022): $204.7 million

This well-known brand traces its origins to a company called Pioneer Steam Coffee and Spice Mills, founded in San Francisco by William Bovee. J.A. Folger was an employee  of Bovee’s who bought into the company and eventually — in 1872 — became the sole owner and renamed it for himself. It grew into America’s leading coffee brand in the latter part of the 20th century, and remains the nation’s largest producer of ground coffee products. Like Café Bustelo, it’s now the property of the J.M. Smucker Company.

6. Caribou Coffee

Source: scottfeldstein / Flickr
  • Year founded: 1992
  • Headquarters: Brooklyn Center, MN
  • Annual revenue (2022): $262 million

Founded by John and Kim Puckett after a backpacking trip to Alaska — where they were impressed by the sight of a herd of caribou, lending their company its name — this chain began with a single shop in the Minneapolis suburb of Edina. Today there are about 450 Caribou stores around the country, and more abroad. In 2021, the company joined with Panera Bread and Einstein Bros. Bagels to form Panera Brands — which in turn is owned by the Luxembourg-based German JAB Holding Company, whose portfolio also includes Peet’s Coffee and a majority interest in Keurig Dr. Pepper (see below for both).

5. Peet’s Coffee

Coffee from the Internet by Zach Copley
Source: Zach Copley / flickr

  • Year founded: 1966
  • Headquarters: Emeryville, CA
  • Annual revenue (2022): $983 million

Dutch-born Alfred Peet started Peet’s as a single shop in the University of California campus in Berkeley (and just around the corner from the legendary Chez Panisse). Founded five years before the first Starbucks opened across the street from Seattle’s Pike Place Market, Peet’s was a pioneer of the so-called “second wave” of coffee purveyors, and popularized dark-roasted Arabica beans in the U.S. Today the company, with more than 230 stores around the country and a presence in an estimated 14,000 grocery stores, counts both Stumptown Coffee and Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea as subsidiaries, and is itself owned by the German conglomerate JAB Holding Company.

4. Dunkin’ Brands

Source: tupungato / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Dunkin' Donuts (now rebranded as just Dunkin) in Providence, RI.

Source: tupungato / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Year founded: 1948
  • Headquarters: Canton, MA
  • Annual revenue (2022): $1.25 billion

Entrepreneur Bill Rosenberg opened a coffee-and-doughnuts restaurant in Quincy, MA, under the name Open Kettle, rechristening it Dunkin’ Donuts in 1950. The simplicity of his concept proved popular and Rosenberg began franchising in 1955. In 2019, primarily because the chain’s focus shifted away from doughnuts (though they are still a part of the product line) and towards coffee beverages, the word “Donuts” was cut. Today there are  13,200-plus Dunkin’ locations across the globe, more than 9,500 of them in the U.S. The current owner is Georgia-based Inspire Brands, whose holdings also include Arby’s, Sonic Drive-In, Jimmy John’s, and Baskin-Robbins, among other chains.

3. Lavazza

ZAGREB, CROATIA - FEBRUARY 4, 2017: Lavazza espresso cup served on a plate with sugar and spoon.
Source: Ivica Drusany / Shutterstock.com

Source: Ivica Drusany / Shutterstock.com
  • Year founded: 1895
  • Headquarters: Turin, Italy
  • Annual revenue (2022): $2.97 billion

The only major player in the American coffee game that’s not based in the U.S., Lavazza specializes in espresso under numerous product names, and its ground coffee and capsules (including Nespresso-compatible examples) are widely available in supermarkets all over the country. In 2021, it opened its first roasting and packing plant in America, in West Chester, PA. This year, Lavazza was named the official coffee for Princess Cruises.

2. Keurig Dr Pepper (Green Mountain Coffee Roasters)

Source: Sergi Alexander / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images
  • Year founded: 1981
  • Headquarters: Plano, TX
  • Annual revenue (2022): $14.08 billion

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters was founded in 1981 by Bob Stiller as a small coffee shop in Waitsfield, VT, and over the next decade the business opened other outlets and gained more than 1,000 wholesale customers. In 1992, Peter Dragone and John Sylvan founded a company called Keurig in Boston (Sylvan said the name was Dutch for “excellence;” it actually means “elegant” or “exquisite”), to produce machines that would brew a single cup of coffee at a time, using a pre-filled capsule. Green Mountain became the first company to supply its coffee for Keurig’s “K-Cups.” Others soon followed. In 2006, Green Mountain bought Keurig, renaming the operation Keurig Green Mountain. In 2018, they merged with the Dr Pepper Snapple Group. All the other companies on this list now supply coffee for K-Cups.

1. Starbucks

Source: aboutsung / Shutterstock.com

Source: aboutsung / Shutterstock.com
  • Year founded: 1971
  • Headquarters: Seattle, WA
  • Annual revenue (2022): $32.25 billion

Since its founding as a single coffee bean store 50-plus years ago, Starbucks has become virtually synonymous with coffee in this country — and, increasingly, around the world. Its founders were originally inspired by the success of Peet’s in Berkeley (see above), and envisioned a similar business. One of their employees, Howard Schultz, left to open his own coffee shop, which he merged with Starbucks in 1986. Inspired by his experiences with Italy’s caffè culture, he envisioned converting Starbucks from a store selling beans into a coffee shop serving a range of coffee and tea drinks made to order. Today, it is the world’s largest coffee company by a hefty margin, it terms of both sales and number of outlets. There are more than 35,000 Starbucks locations in more than 80 countries around the world, about 16,000 of them in the U.S.

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