National Coffee Day vs International Coffee Day

national coffee day history

Every year millions coffee lovers from around the world get a chance to celebrate their passionate love for anything related to a cup of java.

It is a once a year event that is promoted by major food & beverage retailers and various associations.

Of course that depends if you follow either the 29 Sept day in the US or 1 Oct day around the rest of the world. Either one was created as an awareness day designed to promote the amazing coffee culture, which you can read more about in the history section.

In the US, many big name brands like: Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Wawa, McDonalds and 7-Eleven, for example, typically give away free cups of coffee on the day to consumers visiting a participating store or restaurant.

These companies like to run these specials to help attract more clients to their particular convenience food and drinks brand. It makes sense why.

The end goal being that customers who take them up on the free coffee offer, in the short-term come into a store and spend some money. Then they will hopefully return time and time again in the future when they think of buying a take-away cup of joe. Brand loyalty and more lifetime sales at the end of the day would be a great marketing result.

National Coffee Day

What is National Coffee Day?

Promoting NCD on 29 September

National coffee day is only promoted nationally within the US, with its origins coming from the National Coffee Association (NCA). The NCA is the major organiser who is behind this unique US holiday. The official social media hashtag is #NationalCoffeeDay used by official NCA channels: Twitter, Facebook, its blog and official website page.

Is It National Coffee Day Today?

National coffee day in the United States of America is always celebrated each year on the 29th September. It was on Thursday, September 29 in 2016 and will be on Friday, September 29 in 2017. This means the day of the week can be different each year, but the calendar date will always be the same.


The US uses a different calendar date compared to the rest of the world for which day they celebrate on for some reason which will see below. There are reports that say the NCA started promoting this awareness day back in 2005.

However, it hasn’t been easy to find a reference like an old press release, advert image or clipping, news article or archive webpage. The earliest sign we could find online was only in 2013 with this tweet from their official account:

It would appear that the New Orleans Coffee Festival on 3 October 2009, which was held at The Southern Food and Beverage Museum, used the term National or International Coffee Day in the US. However, this wasn’t the start of the official day worldwide.(1)

You can see old archive images of the what happened on the day here.

International Coffee Day

What is International Coffee Day?

ICD Logo

International coffee day is promoted globally around the world, with its origins coming from the International Coffee Organisation (ICO). ICO are the international body that represents many foreign countries and is the organiser behind this holiday event.

The official social media hashtag is #InternationalCoffeeDay used by official ICO channels: Twitter, Facebook, its blog and official website page.

When is International Coffee Day?

The official international coffee day (ICD) that is marketed by the International Coffee Organisation (ICO) is always on 1 October of each year. It was on Saturday, October 1 in 2016 and will be on Sunday, October 1 in 2017. This means the day of the week can be different each year, but the calendar date will always be the same.


As with most national holidays and special events there is a historical reason why it was started by someone or an organisation behind it just like Cyber Monday and Black Friday for example.

As you could see by the two different dates mentioned above, that many countries around the world might celebrate their own version of a dedicated day at custom dates throughout a year.

London international headquarters of coffee

During the ICO meeting on 3-7 March of 2014 held at the ICO headquarters, 22 Berners Street, London, UK, the council tabled a proposal to consider for an International Coffee Day.

The proposal was put forward by the Private Sector Consultative Board (PSCB) of the organisation. 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 it was agreed to, by ICO member states, to celebrate International Coffee Day annually on 1 October, starting 2015, instead of each country having a unique day.

This would help to create uniformity in the marketing awareness campaign by creating just one single day of celebration for lovers of coffee from around the world. (2)(3)

ICO member governments represent 98% of world coffee production & 83% of world consumption with a list of current member countries as June 2016 below (*denotes provisional application)(4)

Exporting Member Countries (42)Importing Member Countries (35)
AngolaEuropean Union:
Bolivia- Austria
Brazil- Belgium
Burundi- Bulgaria
Cameroon- Croatia
Central African Republic- Cyprus
Colombia- Czech Republic
Costa Rica- Denmark
Côte d'Ivoire- Estonia
Cuba- Finland
Democratic Republic of the Congo- France
Ecuador- Germany
El Salvador- Greece
Ethiopia- Hungary
Gabon- Ireland
Ghana- Italy
Guatemala- Latvia
Honduras- Lithuania
India- Luxembourg
Indonesia- Malta
Kenya- Netherlands
Liberia- Poland
Madagascar- Portugal
Malawi- Romania
Mexico- Slovakia
Nicaragua- Slovenia
Panama- Spain
Papua New Guinea*- Sweden
Paraguay- United Kingdom
RwandaRussian Federation
Sierra LeoneSwitzerland
Timor-LesteUnited States of America

Which Event is Bigger?

As you can see from the graph below, according to historical Google trends data, the amount of people searching online from around the world for the either term shows a clear winner.

Looking at the difference between the blue US celebrates day & red international celebrated day phrases it is blatantly obvious which one is way more popular and gets a significantly bigger percentage of online traffic and searches per year.

You can also see when the spikes in the graph occurred that most people searching online for more information will do so roughly between Sep, 27 – Oct, 4 dates. This is since it is a one day event with flash sale deals to be had.

Other Notable Dates

The oldest mention of an organised national coffee day marketing event was by the “All Japan Coffee Association” back in 1983.

Translated from Japanese in to English they said:“In Japan, the fact that coffee consumption is higher in the Autumn and Winter period, in 1983 the All Japan Coffee Association declared October 1 would defined as Coffee of the Day”.


Japan is an ICO member state, which could explain how 1st October was chosen.

Marketing Ideas

Both the ICO and NCA USA would like to encourage any independent businesses, private companies, public associations, and of course coffee lovers to arrange to host an event or awareness campaign on either dedicated day.

Some ideas how to do this could be:

todays good mood sponsored by coffee quote
Tweet, Pin, or Facebook Share this Image on Your Social Media Accounts with a Hashtag
  • Use social media channels like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to invite friends to an event using the official hashtag #InternationalCoffeeDay or #NationalCoffeeDay. To help get you started we made this image for you 🙂
  • Host a coffee cupping tasting event at a local coffee shop, work office or even in your own home.
  • Run a limited offer discount on coffee related products via a promotion if you own a coffee shop or cafe.
  • Make a personal video about how much or why you love coffee so much. Use this footage to upload YouTube & promote on social media websites along with the #InternationalCoffeeDay or #NationalCoffeeDay hashtag.
  • Run an coffee themed art competition. Once people have entered their pieces of art (photography, poetry, drawing, paintings, sculptures, short stories…) hold an exhibition to display them for others to see and appreciate them.
  • Host a masterclass or workshop. Maybe teach different brewing techniques using a French Press or Aeropress, how to do latte art or educate people on how to roast coffee beans at home & the differences between a light, medium or dark roast.
  • Host a mini-lecture by an expert knowledgeable about everything coffee, like say a local roaster or barista talking about what are peaberry coffee beans or how to make butter coffee.
  • Arrange an organised tour to a local coffee farm and/or washing station to get the more people interested in farming and growing coffee plants.
  • Promote a charity fundraising campaign to raise money or supplies that go toward helping charitable coffee projects.
  • Have a screening of a coffee-related film, like The Coffee Man documentary or any other one, at a local venue or cinema.


Whatever you decide to do for marketing, the day is all about creating awareness of this top 3 traded commodity in the world.

Not only the money that is made from trading it. Think of all the people involved in getting the final product into your cup for you. From the growers, farm workers, exporters, buyers, roasters and baristas who make it for you with love and passion.

Happy Coffee Lovers Day where ever you are drinking some today 🙂

Please pin this image to share the love.

coffee noun for survival juice quote