Are we Coffee Mad?

On my way to a tutoring role a week or so ago, I stopped in for a coffee at a well-known high street store. Later in the day an old friend of mine sent me her standard ‘fancy a coffee?’ text. After dinner with friends later that evening we took the opportunity to extend our conversation over coffee and after dinner mints. The following morning was a Saturday so I came down to make a really nice weekend breakfast and instantly switching the coffee machine on. As I did this, all of a sudden a thought crossed my mind… How much coffee do I actually drink? It seemed like a lot when I added it up and I started to wonder about why and if I was alone in this, but it turns out after a bit of research that coffee shops are almost as popular as pubs nowadays.

There’s plenty of choice when it comes to coffee, it seems like there is a coffee bar pretty much everywhere we go. You can always be sure a coffee will be on offer at an eatery and there seems to be a million varieties on the shelves in the supermarket for us to enjoy at home too. Has the UK gone coffee mad and if so, why?

With 70 million cups of coffee being drank, per day, in the UK and UK chain coffee shops alone, rising to over 5,000 in the last 5 years, it certainly suggests that we like our coffee. On top of this the types of coffee’s we are drinking are becoming more refined. It’s no longer just the bog standard instant coffee jar, we are drinking specialised refined coffees from all over the world and in a variety of different forms. We are becoming connoisseurs and can really tell the difference between a standard coffee and a quality one. Those with a real love of coffee easily tell the difference between an instant or a cup made from a simple pod machine. Rather they favour freshly ground beans with exotic blends and the art of beautifully crafted barista coffees, brewed at perfect temperatures using state of the art machines or inventive new brewing tools.

It isn’t just cafes that benefit from quality coffee, other companies can benefit from providing decent coffee too. In retail, a great coffee can bring in clients and customers who might otherwise have passed by rather than staying to browse a while for example. As customers we love to feel as though we are getting a little extra for our money so in hotels, B&B’s etc if we are provided with really luxury coffee we feel like we are on to a winner and that the place itself is a luxury venue, in turn we give it cracking feedback on sites like TripAdvisor for all to see, and we probably give our repeat custom, meaning coffee makes them a winner too.  It’s even suggested that companies who aren’t customer facing but provide good coffee for their employees as good coffee equals happy workers and happy workers means better productivity and more money in the long run.

With our love of coffee and how much of an integral part of our social life coffee has become, it seems an obvious transition that we also see it as a luxury in the home and we can spend a fair amount of money on a top notch machine (some actually running into the thousands) to make sure that we get that luxury feeling at home. In fact one article even showed research that our coffee habits could be costing us up to £15,000 a year! It might seem like a shocking amount but let’s face it, most of us don’t spend that amount on coffee and who’s to deny us a little bit of added luxury in our life?