Walk down a typical street in any city in the UK, or in the world for that matter and you’re likely to see coffee being drank on the go. It’s almost gone a little bit hipster too, dudes with boat shoes and no socks complete with beards strolling down the high street with their female versions clutching a caramel macchiato or a flat white. Throw things back a couple of thousand years when this simple bean first emerged as a potent stimulating drink and you can see, coffee has always had a ‘culture’.
It’s a global culture too. The Turks first developed the idea of coffee houses back in the 15th century putting the beans cultivated by Arab traders into coffee drank in a social context, black, strong and thick complemented with sweet snacks.
As European colonies spread so too did the coffee bean plantations, the belt in the tropics of cancer and Capricorn playing host to booming trading import/export business. Fast forward to modern times and the popularity is still booming at a frenetic pace. With the influx of the super influential coffee shop chain Starbucks and adopting that model in the UK, the high street is now teeming with independent coffee shops jostling for prime locations against the likes of Costa, Café Nero, Wild Bean and Pret a Manger. The UK coffee shop market is worth a staggering £3.4billion (and that was 2016).
Can that level of growth be sustained? City analysts in London warn there may only be 4 to 5 years of growth left. At the start of the 2000’s there were around 10,000 coffee shops in the UK, now there are 22,000. That is just staggering. And obviously we’re only focusing on coffee shops here, there is also a rising trend of Brits buying coffee machines to drink café standard coffee on their own sofas.
Apparently, according to Allegra research, we drink 2.3billion cups of coffee per year (that’s around 45 cups per adult). Now if that’s not evidence enough for a growing coffee culture then we all need to wake up and smell the coffee!