A sociable affair

By | Food & Drink
Coffee culture: a social norm. credit@DarrenMuirviaflickr, credit@pecovgfxviaflick,,credit@JonSeigelviaflickr

Coffee culture has grown to become a metropolitan luxury that many may thrive on. From big scale stores to those smaller, unique and quirky social hubs; the idea of maintaining rapports over coffee has latched on to society. Espressonites, better known as people who engage in coffee culture, use the beverage as a social lubricant and have been doing so around the world since the fourteenth century.

Originally, a Turkish form of socialisation, coffee has expanded over the east, occasionally being used as a powerful political lubricant such as in Mecca. Nowadays, the West uses coffee as a platform to further business deals, music performances through open mic nights and even form long distant connections via the internet. Coffee-houses became popular in England in the mid-1600s, catching on in Venice by the early 1700s. By the late 17th century, coffee-houses doubled in number, growing to be a rapid wildfire hub for political debates that were classed as uprisings by King Charles II. By the 18th century, coffee culture became a social norm across Europe; places where the working class could mingle in Victorian England as an effect of the Temperance Movement, limiting excessive alcohol consumption. Coffee became the alternative drink, sensational in its ambiguous power to awaken yet unwind at the same time.

Coffee culture rose to popularity as coffee became more and more recognisable as a viable option instead of tea, chocolate and alcohol. Where there was coffee, there was a stimulated environment; be it in the Parisian culture of ‘café society’ in the early 20th century due to fashionable aristocrats advancing the trend further or the 90s, when coffee grew to become a social symbol that was represented in TV shows such as Friends.

Drunk cold in the summer and hot in winter, imbibed from morning through to evening. The coffee bean may be roasted, chopped and pressed to suit different tastes, christening it as a tiny, versatile wonder in most cultures. Smithsonian Magazine states that coffee is produced at a rate of 150 million 132 pound bags per year. The magazine also places the bean as the second most demanded commodity in the world.

Where Ireland sips coffee with a liberal amount of whiskey and cream as an after-dinner drink, areas such as India and Vietnam revel in cold coffee with chunks of crunchy ice. Greece prefers the frappé, whereas France and Italy enjoy their coffee in its bitter, pressed form, served in tiny shot glasses. Many countries have taken to adding chocolate, whipped cream, vanilla and even fruit to their coffee.

Businesses thrive on the whole ideal of coffee, bringing with it a bevy of people willing to engage in its culture and socialisation. The Pudding Pantry, recently opened in Nottingham, is an example of this, using coffee and dessert as platform to engage the public in this wide-sweeping tradition. With its succulent desserts to compliment, ranging from whipped cream pancakes to nutella brownies, The Pudding Pantry is similar to many other individual and quirky coffee shops in Hockley which rely on coffee culture as a basis for their businesses. Its recent opening in a rather widespread and public space shows how far coffee culture has come; The Pudding Pantry’s confidence in coffee as a social lubricant may come off as a huge commercial success in the future years.

The popularity of caffe’s such as Starbucks, Caffe Nero and Costa have also revealed the wide-sweeping confidence in coffee culture; businesses are reassured that the wildfire coffee trend will continue on. Coffee’s widespread adaptability and strong temperament remains as popular today as it has ever been; a cultural throne for society to rest itself on and sip away.

What city has the most coffee culture in the world?


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