The UK’s coffee culture is in the hands of the consumer
Although this headline isn’t exactly surprising because consumerism is at the heart of most organisations, the coffee industry isn’t relying on its rich history and intense popularity alone, it too is having to stay in tune with the current climate.
New Era Coffee
The new era of coffee completely contrasts the coffee stereotypes of old. Previously, in the UK, we’ve often associated coffee as a drink associated to the answers for surviving the frantic pace and pressures of adulthood, or as the medicine to parenting, or the stimulant served at petrol stations to help fuel a long journey. Since then, however, we’ve seen a shift in the perception of coffee.
Coffee drinkers soon discovered that coffee came in more formats than instant. People began to recognise that coffee could taste better and be a more enjoyable, social experience, if given the chance.
The Rise of Coffee
More and more coffee menus started to crop up, displaying unfamiliar words like ‘cappuccino’, ‘espresso’ and ‘latte’, (majorly testing our pronunciation skills and coffee knowledge). Despite this, the improved tastiness and methodology behind these drinks meant that these words were quickly adopted and added to our vocabulary.
What followed was a sudden surge of overnight coffee connoisseurs, indulging in their new-found terminology and snubbing anyone seen feeding their loose change into a workplace coffee machine.
Current Coffee Culture
Today, such coffee snobbery seems to have subsided. Perhaps, this is down to the wide availability and rise in popularity of coffee, making it less original and hip as it once was. Having said that, it is still trending.
It’s the millennials who are leading the contemporary coffee charge, making ripples with their new wave drinking habits and versatile lifestyles. Having been born into an era where coffee is as common as clouds in the UK summertime, seeing school kids clutching caffieters comes as no surprise.
Coffee shops are fast becoming social hangouts and the demand for quality coffee is on the rise, as expectations, taste-buds and nasal passages alike, become accustomed to premium offerings.
Moreover, quality coffee is now more accessible than ever. Hotels, fast food chains, retail outlets, pubs and vendors have all capitalised in the growth of coffee culture, presenting customers with inescapable opportunities, no matter where they go.
The latest shift in coffee has seen it become a beverage to be consumed anywhere at any time, eradicating the perception of a it being a beverage to battle those early morning blues. On top of that, coffee is conforming to the modern world by adapting to change, thanks to our scientific and technological advancements; moving with the times is essential to the coffee industry and its survival.
Ethical & Sustainable Coffee
Our understanding of the production of coffee, where and how it’s sourced, how it’s farmed, transported and then replenished, is better than ever. Ensuring industry standards are firmly in place and exploitation is non-existent is paramount to how coffee is both perceived and consumed.
Following on from this, veganism is playing an important and influential role on the future of the coffee industry. The demand for oat milk, and other vegan alternatives, are on the rise. In turn, this is dictating how the industry thinks about its current offerings.
The coffee industry is also reacting to pressures and protests surrounding their packaging, particularly in the form of its coffee cups. Currently, the majority of coffee cups aren’t entirely recyclable, and when considering 2.5 billion cups each year are disposed of, the issue is of high importance. As a result, the ‘Latte Levy’ is forcing the hand of the industries big hitters such as Starbucks, who will trial a 5p surcharge on takeaway cups as well as becoming the first to create a 100% recyclable coffee cup.
Healthy Coffee Consumption
Arguably, the current generation is more health conscious than any gone before it. Therefore, researchers are working overtime to educate the world about the health benefits of coffee.
If you were to select an aspect of your life in which you feel hindered, or targeted an area for improvement, it’s more than likely that caffeine will provide an answer, apparently. From increasing attention spans and improving moods, to protection against disease and a sports performance enhancer, coffee stakes a claim in it all.
Coffee, Cocktails & Cold Brew
Coffee shops are becoming coffee bars; a hybrid with the ability to offer customers coffee for all occasions. This trend is currently capturing coffee lovers who go in search of the next ‘new thing’. Cocktails and ‘mocktails’, in the form of aptly named creates such as the ‘Cold Fashioned’, are making use of coffee in an entirely new and inventive way.
Cold coffee, or ‘cold brew’ as it’s known, is at the helm of combining two of the UK’s favourite things: coffee and alcohol. Alternative brewing methods are providing next level taste and texture experiences, leaving the coffee cravers thirsty for more.
Amidst the hype of coffee art and micro foams, the technological developments behind the brewing and serving of coffee is nothing short of magical – there are literally robots acting as baristas. This new-age, fandangled way to experience coffee will delight certain coffee lovers, once again, as they search to exclude themselves from anything mainstream.
What’s more is that there is now a range of affordable machinery which can be purchased for use within the home, which provides similar experiences to that of a coffee shop coffee.
Coffee Consumption Concluded
As highlighted above, overtime, the coffee industry has been reinvented. There are several key components which have had a huge impact upon how we view and experience coffee in the UK, today. Aspects such as technology, science, creativity and accessibility have all allowed us to enjoy more of the drink we love.
It has to be said that such coffee growth is great for the UK economy. Additionally, the industry is now looking at how such rapid growth can become more beneficial to our environment too. It seems that coffee has become much more than a stimulant for surviving tricky times, and now acts as a common cultural identity in lots of varying communities.
The whole industry has responded and shifted with the times, yet the future of the coffee marketplace is clearly down to us: the customers and consumers. And the message we are all sending to the coffee creators is: “If you brew it, we will come”.