To the rest of the world, Brits spend their time sipping on tea with their pinkie raised, chatting about Brexit and the Queen, so how have we become a nation of coffee addicts?
Nowadays, if you walk into one of the many coffee chains that are lined up along our high streets, you are faced with a headache inducing selection of different coffees. Most non-coffee drinking folk would find mind-boggling, and even seasoned coffee drinkers can be overwhelmed. So, why do we insist on spending ridiculous amounts of money, daily, on cups of coffee that we can’t even pronounce the names of? And really… when was the last time anybody ordered a macchiato?
The coffee culture phenomenon that has slowly taken over our everyday lives here in Britain, has derived mostly from American coffee chains. Companies like Starbucks expanded globally, with others such as Costa and Cafe Nero following suit. Now, there’s a new cafe every 100 yards on British high streets, spreading coffee fever like the plague. You can’t be surprised though – with everybody relying on coffee to get them through the day.
Aside from the fact a cup of coffee can rescue you from a poor nights sleep, or a late night when you have a meeting at 9am, for most Brits, going to grab a cup of coffee is a lot more than getting a much-needed caffeine fix. It’s the whole coffee experience. Cafes and coffee shops are now a space to meet old friends, to get to know the people that live and work in your local area, or even to work on that deadline you’ve known about for months but left until the last minute.
We will happily stand in line for 30 minutes for an oat milk latte that the barista writes your name on, often incorrectly, again and again. Brits have become somewhat snobs when it comes to coffee, looking down on those who order a plain old Americano with milk. It is not uncommon to hear orders of macchiatos, cappuccinos and café melanges, all of which could lead to a look of confusion and bemusement to the untrained ear.
Gone are the days you can just order a coffee and the server responds with “Milk and sugar?”. Now it’s “but what kind of coffee?” or “is that with regular milk or oat, coconut, soya or almond?” It’s not the coffee people can’t function without, it’s the whole ritual of what you drink and where you drink it. That’s what gives us the satisfaction of drinking coffee. Otherwise, we would all be at least £5 (or more) better off every day.
There is an alternative however. For those of us trying to resist the expensive, fancy lattes, long queues and rude baristas, we can make a cup of coffee to rival those of chains in the comfort of our own office. Simply select your favourite brand of coffee – grab a cafetiere and your choice of milk and use your Billi tap for instant cafe quality coffee at your desk.