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Caffè Americano, Caramel Macchiato, Espresso Ristretto. But Italy this is not.


Posted At: 17 October 2008 15:19 PM
Related Categories: Future of Retailing, Retail


I am a recent coffee convert. I’m not ashamed that I never used to like coffee...sometimes I still think it tastes like licking tree bark…but now, mostly, I’ll go with it.

I think it has something to do with growing up. When I was younger, I used to envy those people sitting at the back of Caffe Nero with their laptops, supping away at their soup-bowl-sized mugs of brown. And the thought of running for the tube with a green and white paper cup in my hand….well, that was the epitome of cool. Be that as it may, it didn’t change the fact that I just didn’t like the flavour of the stuff. So what changed? Well, I discovered posh coffee, that’s what.

Gone are the days of replying ‘just a tea please’ in a bonafide coffee shop (why the hell are you here if you’re not drinking coffee!? they think). Now I can say - with confidence – “a Grande Caramel Latte please”, hand over my £6.95 (joke!), and head to the back sofas to sit with the rest of the smugs (all puns intended – snobs, mugs…coffee mugs…get it? Bad, I know).

And so it is that Britain’s coffee shop boom takes hold. In my town alone (population just over 80k), we have 6 shops specialising in coffee, not including cafes, pubs etc. 6! List them – honestly – how many different high street coffee shop brands can you reel off the top of your head? You never thought about it before, did you? Nero, Costa, Starbucks, Revive, Ritazza, Primo, Republic, AMT; if you’re well travelled enough you’ll have been to them all without even realising that Britain’s coffee shop industry was buoyant enough to support them all at once. And support them well!

Britons drink 70 million cups of coffee daily, with retail sales rising from £632m in 2002 to £680m in 2005. The biggest growth has come from coffee shops which specialise in stronger espresso-based drinks, such as lattes and Americanos, and its thought that this sector can be worth around £1 billion a year. A small, daily purchase of a common, insignificant drink means nothing in the scheme of things, right? Wrong. It’s not just a cup of coffee now, is it?

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The opinions expressed herein are the personal opinion of the author and are not intended as statements of fact and do not represent the view of SnapShop or Pragma in any way.


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