Coffee has become a big part of our daily lives. Everywhere you go, you see individuals suited and booted for work armed with a ‘coffee to go’, or coffee shops filled with friends meeting over a cup of some caffeine-laden concoction.
Coffee shops have become big business, with our High Streets filled with Costa, Starbucks, BBs etc and many shops and stores also having their own coffee lounges.
Since coffee was introduced to the UK (there are mentions of it in 16th century writing, with coffee houses taking off in 17th Century) we have enjoyed it to some degree. However, ‘coffee mornings’ used to mean meeting up in someone’s house over a cup of instant and a plate of bourbons, as opposed to congregating at the local coffee shop, chatting over double shot skinny lattes.
The English have long been considered to be more of a nation of tea drinkers. Advice issued to American serviceman when they came over in the 1940s included the comment, ‘The British don't know how to make a good cup of coffee. You don't know how to make a good cup of tea’. But whether we prefer tea or coffee, it’s easy to buy a huge variety of either when out and about.
When shopping in the High Street I sometimes grab a McDonald’s coffee, which is low cost, and for every six I buy, I can get one free by collecting the stickers on the cups. Sainsburys’ and Morrisons’ cafés offer cappuccino or latte for £1.55, which though not quite barista quality, is a fair cup. Many other retailers sell a variety of coffees for over the £2 mark and I had previously presumed, wrongly as it seems, that places such as Costa would put a higher price tag on their drinks as say Greggs or Tesco (Fontanella coffee is £2.15 for a small cup at Tesco Family Cafés)
Recently my daughter treated me to a coffee at Costa, where a small (reasonable size I thought) cappuccino cost just £2.15 – the same as Tesco. I also indulged in a lemon and poppy seed muffin, which was rather delicious, containing a surprise (sorry, I’ve now spoilt that for you} lemon curd style filling.
Whatever your favoured choice of coffee and wherever your chosen venue for buying it, we certainly have become much more a nation of coffee lovers.
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