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Is the Coffee Shop Culture on the Decline?

Nowadays, coffee is at the centre of many daily events. But with global warming increasing, our beloved coffee bean is at risk and prices are gradually getting higher for our regular coffee fix. Is this the end of the coffee shop culture? Why does it matter so much if it is?

Article by Grace 

We all love a good cuppa. This apparent from the 6 billion pounds worth of profit gained from it each year! First emerging in London during the 17th century, these coffee houses now play host to many of our deepest conversations, awkward reunions and general discussions. Some, witnessing the production of the greatest literary achievements of the age. Is that JK. Rowling I see over there? However, our beloved watering holes are under threat. Already prices of coffee have begun to rise and we are having to dig further into our pockets with each coffee fix. 

Now, I am in love with all things to do with the coffee culture. Except the coffee itself. I can barely stand the stuff unless if has a mass of cream added to it. But when I see that little teapot heading my way in the hands of a handsome waiter, I am quite at my leisure. But why is the coffee culture so important to us now? Here, I will be looking at what makes those little coffee shops so special and answering the dreaded question: Have we finally reached the end of the coffee era?

Coffee Shop Culture - The Bridge Coffee Shop

Image by: Stephen Mckay

Why do we love those coffee shops so much?

Coming from a sleepy town where the majority of the population are over the age 80, much of my youth was spent in coffee houses. There were lots of them, they were social and they were the hubs of all gossip. But even after moving to the city, my love for the coffee house has remained unaltered. You don’t have to look your best in a coffee house. You can shuffle in with your embarrassingly bright orange trakkie bottoms and feel no shame. All is tranquil, and the addition of easy-listening music makes for a wonderful atmosphere away from the busy world. What’s more, pretty hearts and more extravagant coffee art (if you’re lucky!) make for an exciting surprise when your creamy coffee as it’s placed beside you whilst you sink deeper into your oh-so-comfy armchair. All in all, coffee shop culture brings nothing – but bliss.

It all started with a Jewish man 

Thank God for that clever man Jacob who thought to set up the first ever coffee house in Oxford. From humble beginnings, the first coffee house quickly inspired many others to set up shop in other parts of the UK. The artists, the writers, the socialites all quickly jumped aboard the coffee house wagon and spent many a morning creating, discussing and – well, arguing over a cuppa. Some things never change.

Coffee Shop Culture - The end?

Image by Steve Snodgrass

Is this the end?

The prices are increasing. The world is … er, over-heating. The future of the coffee house is unclear. But fear not my fellow coffee house enthusiasts, it is not the end. Many independent coffee places we love are shutting down because they are not making enough profit with increased prices deterring customers. But, so long as we are buying coffee – some doors will remain open. Just maybe not quite as many. We must remain loyal to those little places we love. With many chain coffee stores opening up: Starbucks, Costa, etc, smaller establishments are taking a hit as consequence. Losing customers, losing value. Now, I love a good ol’ frappucino once in a while but nothing beats an acoustic night with local musicians, friendly staff and a lovingly prepared beverage. So if you like those sort of places, now is the time to show them some affection.

So, you can rest assured all coffee houses won’t be packing up any time soon. Hooray! The simple fact is, British people love coffee too much for it to fade out of our culture. It’s prevailed through four centuries and two world wars, so I think we can be pretty certain that they’ve still got some fight left in ’em!  Yes, prices are increasing but then so are the prices of everything else – so it is hardly surprising. But unlike other stores that have been permanently closing, our coffee shops are clearly with us for the long haul.

Grace is quite the tea enthusiast, consuming many cups of her favourite brew daily. Although she is happy with a good cuppa anywhere anytime, she loves visiting quirky independent coffee stores in the south west. 

Featured image by: kmjuggler 

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