For some, it’s a morning ritual, for others it’s a need, and for the most fortunate ones, it’s also part of their downtime before bed. And no, I’m not talking about a good old wank (although, by all means, go for it), I’m talking about coffee. What started as the instant black Americano has developed into the beautiful, if not slightly toxic, current cultural coffee space. (Try saying that 3 times faster). I think it’s fair to say that a lot of people today have an addiction to coffee, or at least drinks that present themselves as coffee.
Now I don’t really want to go deep into the whole history of coffee and shit because that’s for another time, but what I am gonna say is that for many years coffee was: boring. Coffee was dull, watery, bitter, uninteresting and spiritless. Coffee has improved in terms of quality in the last ten years, with the baseline quality of even the most standard coffee being much higher. Coffee is an artform.
I’m sure it’s always helped as the little “pick me up” that everyone living the human experience needs, but who drinks coffee just for the sake of energy? Definitely not me.
Probably for the first time in all of my writing, I know I’m not alone here. I know for a fact that for a lot of people in this generation, coffee is a treat and a pleasure; it’s taking a walk to your favourite indie coffee shop, it’s taking selfies and making Tiktoks and being “sad girls” in coffee shops reading “Just kids” by Patti Smith with an oat latte that costs more than you’ll spend on lunch.
Many older coffee consumers will factor price into their decision-making. But we didn’t have the luxury of living during the 10p Freddo years, so we’re way less concerned about price if the coffee matches our standards.
Most of our generation drink coffee out of home every day. 86% of Gen Z consumers have bought coffee out of the home in the past three months and we have a clear expectation that high-quality coffee should be available on the go, in a cute cup we can take pictures of, with a one-click payment.
Older generations LOVE to label us with so many different (a lot of them pretty uncreative) notions, but no one can deny that we’re making coffee oh-so-much-better and for these 5 reasons.
1. We’re interested in quality over quantity
We’re not the kind of people who will drink an entire jug of burnt filtered coffee that’s been sitting there for hours. We care about the roast and the taste more than anything.
2. We like to change it up
Whoever has the dream of walking into their local coffee shop and being welcomed by the barista with the Hollywood line of “Morning Jake, your regular?” I feel sorry for you, because it’s so sad that you will never explore the exhilarating world of coffee outside of your one order. Today I had a flat white, tomorrow I might fancy an espresso. Friday? Maybe an iced oat latte. Don’t even get me started on my feelings for chai. The coffee world is my literal oyster, if oysters tasted like coffee.
3. We care about the world, basically
Sure, we love our silly Starbucks orders but we love our indie coffee shops more. And it's not just to support local businesses, but it’s also because they’re usually more ethical when it comes to their coffee: sustainably resourced, ethically produced, sometimes even donating some of their revenue back to the local community.
4. We like it cute
It’s all about the aesthetic, but with originality! We love the spaces that we visit to look good, but also like the spaces that we visit to be different. The design and branding are core to our coffee experiences.
5. We like it (more times than not) easy
We’re too busy, I’m not exactly sure what with…but we’re just too busy to wait for the water to boil or the french press to brew and of course, there’s obviously no time to wash it all up. We prioritise convenience because everything else in our lives will never be convenient. If there’s a ready-to-drink, pre-made option (that isn’t instant coffee) we are sold!
Woo. That was like…1 hour without a sweet caffeinated treat? Gotta go get myself a coffee. See ya!