The Evolution of Coffee Culture

Coffee Culture

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The Evolution of Coffee Culture

69% of Americans drink 2 or more cups of coffee every day – everything from Folgers to craft coffee roasters carefully curated in a home coffee maker or at the local coffee shop – how did the humble cup of joe come to be such a cultural phenomenon?

History of the Bean

Multiple cultures claim to be the first coffee drinkers
In the 15th century, Earliest confirmed record of coffee drinking is from Yemen
The English word “coffee” originated from the Arabic word “quahweh”
Originally a name for wine meaning “strength”

Into Europe
In the 17th century, Trade with the Middle East brought coffee to Europe
Venetians, Parisians, and the Dutch were among the first to adopt the drink

The Netherlands – Home to the first known coffee houses
Recorded between 1610 ― 1675 in the work of Dutch artist Adriaen Van Ostade

In 1699, the East India Trading Company started growing the coffee plant in Indonesia 一 in an area known as Java

The New World
Many Americans ― including President John Adams ― started drinking coffee instead of tea as a patriotic act of defiance after the Boston Tea Party

By the 1800s
Pioneers such as James Folger began selling the drink to miners in the California gold rush
Paved the way for other producers like Maxwell House to join the burgeoning American coffee market

Recent History
In 1971, Starbucks opened its first store in Seattle’s Pike Place Market
CEO Howard Schultz was determined to bring Italian café culture to the US
Popularized European-style drinks such as espresso and cappuccino
By 2018 ー 29,324 stores worldwide with about 50% of locations in the US
Seattle and the Northwest are now a hub for some of the best coffee in America

How Cafés Became Our Home Away From Home

Coffee houses have been around since people began drinking coffee, but their cultural impact seems bigger than ever before
According to sociologist Ray Oldenburg, coffee houses are a kind of “third place” ─ an important social setting outside of home or work

The Third Place
A neutral location which serves as a meeting ground that is accessible to everyone regardless of status
They are focused on community, conversation, and creative interaction
Other significant “third places” are bars, parks, barber shops

Haven of Innovation
Sites like the Tontine Coffee House in New York City and the Sazerac Coffee House in New Orleans played host to the area’s greatest thinkers and entrepreneurs
In 1792, what became the New York Stock Exchange was founded at the Tontine
In 1850, America’s first cocktail ― the Sazerac ― was officially named after its coffee shop home

Previously in Pop Culture
Historically, bars have served as the “third place” on television shows
Coffee shops were still aligned with counterculture and not considered mainstream
Hit TV show “Cheers” took place almost entirely within a bar
That trend began to change in the 1990s with huge shows such as “Seinfeld” and “Friends”

The “Friends” Effect
Central Perk was the gang’s coffee shop and hangout spot
In 2014 Warner Brothers hosted a month-long pop-up recreating the iconic café
WB trademarked the rights to the fictional shop’s name, logo, and signage ― clearly it is still culturally relevant nearly 15 years after going off the air

The Future of Coffee Culture

While trends in origin, roast, and preparation are always changing, the way we experience our coffee is evolving too

Emphasis on Local
With community such a big part of their popularity, it’s no wonder that customers are gravitating towards locally owned coffee shops
Independent cafés made $12 billion* in 2017
The number of specialty shops increased 19X between 2001ㅡ2015

Paying for Experience
Millennials and Gen-Z are willing to pay more for a unique coffee experience ㅡ a trend that’s proven true in the past 100 years of coffee prices per cup
1920: $1.95*
2018: $3.17
40% of millennials spend more on coffee than on saving for retirement

Convenience is Key
People are on the go more than ever before, so quick turn-around from ordering to drinking is more important than it has ever been
In 2016, more than 6 million mobile orders were placed per month via Starbucks’ app
Ready-to-drink coffee is a burgeoning market that has grown 93% since 2012

Environmentally Friendly
Concerns about climate change and sustainability affect how we source and drink our coffee
66% say they are willing to pay more for services and products from companies committed to having a positive environmental impact
Starbucks plans to entirely eliminate plastic straws by 2020

Coffee culture is constantly evolving to serve our changing lifestyles. What will come next?

Coffee Culture