As a final year student I am not alone in saying that coffee is an essential part of my day…
Whether I am in uni and about to go to a lecture or I am in the library trying to make a start on an assignment, I NEED a coffee. Anyone who drinks coffee will understand the feeling. Everyone associates coffee with one word – Caffeine.
Caffeine is one of the most widely consumed drugs, noted for its ability to promote wakefulness and provide energy.
It seems over night that the coffee culture has exploded into life. While there are so many international coffee chains spread across the UK and Ireland, there is also more and more local start up coffee shops which is refreshing to see. The next time you are grabbing a coffee and not in a rush, look out for one of the local coffee houses instead. Your custom may actually be helping to pay for a youngsters pair of football boots, or dance lessons. It makes a change from giving your money to a multi-million pound established organisation!It is more common now than ever before that people will go to coffee houses with friends for a social experience. It is a meeting point and routine for some people. Then there are people who go alone- maybe to get some work done, maybe just to relax and for a change of scenery.
The UK and Ireland were traditionally known as tea drinkers. For a long time Ireland were second only to Turkey in terms of tea consumption per person. (This probably explains why every time you go to a friend or relatives house you are asked 4 or 5 times if you would like a cup of tea).
The coffee drinking craze is largely down to the amount of cafes available to people in towns and cities. In 2013 there was almost 4000 tonnes of coffee consumed in Ireland alone, that is a staggering amount for a country so small. The coffee shop market in Ireland for 2015 was valued at around £85 million and was continuing to grow every year.
The next step in order to keep up globally is to increase the amount of speciality coffee houses which may lead to more in-home coffee brewing. Many countries around the world take coffee very seriously and have cafes that only offer certain types of coffee depending on the time of year, mainly down to growing conditions.
Coffee in Italy
Italy is a fascinating country when it comes to coffee. It is like a religion to them. They drink coffee every day and very often more than once. In the summer months you can find men sitting outside a coffee shop chatting and sipping on their drinks as if they were in a beer garden. It was while holidaying in Italy that I became curious about coffee and the culture behind it. I became curious about how it is made and why people are so dependant on it. The Italians believe that you should only drink a cappuccino, cafe latte, latte macchiato or any milky form of coffee in the morning and never after having a meal. They would seriously frown upon the thought of milk touching the stomach after having a meal during the day. Maybe you will be more Italian and consider this the next time you are ordering a caramel latte while evening shopping!
Saying as you have made it this far, have a look at how to make the perfect Irish Coffee! (Ingredients and preparation from The Irish Times)
40ml Irish whiskey
120ml freshly brewed coffee
20ml demerara sugar syrup or demerara sugar, to taste cream
Freshly grated nutmeg
Preheat a glass with some warm water and discard. Add the whiskey, demerara sugar syrup (or sugar), coffee and hot water and stir to combine.
Warm a large spoon and gently pour the cream over the back of the spoon to float on top of the coffee. Garnish with a light dusting of grated nutmeg.
It is absolutely fine if after reading this you feel you need a coffee, or some alcohol… whatever you are in to!
Daniel Lewis is a final year CAM student at Ulster University. He can be contacted at: LinkedIn