Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Coffee Shops Just Keep on Buzzing; Even Hard Times Can't Curb Our Thirst for Daily Cappuccino

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Coffee Shops Just Keep on Buzzing; Even Hard Times Can't Curb Our Thirst for Daily Cappuccino

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Prynn and Emine Sinmaz

IT IS the one treat that few of us are prepared to give up -- even in the most austere of economic hard times.

New research shows that Londoners are more addicted than ever to their daily latte, cappuccino or flat white and are searching out quality coffees.

Sales are up overall by about 10 per cent and a new wave of artisan espresso chains has sprung up in London despite fears of a "double dip" recession.

About 35 independent coffee bars opened in London last year compared with 56 cafes belonging to big chains.

However, they are increasingly second or third branches of bars set up by passionate "caffeine-heads".

Laura Tolley, co-owner of the boutique coffee chain Taylor St Baristas, has just opened her seventh branch in Canary Wharf and is set to open a barista training school next month.

Ms Tolley, 30, from West Kensington, said: "We haven't suffered in the recession at all, we even opened a new cafe in Canary Wharf a few weeks ago.

"The food and coffee trade just don't seem to be dipping -- in fact, we're getting busier and busier.

"People come here for the experience and the quality of the coffee. We're located near offices and people like to come out for fresh air and a coffee, or they pop in before they go to work in the morning. I think some people do it more out of force of habit than a caffeine fix.

"People are also becoming more educated on what kind of coffee they want. They want a more sophisticated coffee and some of those larger chains just don't cut it any more. It takes us three to six months to train a barista -- it's a lot more than just pressing a button."

There are 1,522 chain coffee shops in London, almost one third of the national total, according to the report Project Cafe 11 from consultants Allegra Strategies. …

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