Oh No, First the Wine Snob Now the Posh Coffee Bore

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), June 29, 2006 | Go to article overview

Oh No, First the Wine Snob Now the Posh Coffee Bore


Byline: By Sally Williams Western Mail

Coffee is so popular it is being dubbed 'the new wine' and Wales is producing a nation of connoisseurs, a study reveals today.

Welsh coffee drinkers have moved on from being satisfied with a spoonful of instant.

They now seek out new bean varieties from exotic destinations across the globe.

Research by coffee makers Percol shows the average Welsh household now stocks three different varieties of coffee in their kitchens.

And in Wales, Americano is the coffee that we love the most.

It is known for its dark and full taste, with up-front flavours of bitter chocolate and hazelnut, with a smooth and rounded finish.

Brian Chapman of Percol said, 'Coffee is where wine was 20 years ago.

'Coffee drinkers have moved on from blended coffees and are now willing to explore different terrain and regions in their quest for a high-quality-tasting coffee.

'Coffee is also becoming very much like wine, with drinkers becoming more discerning, looking for particular flavours.

'And they are becoming more adventurous all the time.

'We have found that people are increasingly interested in where their coffee comes from as they become more influenced by Fairtrade and a desire to be a responsible consumer.'

The arrival of American-style chains like Starbucks and Costa Rica Coffee have been credited with enriching consumer interest in coffee, which is already the second-most-traded commodity in the world, behind oil.

The UK's coffee shop market is now worth pounds 450m, a rise of 109% since 1999.

Growth has been phenomenal even when inflation is taken into account, with the sector experiencing a rise of 75% in real terms over the same period, according to Mintel.

There are around 1,600 branded coffee shops in the UK.

And householders who prefer to drink coffee at home now grind their own coffee beans to suit their sophisticated tastebuds.

Over two-thirds of the kitchens surveyed stocked ground beans and the most popular countries of origin were Colombia and Mexico.

Richard Clarke, news editor of The Grocer, said he had to admit that the image of coffee is now far more cool than that of tea.

He said Welsh consumers' interest was being fuelled by their trips abroad to coffee-making and drinking regions of the world, from a volcanic area of Nicaragua to the hustle and bustle of the streets of New York.

Mr Clarke said, 'People are travelling more, and when they do they try out different styles and blends of coffee.

'This trend has spread through the ubiquitous coffee bars that have sprung up in the UK, that sell their coffee in a very specific way. …

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