Few food and beverage options enjoy the iconic status of coffee. Indeed, coffee is so important to so many people around the world that it has its very own culture. The coffee culture differs slightly from one nation to the next, yet each subculture has one thing in common: the enjoyment of coffee goes right to the heart of what makes us who we are.
The earliest records of utilizing the coffee plant to create a beverage date back to the Middle East in the mid-to-late 15th century. From there, coffee spread to northern Africa, Indonesia, Europe and, eventually, America. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the rise of coffee as an international beverage is the fact that what we know as the coffee culture did not really begin until after World War II. Prior to that, coffee was just another hot beverage that people drank.
Coffee Consumption in America
Coffee was not all that popular in America until the start of the Revolutionary war. Despite being very popular in Europe, especially in places like Italy and the Netherlands, American colonists still preferred tea until the beginning of the Revolution. But with the Revolution came a new fondness for coffee. The combination of tea shortages and a rejection of everything British led Americans to embrace this new hot beverage as a total tea replacement. We have not looked back since.
Fast forward to World War II and we discover how important a staple coffee was to the millions of soldiers fighting across Europe, Africa, and Asia. When those soldiers returned from the war, they brought their love of coffee back with them. Sitting down for good conversation with a hot cup of java quickly became a vital social experience between soldiers in the late 40s and early 50s. This is where the modern coffee culture was born.
The Local Coffee Housecoffee
The 1950s saw the emergence of the neighborhood diner and its coffee shop counterpart. That trend started in the U.S. before spreading to Australia, Italy, Japan and eventually most of Europe. People began meeting in small coffee shops just to enjoy a good cup and some conversation.
The late 1970s and early 80s took the new coffee culture to the next level by introducing flavored brews and complex blends created by mixing different beans from multiple growers around the world. Coffee shops in cities such as New York and San Francisco encouraged consumers to try new coffee drinks in a more modern setting.
By the 1990s, coffee had become the go-to social beverage among young people. Companies like Starbucks – that were established as national franchises in the 70s and 80s – finally came into their own in the 90s. Today we find that coffee is still just as trendy and competitive as it was three decades ago.
The coffee culture has certainly evolved drastically over the last 80 years. Here at Galaxie Coffee, we are looking forward to where it goes over the next several decades.