For many caffeine lovers, coffee drinking is less of a habit and more of a sacred ritual. This is certainly true for Spiller & Tait customers, who tell us they savour the daily ritual of making and drinking coffee as an antidote to the stresses and strains of their busy lives. This year, we want you to tell us about your coffee rituals so we can share them with others and celebrate our evolving UK home coffee culture. Scroll to the bottom and take action!
The history of coffee rituals around the world gives an intimate view into the lives of coffee drinkers who came before us. A look at these ancient rituals reveals that past societies saw drinking coffee as a beneficial pastime for various social, intellectual, commercial, artistic and spiritual reasons.
In the home of coffee, Ethiopia, the coffee ceremony is still the main social event of a village each day. Coffee and water are the primary ingredients, but depending on the location, people may add in spices. Traditionally, women roast the green coffee beans in a pan over an open flame, right before eager guests’ eyes. Next, the beans are ground in a wooden mortar with a pestle. These grounds are then crushed with a heavy metal rod in a metal bowl before brewing. The grinds are boiled with hot water in a decorated container. Cardamom, cinnamon and cloves are often added to the coffee as it begins to crack upon roasting and the coffee is served black by the women to all villagers, young and old.
In Saudi Arabia, coffee started out as a drink for mystics. Sufi mystics across the Arabian peninsula felt coffee enhanced their concentration and the depth of their spiritual connection with God. Yemenis gave coffee an Arabic name: qahwa. Water, coffee and cardamom were the key ingredients in a beverage that fuelled the intellectual thought of the gathered mystics. To make qahwa, coffee is added to water and left to boil for approximately 10 minutes. Then crushed cardamom and pinches of saffron are added to the beverage for flavouring and left to steep.
Western civilisations also have a long tradition of coffee rituals, now described as Coffee Culture. Coffeehouses in Western Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean were traditionally social hubs, as well as artistic and intellectual centres. In the late 17th and 18th centuries, coffeehouses in London became popular meeting places for artists, writers and socialites, and were also the centre for much political and commercial activity. Elements of today's coffeehouses (slower paced gourmet service, tastefully decorated environments, or social outlets such as open mic nights) have their origins in early coffeehouses, and continue to form part of the concept of Coffee Culture.
More recently, in the United States in particular, Coffee Culture is frequently used to describe the presence of hundreds of espresso stands and coffee shops in metropolitan areas and the spread of franchises such as Starbucks and their clones. Other aspects of this Coffee Culture ritual includes the presence of free wireless Internet access for customers, many of whom do business in these locations for hours on a regular basis.
Coffee cultures continue to vary significantly by country, but what really interests us at S&T is the rapid rise of new coffee rituals in homes and offices in the UK. Influenced by their exposure to gourmet high street coffee, UK coffee lovers are turning their backs on the convenience of instant coffee, in favour of the wonderful flavours of fresh coffee. But, many of these customers also tell how much they relish the act of making and drinking coffee, as a break from the stresses of daily life.
The concentration needed to balance all the factors required for a perfect tasting cafetière coffee, served in a favourite mug, creates a meditative state for some. Others enjoy watching the slow bubbling of their fresh coffee in their V60 dripper then savouring the drink as they watch, through their window, the world rushing by. While social animals create an extra-large pot of filter coffee to share during a break with colleagues over a natter at their desks.
In 2018, we plan to celebrate our customers’ coffee rituals in a series of customer stories, photos and videos designed to entertain and inspire others to view their coffee breaks as an opportunity for community connection, artistic inspiration, personal reflection, spiritual enlightenment or just a fun interlude.
Take Action - share your rituals with us:
Join us in our Celebration of Home Coffee Culture by sharing your coffee rituals with us. Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org describing how you take your coffee. Or better still, show us by sending some photos or a short video taken on your smart phone. Get your friends or colleagues involved, and watch our website to see these stories emerge.
Note: Please only share stories that you are happy to be shared with other customers via our Spiller & Tait website, social media and Our Community.
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