Posted in Kafevend Blog
There was a time a few centuries ago when coffee was quite a trendy drink in the UK, but unfortunately for the coffee traders tea came to prominence as the nation's preferred brew- its association with the royalty probably helped out somewhat. Coffee has since been making something of a comeback, thanks in part to chains such as Costa and Starbucks which have introduced alternative (slightly sugary) coffee cultures, but particularly to US servicemen who came here during WW2.
The typical method of coffee preparation for Americans has always been ground coffee. For soldiers this wasn't typically an option however, and they were supplied with instant coffee. When they came to the UK during the latter part of WW2, they introduced instant coffee to us Britons. Despite its bitterness, we thought it was pretty swish, no doubt to the bemusement of the soldiers who were used to a finer cup of coffee. The ease of instant coffee appealed to many and it was quickly taken up in households around the country. It still makes up around three quarters of all the coffee we buy despite the rise of the coffee shop chains, and many companies are trying to get rid of its (contextually) bad image by using arabica beans and alternative methods of production.
Interestingly, the sales of our old favourite, black tea, have gone down in recent years whilst alternatives such as whole leaf and herbal teas have increased. That is certainly the case here, as I've tried more types of chai and pot-pourri-looking stuff in recent months than I can shake a stick at.