Italian roast coffee consumption has doubled
Both the consumption of Italian roast coffee
and the sales of moka (Italian stovetop coffee-makers) and espresso machines have doubled in just a few short years in Germany (the largest market in Europe according to market research institute GFK) and this trend is spreading throughout the world. Even in Asia, where tea is sacrosanct, the consumption of coffee is increasing by leaps and bounds, according to the International Coffee Organization, with a 4 percent annual increase year after year.
Similar name, the price less so
While the name is comparable all over the world, there are as many ways of making and enjoying coffee as there are variations in price. For example, in Australia the price of coffee has increased
more than 15 percent in a single year, while in the United States for two years it has been falling. Coffee, grown in the Ethiopian province of Caffa, is called Qahwa in Arabic, coffee in Anglo-Saxon countries, Ca Phe in Vietnam (the second largest producer and exporter in the world), and kopi in Malaysia. Local variations with similar-sounding pronunciations; today the term “espresso” has also become more widely used.
Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia have in common that they each share the custom of drinking the beverage with others in a social setting. This communal habit has endured wars and even the most disastrous world crises
. While 200 million workers are employed directly in coffee production, there has been a sharp increase as well in the sectors of processing, consumption, catering and local establishments where it is served, that has created an incredible and growing number of jobs – estimated between 20 and 23 million.
From gossip to Cuban cigars
The strongest example of conviviality comes, surprisingly, from Germany (with more than 7 kg of coffee per person drunk each year) where the term for a get-together for coffee, particularly when referring to a group of women, is Kaffeklatsch, or “gossip over coffee.” Sipping the aromatic beverage alone is less enjoyable and that’s why from the beginning the first coffee bars began to offer cakes and pastries (in Cuba, on the other hand, it is almost a requirement to smoke a strong-smelling cigar) to entice a pleasant mix of men and women. These local public places started in the 1800s in Constantinople, Venice, Vienna, Paris and London where they quickly multiplied, where the fashion of making and drinking the dark beverage was adapted to local customs which rapidly became the norm at home as well.
Meditating under Bedouin tents
For centuries, in Bedouin tents around Dubai, coffee was prepared in three phases both to help meditation and in honor of guests, utilizing a boiling technique. “The first time is strong like life, the second like love and the third like death.” Even though it’s a stimulant, the dark concoction has been used since the 1400s by Sufi mystics to assist in concentration. Coffee was made by infusion in Europe, North Africa and Africa where it was common to add – according to the individual drinker’s taste - salt, sugar, honey
, butter, cardamom, whole cloves or cinnamon. In Cuba, at the noted cafè Escorial, the ritual of strong black boiling-hot coffee was further enhanced with a selection of fine cigars.
With sugar and pistachios
Of course, the most ancient styles of making coffee come from the Middle East and Africa where it originated, although only 12 percent of the world’s supply is produced there. All of Africa, particularly North Africa, has seen double digit increases in consumption (more than 50 percent in eight years), but with a negative element: exports have not seen the dynamic growth curves found elsewhere primarily due to local warfare.
For centuries, coffee has been synonymous, both at home and in public houses, with the Turkish beverage served in metal cups, heavily sweetened, with two fingers of coffee grounds (to leave at the bottom) and flavored with pistachios, most famously at the Ark Kahveshi in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. A curious fact is that Turkey’s coffee consumption is very low at barely 550 grams per capita. In the Arabian peninsula the three phase coffee ritual that entails frequent shaking of the boiling-hot urn, starts with an additional step: to calm guests’ fears of any nasty surprises, the host is the first to taste the beverage.
Coffee to combat northern chill
The most avid coffee consumers are not, as one would think, Italians or Arabs, but rather the residents of northern Europe, with Finland in first place with an annual consumption per capita of 12 kg, followed by the rest of northern Europe. Masses and religious ceremonies typically end with drinking coffee in such abundance that it is sometimes referred to as the third sacrament of the Finnish Lutheran Church.
Meanwhile in the US, the presence in every household of a filter coffeemaker demonstrates the widespread habit of offering and drinking the steaming beverage on every occasion. More than 54 percent of adults – approximately 110 million people – drink coffee daily, men more so than women, more than three cups a day for the majority. But for the true disciples of the coffee bean, Americans commit a sacrilege: reheating it continuously so that it loses its aroma and flavor.
In Hong Kong, only for couples and mixed with tea
A large factor in the economic expansion of coffee cultivation is the diffusion in bars and bistros, as well as at home, the morning and afternoon rituals of a steaming cupful. Because of this, Europe has maintained record consumption levels with Finland in the lead, followed by Germany with 7 kg per capita per year, immediately followed by France with 5.4 kg. Italy drinks 4.8 kg and, in addition to straight coffee, has also spread the fashionable habit of cappuccino, now imitated all over the world.
In the winter there is the custom of imbibing Irish coffee, made with whiskey, that was first offered by Pan Am to console passengers whose flights were cancelled. And while in Senegal coffee is made with Longorum pepper that is claimed to have medicinal properties, the oddest blend may be that of Hong Kong, where consumed on the street is a mix of tea, sweetened condensed milk and coffee, and is considered a drink only for couples.
China, the world’s largest market
China, with its dizzying growth of 15 percent annual growth for some time now (compared to a worldwide increase of two percent), is becoming such an important market that all the major coffee shop chains worldwide have rushed to open spacious coffee bars in metropolitan cities. Korean, American, European and Chinese coffee house proprietors are constructing lavishly furnished, fashionable spaces, resulting in a spiral of ever higher prices. Luckily, even the most casual drinking spots have begun to have Italian espresso machines while the moka has become a fixture in many homes. The world market in fact now depends less on price and market speculation, rather by how and where the habit of coffee and cappuccino for varied occasions continues to broaden its global appeal.
Use, quality, cultures, flavor, methods of making coffee: the Cluster Coffee Expo Milano 2015
is a unique exhibition space, to discover the world in an espresso cup.