A couple weeks ago, I asked you all if you would fill in a little coffee survey I was conducting. I owe you all a great big THANK YOU because you came through for me and then some! There was a great diversity amongst the responses that was truly illuminating. Today, I’m excited to share a few interesting facts about how we drink our coffee.
In addition to asking blog readers, I posted my survey on twitter, facebook, had my mother send it out to some students and encouraged my father to send it to all his coffee-drinking friends. I wanted to get as many people from as many coffee drinking backgrounds as possible to answer it.
The most interesting thing about the answers were the overlap demonstrated between what we perceive as Italian and American coffee culture. Lots of the traits that seem different are really the same but repackaged for another culture. We all participate in the coffee world with the same motivations, but these motivations lead us to different outcomes depending on our cultural atmosphere.
Most people drink coffee in mid-morning with a handful of you saying that you may also go for a cup in the mid afternoon. Well, Italians would do the same thing, only their break wouldn’t be to get a grande latte from Starbucks, but a small plastic cup from the espresso vending machine in their office. Perhaps, with a bit more time, they would run out to the nearest bar to throw back a quick shot.
Americans and Italians may do different things whilst drinking coffee — Americans definitely work more when having coffee, I’m doing that right now — but they both say they will drink coffee to relax. An American relaxing with a cup of coffee may choose to read a book, whilst an Italian may be with friends or chatting with the barista. That being said, a good handful of Americans will use coffee as a procrastination excuse.
The biggest difference between Americans and Italians when it comes to coffee drinking seems to be our relative indifference to where we drink it. Sure, we have a few cafes we prefer, but we’ll go more or less anywhere for a good cup of coffee. Italians seem to be more loyal to their local bar.
We all like to drink coffee for the taste, but the habit and ritual is also important. The majority of us began drinking coffee whilst we were under eighteen, starting in college if we didn’t in high school. Perhaps the largest surprise for me, however, was that you guys don’t remember your first coffee experiences. I remember mine like it was yesterday!
Didn’t take the survey and want to see it for yourself? Look over here!
Do you remember when you began drinking coffee?