When thinking about the social effects of coffee, one can not ignore how this delightful substance invaded the lives of so many of us for more than 600 years!
That’s a staggering number, wherever you go around the globe, you will find coffee in every corner. It has become a “centerpiece” of society’s daily routines and rituals.
Some use it to wake up, for the flavor and aroma, some for the alertness boost it provides, and some for an energy boost after lunch.
If you visit a busy Starbucks store, walk around the tables, and observe.
You will see the student studying, a couple enjoying a chat, a writer finishing a book, friends having a good time and a business deal closed in agreement, and much more blooming social interactions.
The secret lies in the fact that coffee and caffeine, the world’s most consumed legal psychoactive drug, stimulates our brains and enhances our mood, increase alertness, and many health benefits that come with it.
A Sense of Community And Friendship
Taking away all the physical and physiological effects of coffee, one can not but stress the fact that coffee is and will always be a social trigger.
We live in the age of isolation; if you are a parent, you would agree that your kids prefer video games over hanging out with friends playing football.
Walking down the street, notice how many are glued to their smartphones using every sort of “digital communication” medium.
In brief, we seem to be talking and communicating less with each other becoming less and less the social beings that we should be.
Thankfully, we have coffee to compensate. Many well-known coffeehouse’s goals are to create a social retreat, a “third place” environment as Starbucks Coffee & Tea names it. A place to relax, socialize and enjoy the quality time together.
What do stressed colleagues, arguing couples, intellectuals, book writers, musicians, and business people have in common?
They all wind up at their favorite coffee shop sitting together and going over whatever is on their minds, to be creative, to resolve conflicts, and to close business deals.
“Let’s talk about his over a cup of coffee,” did you hear this phrase before? YES, and I bet you, many times. It is this social behavior that defines what the social impact of coffee on an individual level is.
Twitter, a social network used by most of us, has an abundance of tweets related to coffee!
Husband & wife, best friends, worshipers of Jesus, pastors & artists, enjoying people, coffee, music & giving our lives to the adventure God’s created us for.”
Enjoying good coffee & company along the way ”
Writing, enjoying good coffee, connecting with interesting people. Does it get any better than this? ”
Freelance journalist/film critic/part-time snob from Bristol, UK. Just sitting here, enjoying my coffee.”
Passion. Passion about coffee, social media, music, movies, makeup, and enjoying flavors. C’est quoi la vie si on n’a pas de passion? ”
Mum, sometimes HR bod, property investor & volunteer. Loves life, sleep, captivating books, proper coffee, earrings. Enjoying a long break from monotony.”
These are only a few of thousands of tweets mentioning coffee from people of different walks of life, profession, religion, and nationalities.
The Coffee Association of Canada states that coffee is the most consumed drink among Canadian adults, even more than tap water! Please take a look at the stats they published recently.
The Coffee Industry in Canada:
- $6.2 billion industry
- $4.8 billion sales in Foodservice
- $1.4 billion transactions in Grocery / Retail Sales
Coffee Creates Jobs in Canada:
- 160,000+ jobs in Cafes and Coffee Shops
- 5,000+ jobs in Manufacturing and Roasting
- 5,000+ independent café and coffee shop owners and several thousand franchise owner-operators
- Attractive entry-level positions for young people
- Jobs in support sectors such as packaging, cup suppliers, food manufacturing, etc.
As for the Coffee Industry in the USA, the numbers are even more staggering.
The Coffee Industry in the USA:
- The coffee industry economic impact in 2015 was $225.2 Billion
- Coffee commercial activities consist of 1.6% of the total U.S GDP C
- Consumers spent $74.2 Billion on coffee in 2015
- Responsible for 1,694,710 jobs in the US economy
- Generates $28 billion in taxes
So what do the numbers mean? Aside from the economic impact, coffee puts food on the table for thousands of families. Helps young people start a part-time or a full-time job until they graduate, improving the lives of many, and impacting hundreds of related businesses.
The social impact connection here is fascinating; coffee gets people together, creates jobs, help other business strive.
Cafe Trottoir / Parisian Cafe
Since the 17th century, Parisian cafes became the focal point of culinary and social life in Paris. Serving as a meeting place, networking hub, place to relax, and political gatherings of the city.
It is typical, in Parisian Cafes, to sit for hours, watching people going by relaxing by just observing things happening while having a cup of coffee. Usually sitting outside the store, hence the terminology “Cafe Trottoire,” which stands for “Sidewalk Coffeehouse.”
That does not stop here; Paris cafes do serve a complete restaurant menu with meals around the clock along with wine, beer, and deserts.
Some of the cafes are still operating since 1686, most notably Café Procope, Café de la Paix since 1862, Les Deux Magots since 1884. Quite an impressively long history, these coffeehouses witnessed many significant events in the history of France and Europe.
Coffee In Middle Eastern Societies
Ahh!! That’s a whole different story. A few years ago, I visited a friend of mine, Tony, in Beirut, Lebanon, and was stunned by the amount of coffee that I had to consume in a single day.
Lebanese people are hospitable by nature, and the way they prepare coffee that is so unique, rich in flavor, and a strong aroma.
Lebanese coffee or Turkish coffee is brewed using superfine ground beans; 3 to 4 teaspoons in a small coffee pot boiled for 5 to 6 minutes is all it takes to delight any coffee lover.
During my stay in Beirut, I noticed that coffee is everywhere and a daily companion for every family. My friend told me that from a very young age, he remembers waking up to a coffee smell engulfing the house, so strong and so attractive.
With tears in his eyes, Tony said: “Watching my Grandmother Theresa, mesmerized by how joyful, relaxed, and talkative she became from the first sip.”
North of Beirut, coffee habits are even more intense; they serve it in shots. Small porcelain cups, where you have to drink it all at once to get another one within minutes, and it goes on.
Families here gather around coffee, share joyous memories, a good laugh, and tons of stories of old!
A Moment of Joy!
We, the human race, have things to bond us more than we can imagine. While social media and the world wide web connects us digitally, coffee went above and beyond technology and infiltrated our moments wherever we are.
The social impacts of coffee are seen all over the world.
American or European, Arab or Asian, African or North American, Christians, Muslims, Jews, and Buddhists all of us love coffee.
We all long for moments of joy and laughter, human connection, family gatherings, or a simple face to face chat with a close friend.
Do you have nostalgic memories linked to coffee? Did you ever close the deal of a lifetime over a coffee cup?
Maybe you met your soulmate in a coffee shop?
You are invited to share all your experiences in the comments box!