From frothy cappuccinos to lattés, coffee plays an important role in lubricating the minds of desk-bound workers and the conversations of mums the land over. As I write this, hundreds of hipsters are walking into their neighbourhood coffee shop and ordering their daily flat white.
We asked Peter Dore-Smith, founder of Kaffeine and a happily exiled Australian, for his opinion on the future of the not-so-humble bean.
TASTE What do you think the future will hold for the coffee industry in the UK?
PDS The UK industry is in a fantastic place at the moment. More cafés and roasteries will open with more and more investment in the near future and I think it will quickly catch up with what's happening in Australia and New Zealand. In general people are becoming more interested in food, provenance and also in spaces to socialise.
TASTE In what ways are Australia and New Zealand ahead?
PDS One immediate difference is the amount of roasteries. Take New Zealand for example: for a population of 3million there is somewhere around 200 roasteries. In London there are only seven or eight perhaps; Square Mile, Monmouth, etc. In spite of this the industry looks to London more and more as to how a café culture operates and evolves.
TASTE We've seen an explosion in the London coffee culture you mention. Do you think the capital has an appetite for more coffee shops?
PDS I think independent cafés will continue to appear, I think there were 20-30 in the last year. People look at cafés as a smart business opportunity, there will always be people who want to launch this type of business, as to some extent they see it as a lifestyle.
TASTE Do you think that customer demand matches this growth?
PDS I believe that customer demand will continue to drive the market and as it does you'll see more and more people wanting to know about the provenance of the coffee, getting more interested in single origin etc. We've even seen through the rise of Nespresso how people have now come to expect good coffee at home.
TASTE Finally, we've seen the rise of the cappuccino, latté and now the flat white. Do you think there will ever be a drink to overtake the popularity of the flat white?
PDS I can't imagine so, it accounts for about 30% of what we serve.