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What your cup of coffee says about you

What your cup of coffee says about you
The coffee market has, like any other, been influenced by economic tides and market demand. It saw some tough times from 2011 to 2013 and then, in 2014, prices went up and demand followed suit. 
According to the International Coffee Organisation (ICO) total demand in 2013 was estimated at 146.1 million bags and has grown steadily at around 2.1% per annum ever since with consumption growth sitting at around 2.5% per year.

A trend that the ICO predicts is unlikely to slow down any time soon. So what is it about a cup of coffee that keeps people coming back for more, and why has coffee adoption in South Africa shifted from the instant generation to the espresso double macchiato?

“Coffee has the power to transport you from the mundane to the memorable,” said Darren Levy, CEO of vida e caffè. “Sitting at a coffee shop and watching the world go by while appreciating the distinctive flavour of a cup of java captures a moment in time, allows you to relax and appreciate time as it slips by. It is more than just a pick me up and a get out of bed, it can also be a treat and a reward, and a way of connecting with other people.”


According to psychologist Karen Apker, the success of coffee lies around how most people have bought into the social and personal narratives surrounding the beverage as taught and advertised by media, socialisation and family traditions.
“These projections are often internalised to form part of a person’s day-to-day reality and identity, much like comfort food and emotional eating, coffee can play a similar role in meeting a person’s emotional needs,” says Apker.

“Having a bad day or feeling stressed? Let’s have a cup of coffee. It is also used as a social tool and a way of engaging with other people. To some degree it acts as a catalyst and provides safety in social situations.”

Coffee has created its own vibrant culture. It has spawned websites and fan forums. It has an image and a following. There are snobs and aficionados, there are brands and there are spaces where coffee is an experience, not just a flavour.

And, according to a study released by clinical psychologist Dr Ramani Durvasula, the type of coffee selected reveals a lot about the personality of the drinker.

Those who prefer a cup of black coffee are likely to be more old school, enjoy keeping things simple and are both patient and efficient.  The latte or cappuccino drinker is a comfort seeker and people pleaser who will go out of their way to help others.

Frozen or blended drinks indicate a person who is spontaneous and imaginative, while the decaf soy or very specific coffee order reveals someone who likes to be in control and monitors their health very closely.

“The global shift away from the ‘instant’ blends of coffee beans and chicory to pure coffee has opened up a world of choice for the coffee lover,” said Renzo Scribante, MD, Rembrothers.

“Ordering a bespoke coffee has become an opportunity to express individuality. Skinny latte? Double espresso? Caramel macchiato? All of these preferences say as much about the drinker as the clothes they wear, the cars they drive, where they choose to live and where they go to be seen.”

Explains Levy, “Coffee has become an art form and people appreciate art, especially when its taste is so individual. It has become such an integral part of society it has featured in some of the most memorable television moments and inspired people to become involved in its production and creation. At vida we have seen such success with our brand – we’ve recently launched our 100th store with Shell,” he said.

Apker adds another dimension to the allure of coffee – its impact on our bodies. Coffee stimulates the release of the neurotransmitter, Dopamine, which produces euphoria and pleasant feelings – often these are associated with that first, much needed, cup in the morning.

“Coffee makes us feel good because it taps into virtually every reward system in the brain.”

“There is no doubt that coffee is a sustainable trend,” said Mikhael Bou Rjeily, Founder and co-owner of Mischu. “It is a language of its own and is always evolving with new coffee brewing methods and equipment such as the aeropress, chemex and cold brew. It is the best addiction in the world – it smells and tastes like heaven and comes in at a reasonable price.”

More on coffee

How drought, the rand and Starbucks will impact the price of coffee in SA

How much money South Africans are willing to pay for Starbucks coffee

How much Starbucks coffee could cost in South Africa

How many Starbucks stores will open in SA


BusinessTech's Staff Writer is directly plugged into the South African Internet backbone, and spits out press releases and other news as they receive it. They are believed to be cl...
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  • Space Chief

    Levy is shilling his business: “Coffee has become an art form and people appreciate art, especially
    when its taste is so individual. It has become such an integral part of
    society it has featured in some of the most memorable television moments
    and inspired people to become involved in its production and creation.
    At vida we have seen such success with our brand – we’ve recently
    launched our 100th store with Shell,” he said.

    Art form…. really? So is blowing your nose before wiping it down. You’re gonna trivialise art this way…. dilute it to this… just like Hollywood. They produce mostly mass market stuff, just like you, you follow a formula and there is a fixed number of choices depending on how much foam, milk, sugar, coffee, etc. It’s not art, neither is plumbing.

    Featured in some of the most memorable television commercials…. as has almost everything else.

    It’s something which is there. Usually booze is off limits in family friendly settings, where you have to drive and obviously have to work. So a warm beverage… what could it be… coffee, tea and hot chocolate. People eat and drink in social occasions or just to pass time and so on. This is not art.

    The movement to coffee bars of the mass same formula American variety, not the Italian/Parisian sort, but this, is part of globalisation. It’s pushing this type of almost elitist thing onto people to make them feel special, feel good so they can spend their money on this and other stuff and still feel important meanwhile they’re usually drones in cubicles or busy working class people with little left over at the end of the day. But at least they feel special for a moment.

    Integral part of society … together with a million other things, again hype.

    • ian shaw

      Try the Italian Favourite (at Checkers it costs R86 for medium strength) but its name escapes me. It is much better than the vaunted “single source country” coffees. I found most of them mediocre, perhaps with the exception of Brazilian. (I use an aluminium coffee maker, not a plunge one). The Checkers house-brand instant with chicory is surprisingly strong, but it lacks flavour. I see the rapid acceptance of coffee capsules, In a free tasting session, however, I did not think it worthwhile to invest R`1000 or more in a capsule machine. The only really good Italian coffee machine is far too expensive for home use.

  • James Dean

    Boredom also makes one eat and drink and coffee I’d say is the first option for a drink.

    • The God Father

      Agreed

  • Willo

    Nothing as refreshing as a cup of tea.

    • ian shaw

      This is true. Although I am a coffee enthusiast, whenever tension headache strikes, a good strong cup of Joko relieves the pain while in my experience, coffee would make it worse.

    • Prince Valiant

      Rooibos for me. Thanks

      • Hennie

        You have the answer my friend.

  • Pieter

    What they don’t say is that too much coffee can have the opposite effect. It can cause tiredness and in some cases depression. It does make you more alert because it put you in “fight mode” but, with “fight mode” also becomes increased stress levels in order to be alert. Thus if you drink coffee when stressed , you add stress to stress. Coffee in moderation is wonderful, but be careful for too much. Myself an coffee addict and experienced the negative effects of too much. Life is too short to have a bad cup of coffee, but do it in moderation.

  • Gary

    A coffee a day keeps the blues away!!! That is why I have 1 every morning.

  • Hennie

    Anything in moderation is good for you, that’s why I gave up smoking because if you’re hooked you have no control on the amount of cigarettes you smoke.

  • the-TRUTH

    Coffee no thanks. Tea maybe. Water, a big yes…
    Booze, a big no!!!

    • Wurnman

      Jack Daniels… Ol’ No 7

  • Faiza Mallick
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