Coffee Consumption

Coffee Consumption

In Australian society today it is very common for people to meet over a cup of coffee in a cafe. This essay will firstly touch on the history of the growing of coffee and its consumption. The essay will then explore the rituals and relationships that occur through café culture and link this to Symbolic Interactionism as well as discuss coffee in relation to Globalisation Theory, and in particular to Ritzer’s McDonaldisation theory. It will conclude with the argument that the consumption of coffee is not only limited to people’s enjoyment of flavour or the feeling that caffeine provides, but is a social interaction in itself.

Coffee is native to the mountains of Ethiopia, with the first historical records of it being roasted and brewed by the 1500’s. According to Mark Pendergrast, author of Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World, the general consensus is that coffee beans were then transported from Ethiopia, across the Red Sea to Yemen. For a time no fertile beans were exported, but an Indian pilgrim took fertile seeds to India and began the growing of coffee plants. The consumption of coffee then spread to England and to Europe by 1650. It is said that by the year 1700 there were over 2000 coffee house in London alone (ABC Rear Vision, 2009).
Coffee beans are now grown in the area between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, in countries which are (mostly) developing. According to the International Coffee Organisation, Brazil produced and exported the most coffee beans in 2012 (International Coffee Organisation)
With an emphasis on the Fair Trade movement, whereby companies are expected to conform to minimum standards of pay & appropriate treatment of staff, there appears to be a growing focus on the responsibility of the people both producing and drinking coffee. Coffee is the most consumed product in the fair trade movement’s home of Europe and is spreading to North American markets (Raynolds 2002, 404).

A cup of coffee...

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