Cafe society has long been thought of as more the province of other European countries than the UK. Many British people have fond memories of holidays in Italy or Spain, soaking up the sun outside a picturesque café.

A New UK Coffee-Shop Culture

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But according to the Telegraph, coffee shops are now actually starting to replace pubs in the affections of the nation. This is a particularly interesting phenomenon when you consider that the British are amongst the lowest consumers of coffee in the whole of Europe.

Changes in Coffee-Drinking Trends

It appears that although Britons are not actually consuming more coffee per head, patterns of consumption are changing. Rather than drinking their coffee at home, many women in particular are starting to see the coffee shop as a social meeting place. Cafes are particularly appealing to stay-at-home parents as a place to meet up with like-minded friends and socialise. The coffee shop is vastly more family-friendly that the pub, which was generally seen as the default meeting place in years gone by. Coffee shops these days tend to offer high chairs and other children’s facilities, and it is this welcoming atmosphere which tends to appeal most to female customers. Costa Coffee, which was voted the country’s favourite coffee shop, prides itself on being child-friendly.

In fact, the family market is such a lucrative one that many establishments will go the extra mile to make sure that the smallest member of the party is always well catered for. It is not uncommon for coffee shops to provide a play area with books and toys for customers’ children, and of course baby changing facilities are generally attractive and well maintained.

Coffee Shops Offering a Wider Menu

As well as serving the wide range of coffees that one would expect, from lattes to espressos, the modern coffee shop boasts a new menu of child-friendly offerings – notably the “babyccino”. This consists of a drink of frothed milk (minus the caffeine), often with a sprinkling of chocolate on top. This allows the children to join in with the adults’ experience, although the more conventional juices are also generally available.  Juices are a good way to help with your “five a day” and if you struggle with getting your daily intake of vitamins and minerals one thing you could look into is supplements.  One company Blueiron sell an array of iron supplements for example.

As well as beverages, most coffee shops will also offer a choice of things to eat. Of course, sandwiches and cakes are a popular choice in this type of establishment, but many also have a range of hot choices such as jacket potatoes or soup. Often the all-important children’s menu will be available too.
So the coffee shop is truly here to stay. It is a much friendlier and more inclusive meeting place than the old male-dominated atmosphere of the local pub, and these days it welcomes a wide variety of customers, from stay-at-home mums to students and the elderly. It seems as if the days of the pub being the most popular meeting place are well and truly over.