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article imageThe coffee war rages on: London and New York battle it out

By Sam Wright     Feb 27, 2015 in Food
Though the UK has historically been amongst the lowest coffee consumers in the world, coffee culture has enjoyed a rapid expansion here, and now we find ourselves ramping up there with the caffeine-fuelled denizens of New York.
Coffee culture in London and New York
Coffee shops in the UK are becoming more popular than bars, an unthinkable phenomenon to many in these cities just a few years ago. In contrast to the UK, the United States has led the world coffee consumption since the late 18th century. Second only to oil as the world’s leading commodity, coffee beans represent political and economical power. It is perhaps no coincidence then that two of the world’s major financial powerhouses, consume the most cups of coffee on a daily basis. And the coffee cultures in London and New York show no signs of letting up.
Last year an infographic produced by coffee company Tassimo showed the coffee consumption, price and number of coffee shops in two of the world’s most powerful cities. Whilst 80 percent of Londoners enjoy a blend on a daily basis, New Yorkers consume more coffee individually, with 3.4 cups consumed per person compared with London’s 2.3 cups.
The two cities are also battling it out with coffee-related Guinness World records. In 2013, almost 105,000 New Yorkers participated in the world’s largest coffee break, whilst in London the world’s largest cup of coffee, weighing 12.8 tonnes, was unveiled in Montgomery Square.
Coffee shops get creative
The popularity of coffee houses as a social environment in New York and London has inspired a string of shop owners to create new and inventive locations.
In London, disused warehouses and old record shops are being renovated and put to better use whereas in New York, coffee drinkers can admire the majestic views over an aromatic blend. The tallest coffee house can be found at One World Trade Center.
The Big Apple also has the highest concentration of coffee shops and is more inventive with its choice of accompaniments. Forget cake and biscuits, the Queen’s Kickshaw in Astoria offers patrons a side of grilled cheese.
The rise of coffee house chains like Starbucks and Costa Coffee have had a huge role to play bedding in the coffee culture as a social pastime. Both companies are enjoying increased profits quarter on quarter, with Starbucks raking in an 82 percent increase in the final quarter of 2014.
There is little doubt that the coffee culture in both the US and the UK has evolved from the homes to cafes, and whilst New York has a lead over London in the coffee wars, the mindset of a tea drinking nation is significantly changing.
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