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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Mar 2008
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    Texas
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    American Coffee Culture

    Hey folks! I'm trying to generate discussion about the role of coffee in American culture. I'm asking questions such as, is there a coffee beverage social ladder? (Do different classes of people drink different drinks?) What would our world be like without coffee? Most importantly, why is America's culture so coffee-centric compared to other countries?
    I'm hoping to someday write a book on this topic, but for now, it's for a scholarship competition. I'd appreciate any leads, and would love some chat.
    I have posted an academic survey on the net.
    http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?s...Zw_2fC8A_3d_3d
    If you're shy about coffee views, I invite you to take this instead. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
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    126
    The social ladder kindof applies I guess, but at the same time it really does depend on preference of taste. Regular working folk ussually just get a cup of drip coffee, while more corporate appearing customers order the 2 page long orders. At the same time though personally I just outgrew the syrup trend, I just go with a cup of black coffee, a doppio espresso, or if I'm in certain moods a double 8oz dry capaccino.

    Many countries have coffee heavily infused into their cultures, not just america. Most of Europe (especially central) is widely known to have cafe's all over, and business is always profitable with a good product. In Italy it's common to sit and talk with someone for hours over a cup of coffee or two. Compared to America I'd say the biggest difference is lifestyle, here you'll see people getting the biggest possible cup in as little time as possible.

    Hope that helped, that's just my take on some of it.
    Life: cloudy days, coffee shops, the smell and feel of summer rain,
    abstract, rhythm, human synchronicity,
    quiet times, unexpected smiles.....

  3. #3
    Member
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    Jan 2008
    Location
    New Orleans
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    43
    I've been thinking about the culture differences between Starbucks and McDonalds. Whenever Starbucks' stock problems are discussed it is always pointed out that they are facinga major threat from McDonalds with their new, in store, coffee bars.

    I think it is not as much of a threat as the pundits like to make out.

    Why do I think this? Culture. Are there really that many SBUX affecianados who would savor a trip to McDonalds?

    (On the other side, wouldn't many McDonalds regulars think Starbucks is kind of silly?)

    Aren't there two different cultures here?

    Bill
    New Orleans

  4. #4
    Super Moderator
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    Feb 2008
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    Near Philadelphia, PA
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    4,750
    Hello,

    I just took the survey. It didn't take long to do.

    I think a lot of today's coffee culture is based on today's economy, especially when a specialty drink at Starbucks (or any other coffee house) costs as much as a loaf of bread. People have to make choices.

    I think there are many of people in this country who would love to be able to afford to pay $3.50 for a specialty coffee drink, but the best they can do is brew up some good old Maxwell House at home.

    Although many people enjoy the coffee house atmosphere, they can't afford to pay the coffee house prices. I've seen many folks go into a coffee house and say that they wish they could afford to buy an espresso, latte, or something else, but they end up asking for a cup of plain old drip coffee instead. I've "been there and done that" before ... and I know what it feels like. You have to admit, when you're on a tight budget, a trip to McDonalds for your morning coffee is less intimidating, and less expensive.

    Rose

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Texas
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    Hello everyone! Thanks for your responses. Good points, all, and very appreciated! One of the things I am looking at for my study is economic status of customers with certain beverages. I am trying to find all the trends that I can, with respect to ordering, assumed "ritual" within cafes, etc., and follow up on the ones that would seem to pique the interest of my assumed audience.
    As for overseas coffee culture, does it seem that perhaps in Europe and other cultures, the coffee is more of a complimentary beverage than the main event? For example, it seems to me that most of our cafes here are set up to where you would get a pastry to go with your coffee, but in foreign cafes that I've been in, the edibles are the motive and the coffee is a sort of supplement to them.
    Whatcha think?

  6. #6
    Super Moderator
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    Feb 2008
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    Near Philadelphia, PA
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    4,750
    Another thing to consider when you're analyzing the economic status of customers with their selection of certain beverages, is that a person's choice of coffee beverage may be influenced by other factors, such as his or her taste preference or fitness/health related concerns.

    For example, in recent years I've been able to afford to buy a $4.00 coffee beverage every day, but I choose not to ... the reason isn't because I don't like cappuccinos or lattes, but it's mainly because I don't want the extra calories. The low-fat equivalents taste "low fat" and it's not worth it to me to spend the money on them. In this case, my economic status has no bearing on my choice of coffee beverage.

    Rose

 

 

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