I love coffee!
Not all coffee though. I drink most instant coffees just to be polite and only under duress but I like nothing better than sitting down in my local Nero’s on a Saturday morning with a cup of steaming, made-to-perfection latte while passing the time of day with my lovely hubby. Heaven!
Recently my unswerving devotion to that coffee brand got an unexpected slap in the face when a colleague happened to comment that the Caffé Nero chain was considered the 'working class' brand of coffee. I couldn't say for sure but I don't think the comment was meant to be derisory - apparently even in a society where class is becoming less relevant, most of us Brits like to think we're working class! So it was probably a compliment of sorts but it did get me thinking.
Of course there is a level of snobbery about some brands. A couple of months ago there was an outcry from Waitrose customers when they started offering complementary hot drinks to loyalty card holders in their stores because it was ‘attracting the wrong kind of clientele!’ Can you believe that? But when I Googled the phrase ‘working class coffee’ the results did not provide any pointers. It did throw out the phrase ‘blue collar workers’ though. Hmm...Caffé Nero do put a blue collar around their takeaway coffee cups - perhaps that's got something to do with it?
I also found lots of references about income levels separating the working from the middle classes but I couldn't very well carry out a survey to find out whether coffee drinkers in Costa Coffee earn more than those in Nero’s! A sneaky peek through the window of Costa proved inconclusive there so I decided to carry out some practical research into the matter.
Always looking for a good excuse to pop out for a coffee, I took myself off to my local branch of Nero’s for a bit of leisurely people watching and a delicious cup of skinny latte with a gorgeous rich and flaky almond croissant thrown in for good measure - it would be rude not to!
Unsurprisingly Nero’s was as buzzing as ever on a Saturday morning and as I looked around with a bit more interest than usual I couldn't see any signs to confirm or otherwise my colleagues claim. There was just a good cross-section of our local community drinking, eating, chatting and laughing. When it comes down to it I don’t really care what image my coffee brand portrays, it’s all about the taste and quality. I can honestly say that Nero’s deliver consistently good latte: smooth and milky with just the right amount of froth on the top and it's my favourite!
So, as my research methods were open to question and the results were hardly scientific I think it would be best to leave the sociology of coffee to the real sociologists and from now on I'll just concentrate on drinking it!