Booming café culture fuelled by urban growth

  • Written by Amanda Weaver, QUT Media
Café culture is now a firm fixture in urban life globally, providing new social spaces for a diverse range of people. While craft beer is also increasingly popular, more of us are bonding over coffee says Dr Emma Felton, a Senior Lecturer with QUT’s Creative Industries Faculty.

    Most of us now live in cities and cafés are an important community space

    Cafes more popular than pubs in the UK

    500 billion cups of coffee drunk worldwide each year

    Australia a world-leader in specialty coffee

    Asian countries the fastest growing consumers of coffee

    Cafes the fastest growing segment of hospitality

Cafe Culture video still
“The growth of the café since the late 20th century is extraordinary and very much linked to significant socio-cultural and technological change. For the first time in history, the majority of the world’s population now lives in cities and cafes serve an important role for connecting people.” said Dr Felton.

Dr Felton has just published Filtered: Coffee, the Café and the 21st century City (Routledge) which examines the rise and of rise café culture, from Melbourne to Shanghai, to Tokyo, London and Berlin.

“The coffee bean is the world’s fourth most traded agricultural commodity and the global coffee industry is worth $US100 billion, with more than 500 billion cups of coffee drunk worldwide each year.”

The poet T.S. Eliott (1888-1965) once said ‘I have measured out my life with coffee spoons’. Much more recently, Chinese film star Jackie Chan expressed the thought that ‘coffee is a language in itself’. Both epitomise the love affair humans have had with coffee since the humble bean was first roasted and brewed in the Middle East in the 15th Century.

What early aficionados may never have been able to predict was just how it would become what Dr Felton, who specialises in researching and writing about cities from social and cultural perspectives, calls ‘a connoisseur’s playground’.

“From the ethical sourcing of origin beans, direct trade between roasters and plantations, the variety of specialty styles, tastings, the rise of the barista and other developments, coffee and it’s enjoyment is now on par with wine-making and fine dining,” said Dr Felton, who will launch her book at Avid Reader at West End on Thursday 31 January.

“I was intrigued by the obvious growth of coffee shops and their relationship to urban renewal. They really are everywhere now.

“I undertook research in Japan, China and Europe as well as Australia, as in the past 10 years it has become a truly global phenomenon - for example, cafes are outpacing pubs in the UK, where pubs are on the decline, while Starbucks is opening a café in China every week.”

Dr Felton said Finland, The Netherlands and Norway vie for the title of highest coffee consumers while Asian countries, traditionally tea cultures, are the fastest growing consumers of coffee, especially China and Indonesia.

“Cafes are the fast growing segment of the hospitality industry worldwide. Fifteen years ago in my inner-city neighbourhood in Brisbane, I could count the cafes on one hand. Now there are 60 in a radius of about three kilometres,” she said.

“Cafes and restaurants have become an integral part of the urban renewal and transformation of many inner-city areas like mine.

“Australia is often credited with being a world-leader in specialty coffee and the invention of the flat white. Our coffee drinkers are very discerning and the independents do better here than chains like Starbucks which has closed down 60 of its 87 cafes opened here since the beginning of the 21st Century.

“At the same time, the café scene in Australia, as well Japan and China, is quite different to that of the traditional European café culture.”

Filtered: Coffee, the Café and the 21st century City is available online.

News Reports

How family law solicitors can help those who are looking to gain custody of their children

While everybody out there thinks about the fairy-tale when they get married, the reality is that their marriage isn’t likely to last until the day that they die. Life is an extremely long time and...

News Company - avatar News Company

Skills you want to learn from an IT Premium Graduate Placement

Information technology (IT) has remained a lucrative and dynamic industry for the last 20 or so years and an IT internship via PGP Australia can be one of the best ways to get into the industry. As ...

News Company - avatar News Company

How to relax at home

Modern pace of life makes us always feel exhausted, useless, we are provided with great variety of deals to be accountable for, a lot of urge tasks to make up and we are always in a hurry, short of ...

News Company - avatar News Company

Expert Tips for Moving during Winter

Rainy, cool days are the hallmark of winter. If you’re planning to move to, say, from Sydney to the High Country near Melbourne, Canberra, or Tasmania, though, you might even see a stray snowfla...

News Company - avatar News Company

4 Must-Visit Contemporary Florida Art Galleries

Florida is, for the most part, known and famed for its impressive and preeminent natural beauty. However, little did you know, Florida, the southernmost contiguous state in the United States, also...

Analisse Weathers - avatar Analisse Weathers

Oil Gains 48% since December 2018 – Weakness Ahead?

In line with the US stock market performance, the price of oil bottomed on December 26th, 2018, and since then it managed to recover by almost 50%, with no sign of weakness showing thus far on the W...

News Company - avatar News Company

Adam Kirwan creates artworks celebrating Australia's outback

Adam Kirwan is no ordinary Australian.  He is a young man determined to capture the essence of Australia through his unique and inspirational range of artworks.    Artists are inspired by many ...

Tess Sanders Lazarus - avatar Tess Sanders Lazarus

Young Australian artist creates extraordinary artworks inspired by outback memories

Artists are inspired by many things, their surroundings, books they’ve read, movies they’ve seen, people they’ve met.   In the case of young Australian, Adam Kirwan, he paints artworks of cl...

Tess Sanders Lazarus - avatar Tess Sanders Lazarus

Health & Wellness

Brazilian Butt Lifts: How Much Do You Ideally Need to Weigh

News Company - avatar News Company

While the Brazilian butt lift has been around for quite some time now, it is still one of the most popular body contouring procedures amongst women. The procedure not only reshapes and enhances th...

Diabetes and Oral Health Problems

News Company - avatar News Company

People with diabetes are three to four times likely to have dental problems than people without diabetes, with a higher rate of more severe levels of gum infection and bone loss. In fact, periodon...

Cosmetic Physician shares 5 cosmetic treatments you can do without your friends knowing

Dr Phoebe Jones - avatar Dr Phoebe Jones

It’s no secret that cosmetic treatments are on the rise in Australia. In fact, we’re so enamoured by plastic surgery that we’ve jumped past the United States when it comes to procedures per capi...

What to do if you struggle to fall asleep

Cheryl Fingleson, The Sleep Coach - avatar Cheryl Fingleson, The Sleep Coach

"We all know the agony of not being able to sleep when you really want to, and the exhaustion that follows a period of bad sleep."   Sleep has a proven contribution to: 1. Good physical healt...