Someone please make it stop. It was revealed this week that four new coffee shops open in Britain every day, with another 6,500 scheduled to open by 2023.
This effectively means that in four years’ time there will be more than 32,000 coffee shops clogging up UK streets, most of them faceless outposts of the international chains. And you won’t get a halfway decent cup of coffee in most of them.
What seems to be the problem, ma’am? Only that despite their ubiquity, the offerings from the majority of coffee chains veer from the bland and forgettable to the downright bad or unpleasant.
It was revealed this week that four new coffee shops open in Britain every day, with another 6,500 scheduled to open by 2023 – most of which are big chains like Cafe Nero
And please, barista, make sure the water is scalding hot so that it peels the skin off my hand when spilled, thank you kindly. Any chance of a stale blueberry muffin, an inferior sandwich assembled at some far distant central facility, or a factory-made, microwaved croissant that tastes like a buttery floor cloth? Well, don’t mind if I don’t.
I used to buy a coffee on my way to work most mornings, sometimes from a chain, occasionally from a fancy but glum independent which sells cinnamon buns for a fiver and a tiny latte for £3.
‘With not very good latte art,’ someone moaned on a review website recently. As if that were the deal breaker, instead of the adventurous pricing, the double depresso service and the grim coffees that make the whole process such a cheerless, expensive waste of time.
Now I have fresh coffee at home, instant at work and have cut the chains out of my life. Cry freedom from the tyranny of the frappuccino fiends! I might buy myself a small Cessna jet with the money saved.
Yet despite the lack of quality on offer, coffee shops are now everywhere. And, sadly, their unstoppable proliferation — along with vaping shops, tattoo parlours, charity shops and shops that sell covers for your mobile phone — is turning British High Streets into windblown tundras, bereft of the tiniest waft of culture or beauty.
The Starbucks Venti is just a pint of coffee in a charmless mug or a cardboard coffin, Moir writes
And there is still little end in sight to the expansion of chains such as Caffe Nero, Costa, Greggs, Pret A Manger (actually, I love Pret) and Starbucks, to name a few. Obviously, selling 11 grams of coffee and a shot of hot milk for £2 plus is a lucrative business for all involved.
Today, coffee chains are like burger chains, complete with lots of advertising campaigns, central sites and huge rents to pay. In prime positions in every High Street, they are the most visible representation of our changing culture and they continue to boom as pubs go bust. Why? Younger people are drinking less, while Britain’s mix of ethnicities and religions has also had an effect — especially when one considers 56 per cent of non-whites declare themselves teetotal, compared to only 16 per cent of whites.
Beer duty and business rates have also taken their toll on pubs, where demanding customers now want craft beers, silly gins, food and their ghastly children to be admitted.
So coffee has surged into this vacuum, and who could blame it?
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I pass eight coffee outlets on my walk to work, including Danish chain Joe & The Juice. What the heck is that all about? Joe seems to be full of silent young people tapping away on phones and laptops.
Bonhomie and conversational skills have been washed away by technology, amid the atmosphere of a trendy morgue.
Their advertising campaign suggests the ideal Joe customer is an attractive Nordic skateboarder with a lizard tattoo. All the better to raise your glass of Sex Me Up juice (please, no) along with your avo wrap and turmeric shots.
Perhaps it’s not them, it’s me? Yet there is still a place in my heart for the good, independent coffee shop. When I first moved to London, how I loved those Italian coffee places with their hissing machines and great walls of sandwiches in glass cabinets, generously stuffed with about three inches of egg mayonnaise or crammed with ham.
In prime positions in every High Street, the chains are expanding exponentially and replacing pubs because younger people are drinking less
In Cornwall, imaginative independents thrive, such as the Honey Pot in Penzance and the Cook Book Cafe in St Just, where the owner makes heavenly sandwiches with bacon from her own pigs.
To walk into any of the Bettys Tea Rooms in Yorkshire is to be assailed with the aromas from another age: fresh baking, savoury toast, roasted coffee beans. And, oh, the civility could make you weep. Tablecloths, milk jugs, sugar tongs, a smile.
There is no comparison between a lovely coffee served in a perfect china cup and saucer at Brasserie Zedel in Central London and a monstrosity such as the Starbucks Venti — over a pint of coffee in a charmless mug or a cardboard coffin.
So, hello darkness my old friend. I’ve come to drink you up again. Although not in a chain, never in a chain, even as they become increasingly hard to avoid.
Don’t shed a tear for evergreen Eva
Eva Green revealed she feels insecure about reaching her 40s next year because acting ‘depends on the desire’ of others
Eva Green is an exquisite beauty. However, at the age of 38, the actress (pictured) is worried about the ageing process.
Eva, a word. Only when one gets older — much, much older — will you truly understand what a perfect age 38 is and how lucky you are to be perched there, on the cliff face of life. Most of the early angst is over, but you are still pre-40 watershed. Make the most of it!
Yet Eva feels insecure about reaching her 40s next year because acting ‘depends on the desire’ of others. ‘Will people still like me?’ she frets.
Possibly not, if you carry on like this, darling.
But let us not mock Eva, for I honestly believe the ageing process is so much harder on the beautiful and the damned.
If you have been used to the warm and appreciative male gaze all your life, it must feel very chilly when it begins to fade.
The gain of feeling no pain
You might not believe this, but there is a woman in Scotland who feels no pain and never complains. No, it’s not me.
Her chemical imbalance means that she is also always in a good mood, which means she is definitely not me and neither is she Lorraine Kelly, who admitted last week in a tax hearing that her super-cheery on-screen persona was fake. (Can I just pause here to mention that Lorraine has also just revealed that she never takes off her bra, not even when she goes to bed, which is even more shocking.)
Jo Cameron is the remarkable woman whose unusual gene mutations stop pain signals reaching her brain. For 71-year-old Jo, childbirth was a breeze; she only needed aspirin for a painful operation; she walked away from a serious car accident, and she munches on scotch bonnet peppers as if they were plums. When she was a little girl, she didn’t even notice she had broken her arm roller-skating.
Jo Cameron (left) has led a virtually pain-free life due to a rare genetic mutation that affects just one in several million
It makes you strong, but it also makes you weak. She had no indication that her hip was crumbling, or that osteoarthritis had pushed a thumb bone into her palm.
Experts believe her condition is only found once in every several million people and she is now helping medical experts explore the parameters of pain management, especially for those who suffer chronic pain after surgery. In a way, I’m glad that she discovered this at a late age — one can only imagine what medical science might have wanted her to do earlier.
What a remarkable story. She has never felt pain in her life, but I bet she still runs screaming from the room when someone mentions Brexit. Or Lorraine’s bra.
Havana truly bizarre time
Has there ever been a more hilarious royal tour than the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall’s recent 12-day jaunt to the Caribbean? Every second was a joy, for us — not them.
The sprightly septuagenarians crammed more than 70 engagements into a schedule that seemed to leave rigid royal protocol behind and had the pair of them shambling around the islands like a couple of crumpled pensioners on a Saga cruise.
Highlights included Charles striding along the sand in his beach brogues, Camilla looking like a discarded sweetie wrapper at his side and about a thousand cheesy photo ops, including one in Cuba where they actually did eat actual cheese.
Prince Charles and Camilla make a mojito on their trip to Havana, Cuba, this week
There were moments when it was more like an episode of Flog It! than a royal visit. The couple tootled around in a classic car, then sat next to a statue of John Lennon, Camilla visibly wilting gently under a parasol. They learned how to make a mojito cocktail (above) and sampled their work. ‘That hit the spot,’ said Camilla, after a long gulp. Charles used a sugar cane treadle, posed with a parrot, got into a boxing ring and looked like he was having the time of his life, even if he was not.
Looking thrilled at municipal events is his superpower. He even met Lionel Richie at the Coral Reef Club Hotel in Barbados and greeted him with a line from one of his hits.
‘Hello,’ said the Prince. ‘It must have been you I was looking for.’
Close, but no Cuban cigar, you dear old thing.
At Reading University, food scientist Dr Stuart Farrimond claims to have discovered the recipe for the perfect toasted cheese sandwich. In his formula, two medium slices of white bread are toasted on both sides, then buttered right to the edges.
Then he adds 50g (1.8oz) of grated medium cheese, a splash of Worcestershire sauce, and places them exactly 18cm (7in) under the grill.
Is he COMPLETELY MAD? Everyone knows that you don’t use butter when making cheese on toast, and that you toast the bread on one side only, then add the cheese.
What kind of savagery is the prof encouraging? Honestly. You simply cannot trust half-boiled eggheads to do anything properly.
Fury from the Madden crowd
Richard Madden fans are troubled. They feel that the actor has been snubbed because he didn’t receive a Bafta nomination for his performance in BBC drama Bodyguard.
Unluckily for Richard Madden, the Bafta nods this year include two of the best male turns in television drama for years, meaning he’ll miss out
His portrayal of protection officer David Budd (pictured) was compelling and one for which he has already won a Golden Globe. But, unluckily for him the Bafta nods this year include two of the best male turns in television drama for years — Hugh Grant as Jeremy Thorpe in A Very British Scandal and Benedict Cumberbatch as Patrick Melrose.
A different class, wouldn’t you say, Sergeant Budd?
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JAN MOIR: Surely not another coffee shop clogging up the high street have 2110 words, post on www.dailymail.co.uk at March 28, 2019. This is cached page on Movie Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.