Coffee and cocktails go hand in hand
Where there are good cocktails, there should be good coffee and vice versa. It all starts with great food though. When travelling abroad, usually we are driven by food (Yes obviously we have our top bars drilled into the itinerary but generally a new city makes us hungry!). Enter a great meal, and from that flows either a paired cocktail (or three) and/or a caffeine boost for dessert and a farewell. These two beasts have developed a competitive nature between themselves – which we see as a positive. Why? Because this results in a push of cultures to continuously better themselves.
Progression in the Coffee and Cocktail Culture
When looking back a few years, coffee was a means to merely ingest caffeine and acquire that boost needed to get through the day. Consumers had a limited knowledge of the product they were drinking, nor did they really care as long as they got their fix.
A lot has changed and with the information age and ease of global travel, consumers are gaining an increasing amount of knowledge of production – from the manipulation of the raw product (selection, roast and grind) to the extraction and pouring of their cup of brew. As a result of this, the industry has boomed with an increase in techniques, serving rituals and styles of coffee as well as the prescribed quality equipment and technology to create the desired product. No longer will you hear the dreaded “how hard could it be to make a cup of coffee??”.
Baristas have become respected professionals and through this, passionate individuals are pushing the coffee industry to better heights including better training programs and professional competitions – much like the cocktail culture.
Similarly, imbibers have generally consumed alcohol for its effects and status (a ‘social lubricant’ if you will) over the enjoyment of a well balanced drink. However, with technology progressing and allowing for better quality and more interesting concoctions, the cocktail culture has reached new heights in its creations and reach.
Obstacles in both cultures
There are some frustrations seen in both cultures that will need to be overcome in order to further progress and grow:
- Funding is favoured towards safer concepts. An obvious one but still – a business would generally rather fund a pub or chain restaurant over a craft bar or coffee shop. Craft outlets require niche equipment and high quality bar tools, however this is a necessary evil since the level of expectation of consumers is constantly increasing.
- Low wages are preventing craftsmen from becoming business owners – it is generally more appealing for these artisans to leave their home countries in pursuit of better opportunities for earning potential and growth in their careers.
- Limited access to international / niche products. Again this comes down to funding as local importers provide product on the highest demands. This becomes a bit of a catch 22, as product popularity only occurs from exposure to these items within menus. Low volume sales will also detract brand support as budgets are allocated to busy markets.
The competition between the coffee and cocktail culture is both healthy and encouraging, having contributed towards these two giants pushing to greater heights – educating consumers and increasing skill sets. Even though there are limitations faced in further growth and evolution, we look forward to seeing how this cat and mouse game continues and how the professionals find a way to make both their dreams and their guests’ palettes soar.