Cities are always changing. Ever since we stopped up our nomadic ways and set up our Ikea furniture in ancient Jericho, cities, just like many of us today, refuse to sit still. Some evolve from large penal colonies to become idyllic places to live, full of summer sun and shrimps. Others, like the Maya civilization, simply disappeared from the history books never to be seen again. Liverpool, as most of us know, has undergone one such transformation over the last few years. Admittedly it's not quite as dramatic as a mass Mayan evacuation, but there's no doubt that Liverpool is evolving into something really quite exciting.
According to The Guardian, the Capital of Culture Award brought in an additional £753.8m to the local economy over a five-year period. Not bad for an award! Struggling with its identity in the 80's and 90's, Liverpool has finally shaken off the shell-suited shackles made popular by Harry Enfield and his frizzy perm, and transformed itself into a vibrant centre of art and culture. With the influx of new visitors has come demand. Demand for new hotels, fine dining, restaurants and of course the arts. What wasn't expected was the unprecedented demand for coffee; the quintessential ingredient for enjoying cultural pursuits. The others of course are books, classical music and hats with feathers.
Coffee and culture have a rich history. Ever since coffee was first introduced to Italy in the 16th Century, Venetians (presumable with very nice shoes) could be seen happily sipping their coffee in the very first coffee houses. Fueled by caffeine and the excitement of the Italian Renaissance they discussed ideas, shared thoughts, invented the modern day printing press and drew pictures of the first bicycle. Even Napoleon and his men plotted the French Revolution in a café. Wherever there's a renaissance, it seems that you can always find coffee.
You can see this today throughout Liverpool, coffee and our love of it is everywhere. Student, business people, and artists can all be found sitting next to each other, some engaged in conversation, others with their nose buried in their laptops.
Its popularity has seen a multitude of new coffee shops open in recent years: Central Perk has opened up a small part of New York in Hatton Garden (the coffee shop is based on the series Friends), MaryMary is combining coffee with bike repairs and local coffee roaster Joe Black Coffee has seen a demand from businesses to create their own bespoke blends, keen to impress clients during meetings.
Historically reserved as a 'special' treat, coffee is now established as an everyday beverage. The majority of people from Merseyside incorporate coffee into their daily lives, the demand for new products and flavours continues to grow as consumer palates become more sophisticated and knowledge increases.
Words like Latte, Mocha and Frappuccino that were unheard of 10 years ago, are now commonplace; and if you listen hard enough, you may even hear a "a triple shot one shot decaf two shots regular extra creamy espresso with an itemised receipt…….and sprinkles". A far cry from the traditional teaspoon of instant coffee in a mug!
Both coffee and culture in Liverpool is on the rise, and it's an exciting time. Culture in all its forms plays an integral role in any city. The social pursuit of the arts accompanied by a nice cup of coffee provides an attractive escape from the monotony of paying our monthly electricity bill. Without it our brains would surely shrivel up and we'd all end up eating spam again.
But the best thing about it all, we now have more reasons to spend time with our friends. Everyone can sit down and enjoy a nice cup of coffee before planning their invasion of France.