This week, I was asked to contribute to an article in the Guardian about Brighton’s ever expanding coffee scene. A recent study by the University of Stirling has found that we Brightonians now drink more coffee per capita than any other town or city in the UK.
How can this be? Does it suggest an underlying late night culture that just needs a little extra nurturing to get it through the day, or is there something more?
Brighton has always had a slightly skewed demographic when compared to the rest of the country. After all, we have the UK’s only Green MP and the most people listing Jedi as their main religion. We often get accused of being a town of hipsters but I think it goes deeper than that. Brighton is a magnet for people we are looking for something different.
I come across so many people locally who are looking for new ways of doing things. It seems that they are measuring success by lifestyle as well as money. We are a city of entrepreneurs, small businesses and freelancers and our coffee shops provide a place to work and meet. But perhaps the most significant thing about ‘meeting for a coffee’ is its informality. By stepping outside of the office, we step outside of the hierarchies and politics – after all, Alan Sugar would seem a lot less menacing if The Apprentice was filmed on the sofa at Central Perk. The coffee shop provides a neutral ground where we are all on equal terms, and that all seems wonderfully ‘Brighton’ to me.
There are, of course, many other factors at work, which are discussed at length by Gavin Newsham in his Guardian article ‘Why is Brighton so obsessed with coffee?‘ Why not go out, grab a latte and read on…
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