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How coffee culture reflects the changing mentality of Pakistani millennials

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How coffee culture reflects the changing mentality of Pakistani millennials

Mehreen Zahra-Malik
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Pakistan has traditionally been a chai-loving nation. In recent years, however, the country has witnessed the rise of ‘coffee culture’ among it’s youth, particularly with students and young professionals.

History of coffee culture

Coffee usually brings to mind Italian espresso, American coffee or French cafe au lait. But few people are aware of the Muslim origins of this dark and delicious drink, which came from the highlands of Yemen and Ethiopia. During the 15th century Muslim empire, coffee houses began to appear in major Muslim cities of Makkah, Cairo, Istanbul, Baghdad and Damascus, from where the beverage found its way into Europe, leading to coffee culture.

What is coffee culture?

Coffee culture can be observed in the various coffee houses that exist in Pakistan. These relaxing spaces where people can socialise, read, write and spend time together have existed originally in European and North American countries before finding their way to Islamic societies.

How did coffee culture originate in Pakistan?

The coffee culture surfaced in Pakistan with the launch of Espresso in 2004 in Karachi, but the market really exploded when Gloria Jean’s entered the arena in 2007. In Lahore, it started with Coffee, Tea and Company and as the culture progressed, a franchise of Gloria Jean’s opened up in Lahore and then overnight coffee shops started cropping up on almost every corner.

The trend, however, gained momentum in 2010 when the youth took to the elegant coffee houses. These coffee houses were mostly used as alternatives to restaurants; whereas the restaurant setting acted as a more formal commitment, a coffee house was a casual place with am ambience that allowed for the free flow of conversation with less inhibitions.

Has coffee culture gained popularity with millennials 

The almost sudden explosion of coffee joints across the country have become extremely popular with the Pakistani youth. Go to your nearest coffee shop and you’re likely to find it filled to the brim with students, young professionals and freelance writers. The immense popularity of coffee shops is indicative of an interesting shift in the mentality of Pakistani millennials.

Shift in mentality

The symbolism of the ever-growing coffee culture can be interpreted in a few ways. Firstly, it is a reflection of a society where more people are entering the workforce at a younger age. Coffee shops have become the new spot to work in or have a business meeting in, and it seems as though they are being used predominantly for these reasons.

Moreover, the laid back and non-comital ambience of a coffee house is one of the main factors attracting younger Pakistanis. Millennials today are more interested in having a quick meal or coffee and the overall environment of where this is taking place matters a great deal. Because the millennial mentality is one that is more relaxed and creative, it is important that the setting they are in reflects that. The millennial trait of wanting to have quick meals instead of longer ones is also indicative of a group that is consistently busy and on-the-go.

It is likely that coffee consumption in Pakistan will increase in the upcoming years. Today, we can see a host of both international and local coffee shops popping up across various cities in the country and growing at an exponential rate. It will be fascinating to see how coffee culture evolves as millennials in the country grow up and evolve.

Keep up to date with more news at ProperGaanda: What does the banning of ‘Zindagi Tamasha’ say about freedom of expression in Pakistan

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