Britain – a nation full of beans

The UK may have a reputation as a nation of tea drinkers, but according to a recent survey by coffee brand Nespresso, almost half of adult coffee drinkers believe that coffee actually has a higher social status than tea. Of the 2,081 people surveyed, 45% believed that coffee was the drink of choice for ‘ambitious high achievers’, the traditional accompaniment to late night business meetings and high pressure deals.

The survey may be tongue-in-cheek, but it seems as if the UK is really becoming a nation of coffee drinkers – many of us find it difficult to get started in the mornings without our caffeine fix, and the success of coffee bars and takeaway shops are proof of the drink’s popularity. For  aficionados, grinding their own coffee beans or buying exotic mixes from boutique coffee suppliers has become commonplace, and many people also own professional-standard machines, producing café-style cappuccinos and espressos at the touch of a button.

Part of the appeal of coffee lies in its versatility. As well as a morning pick-me-up, the health benefits of the drink are well-documented. Studies have shown that a moderate intake of coffee can help guard against Parkinson’s Disease, dementia and even some forms of cancer.

As if that wasn’t enough, it’s also great for cooking with. If you have some fresh coffee left over from your morning cup, you can use it not only as an ingredient in sweet recipes such as chocolate espresso brownies or coffee and walnut cake, but  also in savoury recipes. Adding a mixture of wine, stock and coffee to stews and casseroles gives an incredible depth of flavour, and produces a rich, glossy sauce.

With all of these benefits, it’s easy to see why the UK now spends around £650 million a year on coffee – and why we’ve turned into a nation that’s full of beans.

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