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Why is the UK addicted to coffee?

Coffee in the UK: How Britain became addicted to cafe culture

Stereotypes might suggest that British people only drink strong tea from fine china cups with their little fingers extended, or pints of amber lager at their local pub, but the 70 million cups of coffee consumed in the UK each day tell a different story.

A cursory glance down your local high street will prove that we are now a nation of coffee addicts. Commuters down espressos to treat exhaustion at station platforms, and soup-bowl-sized lattes are nursed at countless cafes. "We have moved from a nation of tea drinkers and occasional instant coffee drinkers to a nation of coffee lovers and even coffee geeks," says Jeffrey Young, the chairman of the Allegra Foundation food organisation behind UK Coffee Week, which runs from 11 to 17 April.

The company first marked the occasion in 2011 in order to raise money for clean water and sanitation in coffee-growing communities around the world, which are often in developing countries. In the past 15 years, chain stores including Costa and Caffe Nero have occupied every nook and cranny of the high street, familiarising the British palette with the drink and making it eager to explore more flavours. Chic artisan coffee shops serving beans from around the world have since popped up in their wake, and the UK is now in the midst of what is known as the third wave coffee movement.

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