The appeal of coffee culture in a tea-loving nation
Mellow music, a relaxing ambience, and the divine scent of freshly brewed coffee are the essence of coffee culture. Whether it's old friends looking to catch up, focused students wanting to get some work done, or a busy person needing a break from their hectic schedule, they all end up at their favourite cafés.
Coffee culture in Bangladesh was non-existent about ten years ago. Expectedly so, as Bangladeshis have an undying love for the perfect cup of tea, and contrary to what we learnt in our beginner economics courses, tea and coffee are not actually perfect substitutes. However, it's fascinating how coffee culture has managed to break through in a tea-loving nation like ours.
Coffee shops have their own appeal. They offer an environment like no other, one that is casual and encourages you to take your time. The shelves full of books, newspapers, and board games at every popular café convinces us to slow down as we enjoy our beverage, which can be particularly comforting when living a fast-paced life.
My love for coffee has grown as the culture surrounding it becomes more and more prominent in Dhaka. Although I'm no coffee connoisseur, even my palette often craves something richer than instant coffee. The charm of a well-made cup of coffee has pushed me to do my own research on which type of coffee beans to purchase, learn about the different notes, and buy new equipment to make it at home.
I often use my favourite café as an escape when I want to enjoy a good book, a couple of brownies, and a warm beverage alone without actually being isolated. With the growing popularity of practices such as 'me time' and 'solo dates', more and more young people are looking for a table for one. Since it is more socially acceptable to visit coffee shops alone than it is to take a solo trip to a restaurant, it creates a less daunting experience for anybody looking forward to enjoy their own company in a cosy place.
Some things change with time, while some never do. The introduction of coffee culture in Bangladesh has been one of those changes. However, as the cafés in the country keep getting bigger and fancier, many people's cravings for a hot cup of milk tea in the evening is still going strong. Although different in many ways, a roadside tea stall and a neighbourhood café can evoke the same emotions of familiarity and comfort in a person.
As our lives get busier and the list of things to worry about gets longer, it's never a bad time to visit our favourite coffee shop (or tea stall) to sip on a warm beverage while we enjoy the company of our loved ones, or just our own. It is moments like such that make us realise just how much we cherish seemingly trivial aspects of life.
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