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Morning commuters seem to fall into one of two categories:
We're taught to look for these traits in connection with coffee.
By 1988 only 50 percent of the adult American population drank coffee. In 1962, average coffee consumption was 3.12 cups per day; by 1991 had dropped to 1.75 cups per day.
At the onset of the 1980s, coffee growers and retailers realized that the current 20-29-year-old generation had little interest in coffee, which they associated with their parents and grandparents.
For the coffee industry to survive, it needed a new marketing strategy. The consumer was changing and coffee-players needed to pay attention.
Crucial questions the 'me' generation will ask: "What's in it for me? Is the product 'me'? Is it consistent with my lifestyle? Do I like how it tastes? What will it cost me? Is it convenient to prepare?"
The consumer needed to be made more aware of what made coffee worth the price.
So there needed to be a type of coffee to appeal to every person: Coffee for the aficionados, the penny-counters, those on-the-go, and the senior community who were already strong supporters. Coffee was meant to permeate every aspect of life.
Smaller roasters marketing specialty coffee, although slightly more expensive, found a niche to replace the tasteless coffee.
We have been taught to look for a boost in productivity from this drink. Caffeine makes us feel alert and attentive. It helps us get through those non-optimal periods for productivity when we compelled to be productive anyway.
But coffee became with time more personal, more accessible. The 20 - 29-year-olds began to drink coffee because it meant something to them: a flavor for everyone, a style for every lifestyle.
Coffees offer us a way to look at our relationship to the larger world and see that sometimes our choices are not really our own.
This is not, of course, to say we enter the market as mere automatons. But we exercise those choices in a world of structured relationships. The 'me' that we have come to emphasize may be less personal than we realize.
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