The idea of coffee culture is a relatively new concept in America. However, since the 1600s, Italy has had a strong culture around coffee. When Starbucks first came on the scene it sparked a culture around coffee, but as Starbucks Corporation has become more commercial, consumers have turned to small business coffee shops. These coffee shops serve what is known as “specialty coffee” which is beans with a unique flavor that are to be “well prepared, freshly roasted, and properly brewed,” or in essence coffee that has been aptly cared for from “coffee tree to coffee cup.”
As these small businesses strive to create a unique culture around coffee, many of these locally owned coffee shops turn to ethical production of coffee such as fair trade or direct trade coffee. Each having separate benefits, both strives to create a relationship with farmers and communities where coffee is grown. Some specialty coffee shops turn to organic coffee that’s grown using processes that have a low impact on the environment. The barista is an important aspect in creating an experience and making specialty coffee. Latte art has become a prominent factor in coffee culture and is common in barista training because it helps create that unique, meaningful experience. Small businesses create an atmosphere within their coffee shops that’s inviting to the customers, which encourages them to sit and enjoy their coffee rather than take it to go.
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