Coffee Across Generations in India

Coffee Across Generations in India

From cooling the kaapi by pouring it back and forth between two vessels to grabbing a to-go cup of specialty filter coffee from a café, the way we consume kaapi has changed over the decades.

Our grandparents’ (and to an extent, parents’) generations were all about enjoying slow living. But today, instant gratification has become the norm. The quicker one can brew a cup of kaapi, the more appealing it becomes.

This is not to say that there’s only one way to properly enjoy coffee. Let’s explore coffee consumption across generations.

How Baby Boomers Enjoyed Coffee

The term “Baby Boomers'' is used to denote people born between 1946 and 1964. They are the traditionalists, choosing convention and simplicity (for many, this holds true even today, in the face of pumpkin spice lattes and nitro brews).

Their interactions with coffee culture began with roadside stalls that would serve a single type of coffee drink in a small glass cup or through run-of-the-mill coffee houses where the beverage in itself was more popular than the brand, roast type, variety, or origin.

They didn’t mind spending an extra few minutes a day to brew their own kaapi and took joy in inviting people over for a cup. Coffee, for them, was about taking a moment out of their daily toil to step back and slow down. 

how baby boomers drank coffee

For Baby Boomers, drip coffee makers or a saucepan placed on the stove were ideal ways to prepare coffee. Some would enjoy it as black coffee; others preferred to balance out the bitterness of the kaapi with milk and/or sugar.

Coffee in the Times of Generation X

Generation X - born between 1965 and 1980 - have seen their parents wax lyrical about good filter kaapi. As such, they too developed a taste for the beverage. However, for this generation, coffee had to be the source of energy that powered them through their day.

They’d buy bags of supermarket instant coffee that were mostly roasted dark, giving the beverage a flavour that packs a punch.

Identifying flavour notes or experimenting with their drinks wasn’t something Gen X was known to do. And because their youth had little to do with apps, the internet or working from cafés, the way news got around about coffee was through word of mouth. 

Millennials’ Love for Specialty Coffee

From 1981 to 1996, it’s the time of the millennials. With a significant disposable income today, millennials are the target audience for global coffee chains and boutique brands that focus on coffee quality.

Naturally, they have a preference for specialty coffee and single origin coffee. 

They also invest time in learning more about different aspects of coffee. You’re likely to find at least 1 coffee brewing equipment in the houses of millennials as that allows them to brew themselves a cup of coffee depending on their mood. 

Whether it's their work or social life, these 80s and 90s folks find a way to keep the brew flowing, drinking far more coffee than their parents or grandparents did back in the day.

With their increased exposure to Western culture, millennials are also familiar with coffee drinks like frappe, flat white, and caffe mocha.

Why Gen Z is Changing the Coffee Game

Gen Z and their love for cold brews

The Gen Zs are those born after the year 1996. This generation grew up with a first-hand account of a new coffee landscape in India, one that spoke of luxury and endless varieties. They have embraced the rapidly expanding café culture in the country and are devout fans of cold brew coffee. 

Even some of those who were raised with drinking milk coffee have now found their way to black coffee drinks; for many of them, there’s no looking back. 

But Gen Z is not just all about tapping into the trendiest coffees. They connect with brands and stand for ethical practices. If the brand positioning resonates with them and promises transparency & sustainability, you can rest assured that Gen Zs will be the first to line up (as a matter of saying) for their products.

People of this generation are also looking for the most visually appealing and least time-consuming options. Hence, ready-to-drink coffees are a great hit with them.

In the coffee world, the generational gap truly does not matter. For, we all recognise that it is the love for the beverage that brings us together. 

It wouldn’t be farfetched to visualise a family of four - the aged father and mother enjoying steaming-hot and sweet kaapi in steel tumblers as their millennial children sip on iced Americanos. 

Regardless, we each contribute to the coffee culture of our country and, ultimately, that of the world in some way. This in itself is a significant step to keep the love of coffee alive and to boost the growth of the industry.

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