Irish lap up cappuccino culture and put tea up the spout tasty: We're coffee mad
Coffee is on course to outsell tea for the first time in Ireland ,with a cosmopolitan young generation embracing lattes and cappuccinos over the traditional cuppa.
Figures show that standard tea sales are falling while coffee is enjoying a dramatic rise in popularity which is expected to see it overtake the nation's favourite drink within the next decade.
In 2001 tea was clearly still the nation's favourite, with sales topping €105m compared to a €60m coffee market.
This year we will buy €78m worth of coffee and by 2011 forecasters say the industry will be worth €82m.
But while coffee is tickling our taste buds, a traditional cup of milky tea is proving to be a bit of a turn-off and sales are expected to be down to €89m within the next four years.
Young consumers who see coffee as a more sophisticated choice are fuelling the market and an influx of New York- style coffee chains, such as Starbucks, have boosted bean sales.
A new report shows that we consumed almost 4,500 tonnes of coffee last year while tea was left increasingly on the shelf.
"Tea, with its genteel, image is increasingly losing consumers to coffee.
"Image and lifestyle choices in Ireland are more important than ever, with the accent firmly on youth, sophistication and fast-paced living.
"Coffee with its energy-providing properties, as well as its refined continental image, marries perfectly with the rising professional class in Ireland," Euromonitor Internationals Hot Drinks in Ireland Report reveals.
"Ireland is traditionally a tea-drinking nation. However, the rapid transformation of the Irish economy over the last few years and the increased globalisation and convenience culture this has engendered has led to a fundamental and growing change in consumer tastes."
The boom in Irish coffee drinking over the past decade, has, it states, been fuelled by a massive 80 per cent growth in specialist coffee shops since 2001.
Cappuccino is the nation's favourite variety of coffee but mocha and latte are due to become more popular over the coming years as more consumers opt for specialised brews.
Fruit and herbal teas are also getting a boost from health-conscious consumers despite costing on average 400 per cent more than standard offerings.
This year €10m will be spent on the varieties -- up 100 per cent since 2001.