catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Coffee geography

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Last month I suggested, in trying to unravel the origins of the term ‘latte left’, that:

Partly this is, I think, an example of – if I recall my English Lit classes correctly – metonymy. Coffee is a well-known attribute of Carlton, which is also a relatively left-wing locality. So the attribute stands for the area. This is now a rather faded figure of speech – these days Kath and Kim would have no trouble finding a latte at Fountain Gate – but it makes historical sense. However, it could extend to latte libertarianism only by analogy, since the act of drinking a latte has lost much of its cultural and social significance. Like the Italians who once lived in Carlton, the latte has moved on and out.

If an article in today’s Age is to be believed, my caffeine sociology was, if not wrong, perhaps premature:

According to a report by industry analysts BIS Shrapnel, the caffe latte is the drink of choice in the inner, more affluent, suburbs of Melbourne, while the cappuccino is king in the outer suburbs.

So while a latte can be bought in all sorts of places these days, it doesn’t seem to be the coffee of choice of the swing-seat masses, and thus retains more of its symbolic significance than I thought.

On the other hand, perhaps BIS Shrapnel, like Martin Pakula, just can’t get its numbers right:

More than 1.2 billion coffees were served in Australian restaurants and cafes last year, the majority — 350 million — in cafes.


Written by Admin

March 8, 2006 at 6:35 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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