Coffee  : Bringing us together

by Tehreen Islam

Our lives have been quite coffee centric in recent times.  Though we are tea lovers as a nation but lately coffee has quite dominated our lives, especially social side of it. Tea stalls are seen in every corner but with time coffee has also made its entry in the daily lives of urban people.  Coffee wakes us up, gives us the energy boost and helps us go through the day. After observing the recent coffee culture in Dhaka city, we can also Say that coffee brings us together socially.

Coffee has become widely popular in Dhaka today not only because of its taste and effects of caffeine, but also because of its social aspect.  Coffee houses have become a meeting place for intellectuals, artists, musicians, entrepreneurs and writers to share thoughts and ideas.  It is sometimes a casual place where friends meet up, colleagues hang out after work or people gather to chill. Sometimes it functions as a more serious space where meetings take place, interviews happen or people brain storm for a project. It does not always have to be with people as one can find solitude here with a cup of coffee and a book. We might name this ‘Coffee Culture’ as this creates a number of social behaviour which all is coffee centric.

The coffee culture is not only about how good the coffee is or how great the quality is.  It’s rather about the comfortable seating, the well-lit interior for reading, the availability of power outlets for working on a laptop, the right volume and selection of music, the friendliness of the servers and so much more. You might choose to engage in a loud conversation with friends or zone out into your own thoughts – the choice is yours.

What made this coffee culture boom is also the fact that coffee is being commercially produced in Bangladesh now. Coffee production was not very common here until now.  In recent years people living in the hilly areas have started producing coffee on small scale. One good thing about coffee production is that they can be planted with other crops on the same land meaning they do not require separate land. Commercial coffee production in the hill tracts area got popular with boost of the demand with mushrooming coffee places. Even the popular coffee chain North End Coffee Roasters started procuring coffee from the locals naming it as ‘Hill Tracts Blend’.

Speaking of North End Coffee Rosters, it is one of the few popular coffee places that have won the hearts of Dhaka dwellers with their coffee, food and social aspects. This place is a top favourite coffee place of the city. The coffee, food and service make this the best coffee place in town.  Their simple menu makes coffee experience even better. The aroma of freshly roasted beans and sounds of coffee machines always fill up the place. This place guarantees great coffee and even greater ambience which is relaxing where one can work, read or enjoy with friends, with the great combination of sounds and smells of coffee brewing. The coffee can be accompanied by brownie, cinnamon roll or bagel, granola bar etc.

Gloria Jean’s Coffees is another popular coffee place which happens to be an Australian coffee chain.  What makes this place pull a lot of crowd is that along with serving great coffee, they also serve delicious appetisers, meals, sandwiches, wraps, and desserts. They have a drinks menu with a lot of variety offering both hot and cold beverages.  The fuss free, well lit and neat interior make this a great place for get -together, meetings; hang outs for people of all ages. Other coffee places that have created a stir with their coffee and surrounding ambience are Crimson Cup, Tabaq, Coffee bean and Tea leaf, Butlers Chocolate Cafe etc. Then there are the original pioneers of this coffee culture – Red Shift, Coffee World who are still popular.

Coffee houses have a long tradition in Western world as a place where people meet, enjoy each other’s company and discuss ideas or just relax. The recent days have seen us being quite like them and treating coffee places like a third place – not home and not work. We can see an exciting time for coffee in Dhaka. With new places, new approaches and new ideas pouring into coffee culture, we can’t wait to see how this culture shapes up and turns out in coming days.

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