We don’t like coffee, we like the idea of coffee

We don’t like the bitter taste, but we like the way it makes us feel when we have it. When we sit down with a cuppa, it makes us feel 'cultured'.

Umair Kazi October 07, 2010
Between Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi, a new coffee place opens just about every week.

From a marketing point of view, I find this to be fascinating. We’re generally a tea drinking nation. The caffeine that runs through our veins has been passed down though generations via a karak cup of tea. There is no Pak Coffee House.

And yet, today we’re all gung-ho about the coffee, a tleast in the higher rungs of the social ladder. Places like MM Alam Road and Zamzama are littered with these little cafes. How come?

I think it’s a triumph in product positioning.

We like the idea of coffee

We don’t like the bitter taste, but we like the way it makes us feel when we have it. And I’m not talking about the caffeine here.  No, the concept of coffee has become synonymous with a certain ‘modernism’ that I think we’re all after. We gulp down bitter black coffee and watered down cappuccinos not because they taste good, but because they feel good. When we sit down with a cuppa, it makes us feel cultured.

We don’t do it to show off either. No, we’re too smart for that. We do it for personal pleasure, because it makes us feel a certain way about ourselves, regardless of whether someone else is watching or not. I love having conversations over mocha frappuccino, not chai.

I’m not elitist. I’m just naive enough to fall into the marketing trap.
Umair Kazi A strategist who blogs at http://www.theideaartist.com
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


anum | 12 years ago | Reply "This is the silliest thing ever, and I normally like what you write. I have tea in the summers because I get sick from coffee in the heat, and consume massive amounts of caffeine in the winter. Why? Because I stay up all night and am a student that needs to pay attention to the lectures she attends. Caffeine perks me up, tea isn’t strong enough for me. I like my vanilla latte, plain and simple. Sorry dude, you come across as very complexed here. You’re not inferior for liking tea, just like others aren’t superior for liking coffee. It depends on what works for people in terms of taste and level of alertness." DITTO. Speak for yourself. You sound like you never tried coffee until the day a Gloria Jeans opened up in Karachi. It is a slightly condescending article because it's a very typical for some people to assume that others that prefer coffee over tea only because they're after "modernism". It makes you sound like you have an inferiority complex and that you're not open to trying new things. .
Sanaa Khalid | 12 years ago | Reply True to some extent. Call it identity crisis or the image building but for me, the aroma of coffee is one of the best in the world. And although there are people who don't even know how many ways they can have their coffee still prefer to sit and indulge in a cup of coffee to feel refined. You should have also mentioned how we like an expensive cup of coffee over a plain cup of tea. But a tea is only a tea whereas the ways you can have coffee are numerous enough. Don't be so hard on us Pakistanis if we pretend to like coffee sometimes :P
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