Costa, one of the larger high street chains, has doubled its outlets and is owned by Whitbread, originally a brewer, a move that would have pleased the temperance movement.
Coffee shops are undoubtedly big business and we are paying over £2 a cup for 10p worth of coffee, plus the milk and the barista’s expertise.
But is drinking so much coffee good for you?
Some experts warn against pregnant women drinking too much because the caffeine crosses the placental barrier and affects blood flow and growth and in some cases could lead to underweight babies or miscarriages. So for pregant women 4 cups a day, or two mugs ie about 200mg should be the limit.
For the rest of us we should be aware of how our body reacts to coffee and if you are getting palpitations cut back on the amount you drink.
Coffee does have some positive health benefits. It can increase alertness and improve performance and mental ability by stimulating the central nervous system. And a study in the USA found that women who drank two cups a day were less likely to get depressed.
Research also suggests that coffee could be linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer and breast cancer while another study said it could protect against the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
So 4 or 5 cups a day, around 400mg, should be safe and may actually improve our health.
Contrary to popular belief it’s not going to do you much good as a hangover cure although it may make you feel more alert.
I confess I like my coffee. I can’t do the double espresso thing but when I hear someone ask for a small “skinny de-caff” I have to bite my tongue not to ask them “what’s the point?’