Cafes across the GCC that offered coffee served in milk bottles saw their business boom but the practice was quickly halted by authorities who saw in it an immoral threat to heritage and culture.
If anything, the short-lived fad worked to bring more attention to coffee and its usefulness in our daily lives, particularly as part of business deals and at the office.
Putting an end to a fad
Cafes across several Gulf Arab states started selling coffee and other cold drinks in baby bottles over a month ago, kicking off a trend that has elicited excitement, confusion, and backlash.
The fad began at Einstein Cafe, a chain with branches across the region, from Dubai to Kuwait to Bahrain. Instead of ordinary paper cups, the café decided to serve its thick milky drinks in plastic baby bottles.
All the stress and anxiety over the coronavirus pandemic appears to have spurred some to find an outlet in the strange new craze.
Lines clogged Einstein stores across the Gulf. People of all ages streamed onto sidewalks, waiting for their chance to suck coffee and juice from a plastic bottle.
Soon, however, the baby bottle drinkers and providers attracted a barrage of criticism that the practice was shameful.
The anger reached the highest levels of government including Dubai, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and Saudi.
The craze is believed to have started in 2017 in the US when a Los Angeles cafe started serving its beverage in giant baby bottles.
The American Psychiatric Association and other medics have started to study adult baby syndrome where some people drink from a baby bottle, crawl, eat baby food, and play with baby toys.
Other experts suggest young people are simply ‘bored out of their skins’ with restrictions introduced to battle against the pandemic.
Coffee and business
Across the startup and tech world, coffee seems to be a standard. Some companies have a full-time barista on staff or have regular coffee-fueled meetings. Business introductions often happen at the café.
Besides the delightful taste and aroma, there are other reasons entrepreneurs drink coffee and a lot of it. It is a reminder of the tradition of a simple pleasure brought from a simpler time.
At the very least, each sip is a little break in your day and a little moment of self-care.
Drinking coffee is a connector of people, and it inspires ideas and conversation. Ideas and networking are the center of any entrepreneur’s life, so coffee is a natural favorite.
The way one drinks his/her coffee is often a reflection of his/her personality. Black coffee, no milk, may reflect a no-nonsense type of guy, while a milky, hot and sweet coffee could point to creativity and passion.
Coffee at the Workplace
Coffee keeps the mind sharp and aids memory, decision-making, and stamina. Perhaps that’s why a cup of good quality coffee is such an attractive work perk for employees and why so many employers ensure there’s always a ready supply on hand for them.
Research by Honest Coffees found that those who drink two or more cups a day are 20% more likely to stay an extra hour at work compared to 8.5% of non-coffee drinkers. The same research also found that 16% of coffee drinkers believed they felt more focused after drinking the beverage.
Coffee is good for business in that it simply boosts morale, telling employees they are valued and looking after their health.
Some of the associated health benefits of coffee are said to include protection against Parkinson’s disease and a lowered risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Additionally, coffee-drinkers who indulge in three to five cups each day have been shown to have a lower risk of heart disease than their non-coffee drinking colleagues and peers.
Caffeine has been shown in academic studies to dramatically improve memory, which in itself can only be good news for employers.
Coffee and COVID-19
Can’t drink it in cafes or at work because of the pandemic, coffee became a necessity at home.
Emirati Coffee, the first Emirati home-grown specialty coffee roastery, reveals a record-breaking growth of 3135% on online purchases in 2020, spurred by robust demand from consumers for high-quality specialty coffee during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The highest recorded online purchase was registered in the first two months of the pandemic starting March 22, 2020, when sales rose to a 1763% increase compared to the previous months recorded from January 11 to March 21, 2020.
“Coffee was already the number one e-commerce grocery product before 2020 but the pandemic boosted the growth due to greater consumption at home. Coffee buyers cut back on trips to the supermarket and coffee drinkers can’t go to the cafés. Consumers resorted to online purchases,” said Mohamed Ali AlMadfai, CEO.