The hashtags #latte and #latteart have a combined 17.7 million posts on Instagram. The coffee demands a cute design to snap – if your latte doesn’t have art, did you even order a latte? Millennials and lattes go together like millennials and avocado. The former trend however, has received bad press.
Peeing millions by drinking coffee?
Personal finance expert and T.V host Suze Orman believes buying daily coffee equates to “peeing one million dollars down the drain”. In a video on CNBC, posted in March, Suze calculates the value of daily coffee at $1 to $3, adding to $100 a month and 1 million dollars in 40 years. Targeting millennials, she insists it’s better to make coffee from home to help pay off credit card debt and save money aside for retirement.
Her video caused social media outcry last month – many journalists argued against her goodbye Starbucks idea. The Atlantic published a piece on ‘the rise of coffee shaming’, mentioning how finance personalities such as Dave Ramsey in America believe quitting lattes can save thousands. On the surface, the advice makes sense – ordering coffee from a café is a luxury when countless coffee brands fill supermarket shelves. But why give up such a small, daily treat? And how can society blame items like coffee for reasons why twenty-somethings can’t afford housing?
Young people have become use to older generations criticising their spending habits. Earlier this year, Barclays claimed millennials could save billions collectively by “making minor changes to their spending.” This advice goes against the shaming of young people for their boring attitudes – elders have commented on how we’re drinking less and acting too sensible in youth. Coffee is cheaper than alcohol. With press circulating on the housing and retirement crisis – a global concern, coffee shaming is a marketing tactic to divert blame away from previous generations.
Millennials and lattes: What age did you start?
The Washington Post reported on coffee consumption back in 2016. Young Americans tend to begin drinking coffee aged 14 – older millennials use to start at 17. I remember feeling super cool sitting with my friend on a sofa at Starbucks – 16 and desperate to look older. We ordered lattes because they felt more grown up than hot chocolates and tastier than Americanos. Did we need an energy kick – probably not.
I never really need iced coffee in summer either. I tend to drink coffee infrequently – depending on stress levels and sleeping patterns. It’s more a social habit. I’m always searching for independent, quirky cafes with beautiful interior and fancy cutlery. At the start of the year, me and my sister went out for a drink in the evening. We sat in a loud bar with awkward seating and dark interior. Finding ourselves at a loss for conversation, we moved on to a coffee shop. Next to the millennials and lattes, we listened to ‘arty’, deep chat and laughed at the clichés of all black dressing and books piled on tables.
We had a good time – a better enjoyment than the alcoholic drinks. I started drinking coffee when fizzy drinks made me panic about tooth decay and smoothies felt too cold to walk round with in winter. There’s a coffee shop on nearly every street in a shopping district because it’s accessible socialising. Vegans can struggle to find food on a menu, but they at least get a choice between soya and almond/oat/coconut milk with their lattes. Millennials and lattes will most-likely continue as a trend – Metro has recently reported on porridge lattes becoming a thing – next to matcha and festive pumpkin and gingerbread.
A wasteful lifestyle?
Doesn’t everyone waste their money to some extent? You can frugally cut out all entertainment and limit food intake to the bare minimum. While finding ways to save is beneficial, I also believe in finding the enjoyment in every day. If a latte is going to perk up someone’s morning and give them energy to handle work, is that wasteful? Coffee is both vilified and hailed in the news, not yet reaching many conclusions.
So, in the muddle, health conscious millennials will continue to buy. I’m one of them – not daily though – I’m on my way to saving a million (sarcastic joke). Are you a big latte drinker? If not, what’s your favourite type of coffee, or do you prefer to not consume it? Do you think the drink is healthy or unhealthy?