“I’ll Have My Coffee To-Go, Please.”

The evolution of mugs to ‘to-go’ cups in US café culture in comparison to European sit down café culture.

Where did the charm of a latte go? When did we stop having coffee dates and leisurely coffee breaks? A long time ago we even paired our frothy beverages with croissants as well as an acquaintance every once in a while.

The re-occurring thought of today’s dwindling cafe culture keeps me up at night—although my caffeine consumption could be to blame for that. Traveling around Europe is great for coffee lovers like myself, as it allows for endless options to explore. Bring a book to a coffee shop to read while sipping a cappuccino, bring a journal and do some writing, or just meet a friend for a nice chat and relax. Whereas in the US, I get in my car, pull up to the drive-thru and get my coffee-to-go without hesitation or a single relaxing thought in mind.

While I mainly target the US in this post, the ‘to-go culture’ is definitely alive in larger metropolitan cities everywhere around the world. While what was once a luxury long ago has been dwindling down to caffeine addiction and convenience. Stephanie, a student who recently returned from a trip abroad agrees, stating she prefers the European customs to those in the US.

“It’s more relaxed and I think it even tastes better if I’m being honest. It seems like a more luxurious experience, whereas when I get a cup of coffee here it’s because I’m just going, going and going.”

There are various things that factor into the differences between leisurely and necessity when it comes to coffee drinking culture. This begins even with the way the coffee is made and drank. Rarely will you find drip coffee anywhere in places like Italy or even in the UK.

Cappuccinos, macchiatos, café lattes or any kind of frothy beverage really will be the go-to order of any local. This is unless they have eventually evolved into drinking watered down shots of espresso and become desperate, caffeine dependent souls like myself who often resorts to an Americano.

So since we Americans are, as many call us, ‘workaholics’ maybe we should make a bit more time and effort for an enjoyable cup of Joe. This way we can really appreciate the art of coffee, relaxation, and company.