Cafe culture on the boil
29may05 - The Sunday Mail.

QUEENSLAND has gone coffee crazy.

The volume of coffee drunk across the state has soared over the past year as Queenslanders embrace cafe society.

Suppliers also report a huge demand for coffee beans and home espresso machines.

Nigel Cornford, marketing manager for DeLonghi, said sales of coffee machines were soaring as consumers tried to repeat the cafe experience at home.

"There is a strong trend towards fully automatic coffee machines – everything at the touch of a button," he said.

Gloria Jeans Coffees managing director Peter Irvine said the states coffee craze was like an epidemic.

"In a month we would sell about 3.5 million cups," he said.

"Instant is still about 80 per cent of the market, but espresso coffee sales are growing rapidly."

Gloria Jeans has more than 50 coffee shops in the state.

"When we started in Queensland there was an expectation that our cold blended drink sales would be far higher because of the climate," he said.

"But Queenslanders actually like drinking hot coffee alfresco."

Merlo Coffee marketing manager Melanie Coombes said the Queensland-based company roasted about five tonnes of coffee a week, up from less than two tonnes in nine years.

"People are getting a lot more discerning about the coffee they drink and what brands theyre buying and where the coffee beans comes from," she said.

Many more people were buying beans to take home.

"Now theyre starting to appreciate it people are expecting that at home," she said.

"Even the bigger offices through the city all seem to have their own machines."

Margaret Holz from appliance retailer The Good Guys at Carseldine said she had witnessed a big surge in the sale of coffee machines.

"Its getting very expensive for a lot of people to eat out and they like their cappuccinos, so they are doing it themselves," she said.

Ms Holz said her store stocked machines ranging from $100-$2500.