The Best of GRReporter
flag_bg flag_gr flag_gb

Crisis does not affect the coffee consumption in Greece

12 March 2011 / 13:03:05  GRReporter
5290 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova


Drinking coffee has a long tradition in Greece. It is available in various places which are visited by people of different ages. Only those who haven’t visited the country have never seen the traditional cafes where old men drink coffee boiled in a pot while discussing the politics. Again coffee but frappe or cold espresso or cappuccino drink teenagers while playing backgammon or defeating virtual enemies from other galaxies in the Internet cafés. The choice of the ladies usually varies between filter coffee or cappuccino, but in the far more refined atmosphere of the modern or classic Viennese style cafes.

The difficult economic situation of Greece and wage cuts seriously affected the pockets of the Greek consumers. They are now much more cautious in making any additional costs. GRReporter tried to find out whether the Greeks have cut down on their favorite habit.

Maria is the owner of one of the central cafes in Athens. It has a very strategic location - the pedestrian alley that leads to the entrance of the Acropolis from the side of Tisio.

Today, although it was a normal week day at least half the tables were occupied by customers who were taking advantage of the good weather. The truth is that on weekends the café of Maria and all the surrounding cafes and restaurants are overcrowded, although each has dozens of tables. Yet, she argues that there was a decline in turnover which is, however, the result of the smoking ban.

Two of her customers, youngsters at the age of 22 told us that they continue to go out for coffee as they did before the crisis. Nikos said, of course, that prices are expensive. He added, however, he would so easily be deprived of that pleasure.

According to him the owners of establishments have not been particularly moved by the ban on smoking in public places. "We have never had a problem with smoking. Despite the ban, you can see that people smoke freely in all restaurants. In some of them they just do not put ashtrays on the tables, but thy bring us one when we ask for it or we throw the butts on the ground when we are seated outdoors.

Once I made sure that the situation in cafeterias is not so bad I decided to seek the views of traders.

"I do not think that coffee consumption is affected by the crisis. It is a resilient product in time which the Greeks will never part with. It is their pleasure", said Grigoris Armenakos, owner of the most fragrant corner in Athens.

The shop, where coffee is roasted, grinded and sold since 1890 is located just in the very center of Athens and is literally teeming with customers.

"Lately, I noticed a rise in sales of filter coffee, especially espresso. I think that because of the crisis people go out a little less and companies prefer to gather in each other’s homes and enjoy their coffee in a domestic atmosphere.

The increase in sales, registered by Grigoris is within 20-25 per cent. He argues that he attracts his customers with the lower prices he offers. "We can control the price because we import ourselves the coffee we sell, but also decreased the rate of profit. We are trying to keep the ratio between the product and a logical price.

Grigoris says that the period was negative for coffee prices globally. In July 2010 its price on the commodity exchanges was in 1550 points while by February 2011 it reached 2500. "By now it has probably already exceeded 2650 points. The same had happened in 1993. Then the price had doubled from 1300 to 2800 drams per kg in just one month". The increase was due to reduced production of coffee in Brazil, caused by drought.

"Therefore I say that the increase is not due to the crisis. We raised the price per kilogram from 9 to 10 euros. Out of this euros 40 cents goes to VAT. They say that until September the price per kilogram of coffee may jump to 12-14 euros, but next year things may settle. The same happened after the crisis in 1993".

My conversation with Grigoris was interrupted by customers who came constantly. The older ones of them knew his father, who worked at the store for 40 whole years. He had something to say to all and it was more than clear that the store has regular customers who have been visiting it for years.

"To do this job one needs good mood, desire and pleasure. This is a recipe for success", told me Grigoris with a smile while checking whether the coffee was roasted well. While I was leaving, enthralled by the captivating aroma, I  was absolutely convinced that coffee is an unalterable pleasure, which people in Greece will hardly ever give up.


Tags: society coffee consumption crisis prices cafes coffee shops frappe
GRReporter’s content is brought to you for free 7 days a week by a team of highly professional journalists, translators, photographers, operators, software developers, designers. If you like and follow our work, consider whether you could support us financially with an amount at your choice.
You can support us only once as well.
blog comments powered by Disqus