Booming coffee shop trade reveals our top priorities

The Rev Canon Bob White with representatives of the groups involved in our Christmas campaignh run with churches in Portsmouth - Comfort and Joy

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How frequently do you lament your lack of cash and then find yourself handing over a fiver to get something you could get at home for a fraction of the cost?

A little while ago I realised I was spending a couple of quid every day on frothy takeaway coffees.

Every office has a ready stash of other people’s tea, coffee and milk to steal, so by rights I could have been getting my working day caffeine kicks for free.

And to make matters worse, each medium-sized hazelnut skinny latte I was buying had started to be accompanied by a large and gloriously unhealthy chocolate muffin. I was no longer simply paying over the odds for a humble coffee – I was willingly forking out money to make my own backside look like the back of one of those old-style Renault Meganes.

Yet despite the dire state of the UK’s economy and the widespread threat of redundancies, coffee shops haven’t just survived, they’ve bucked the trend.

Even Gosport’s high street is well-stocked with coffee shops if nothing else, and little Bishop’s Waltham now has a branch of Costa Coffee. A shopping trip to Fareham could feasibly see you wandering from one coffee outlet to the next all day without you even needing to think about it.

Then there’s the drive-thrus to contend with. My journey into work takes me past three separate garages selling posh coffee. No wonder there’s so many bad drivers out there. Everyone’s so wired on coffee they’re bouncing around the road like Duracell bunnies.

I was stunned to hear that all the major coffee chains have expanded in 2012 and the folk responsible for lapping up all these cappuccinos and macchiatos are those aged between 18 and 24.

I’m amazed at what people will class as a spending priority and I count myself here too. When I was a university student I’d kid myself that I could no longer afford to eat or shell out on bus fare to get to lectures, yet I always seemed to have enough disposable income to treat myself to a vodka and coke. Or two.

Old habits die hard so we’re unlikely to forego our shop bought caffeine fixes altogether, but maybe we should think twice in future about wasting so much money on cups of hot water and milk.