Merlo, Campos, Starbucks, Bar Moda, Gloria Jeans, Java, Gian Carlo...I step into the lift at my place of business and between ground floor and 12th, examine branded cups lovingly clutched by my fellow travelers…Di Bella, Grinders, Blue Sky, Aromas, Coffee Club...a mere coffee has turned into a revolution, brand loyalty displayed by the drop’s vessel.

I’m nursing my caffeine fix in a cup branded ‘Pie Face‘ …renowned for it’s Pie, Pea & Mash but it’s their soup and toasted roll, an economic lunch fave within easy access, as is their equally economic coffee that draws me in. Their own beans? Not sure, don’t really care. Taste buds simply craving something slightly more sophisticated than Nescafe instant or Vittorio plunge.

But I’m feeling a tad self conscious…my cup ain’t no testament to ‘uber cool’ brews…it proudly wears cute faces for god sake! Not at all serious…or Uber…or Cool! I make a mental note to start using my recyclable, refillable ‘neutral brand’ if I can remember to pack the plastic wonder in the first place! And here’s my point…

A weekend exploring the wonders of coffee revealed fabulous little coffee spots tucked into nooks and crannies, up unassuming lanes, secured in tiny holes in walls, spilling out of ex warehouses, each chock full of happy coffee revelers sipping the brew proudly hosted in that particular spot. And what about the weekday mobile fixtures nestled under awnings, branded vehicles delivering to the business front door, even a mobile stand in the Qantas club lounge?

So is it all about the bean? Or the nosh? The atmosphere? Or the company your in? Is it another passing fad like decaf soy mochas or vanilla laced expressos? And which of the many brands will prevail while others fail? And do you really care?

Now that I think about it, am personally rather fond of Campos…but really… is it worth the effort to walk the extra block to get a specialty fix like those who shared my lift? Well that will depend on whether I need a mild bean ‘wake up call’ or stronger ‘heart starter’ or a ‘kick my ass’ and ‘wake the f…k up’ brew now won’t it?

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