Friday, April 04, 2003

Word of the Day: Latte

Friday, 4 April 2003

I think we can forego the Macquarie Dictionary link on this one - we all know what latte is. It's what the out of touch inner city elites drink to wash down their lunch-time foccaccias or croques-monsieur while their less pretentious suburban cousins are happy to settle for a cappucino and a toasted sanger.

If this item from yesterday's Age is any indication, there's a lot of people in the out-of-touch inner city elite. And the numbers are growing. According to a survey by BIS Shrapnel, latte consumption grew by 50% over two years with 225 million dollars worth of lattes sold last year. Assuming that the retail price of a cafe latte is $2.50, that's a total of 90 million cafe lattes.

This may look like an alarming figure: 90 million is a lot of cups of under-frothed cappucino. So I think it would be responsible to put these consumption figures into perspective, to scotch any media scare campaigns on the effects this noxious beverage is having on public health and morals before they get started.

If we asume that most latte use is so-called "social use", restricted to a quick shot in the morning while reading the papers on office time or a lunchtime pick-me-up 90 million cups of the leftist's favourite cuppa can be consumed by only 346,154 out-of-touch inner city elitist types. If we assume latte drinking is a once-a-day seven days a week habit, the figure comes down to 246,575. That's a fairly small proportion of the population, so the risk that the Australian mainstream will be washed away in a flood of over-sweetened caffeinated bilge is very small. At least in the short term.

In the longer term, the picture may be a little less rosy. Extrapolating a 50% growth rate over the next ten years gives the following figures for the numbers of latte drinkers in the population:


As well as the obvious political problems which will inevitably arise when 9 million Australians have lost touch with mainstream opinion there are some difficult planning issues: where the bloody hell will we build the sidewalk cafes these wankers will inevitably demand as their "right"?

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