This research developed as a result of many hours sitting and working in cafes, in many different countries as I continued with my research activities. Having spent so much time in cafes I often thought that they would be an interesting phenomenon to research in terms of how people use them, how the businesses develop and the different cafe cultures that are present around the world. Over the years I had begun to collect pieces of information and documents about cafes and finally decided to put a project together which was funded by Coventry University - 'Spaces of Community' - outlined below. This has developed into a broader research agenda around a number of different areas in the coffee and coffee shop industries.
Research Project: Spaces of Community: exploring dynamics in the UK cafe industry
The aim of the study is to explore the development of the café industry, and understand the role of different types of cafés in a range of urban spaces. Specifically the study seeks to examine not only the economic impact of the cafe industry, but the importance of cafés for different communities and cultures and how the industry is changing.
It addresses the following questions:
- How and why the cafe industry is developing?
- What roles cafés play in communities?
- How are café spaces used?
- In what ways do cafés engage with the community?
- To what extent can cafés act as community hubs in urban spaces?
You can find out more about this research on the blog Cafe Spaces.
There are a number of publications related to this project in progress, but ones you can read so far include:
- Ferreira, J. (2017) Has the UK reached peak coffee shop? The Conversation 23/11/2017.
- Ferreira, J. (2016) Café nation: Exploring the Growth of the UK cafe industry. Area. 10.1111/area.12285
- Ferreira, J. (2016) ‘The third wave and the transformation of urban centres’ in Pilgrim, D (ed). Coffee Shop North.
- Ferreira, J. (2016) Minutes on the lips, a lifetime on the tip: the coffee cup waste mountain. The Conversation 29/07/2016.
- Ferreira, J. (2015) How the third wave of coffee shops is tranforming high streets. The Conversation. 27/07/2015.
A research summary report is available to download:
- Ferreira, J. (2017) Spaces of Community: Exploring dyanamics in the cafe industry. Coventry: Centre for Business in Society, Coventry University.
This research was featured in Coventry University's Innovate Magazine in January 2018.
Research Project- From the Grounds Up: The Coffee Shop Industry and the Circular Economy
The project aims to explore how businesses in the coffee shop industry, and consumers can engage in the circular economy, the facilitator and inhibitors for doing so, and the importance of these actions for sustainable economies and societies. The UK and Germany will be used as two case studies for exploring how and why the coffee shop industry takes part in the circular economy. The investigation is driven by the following research questions:
- To what extent is the circular economy evident in the coffee shop industry?
- In what ways do businesses and consumers in the coffee shop industry engage in the circular economy?
- What are the enablers and inhibitors for coffee shops and their consumers to adopt circular economy practices?
- What impacts can engagement with the circular economy have for coffee shops and its consumers?
There will be more updates on the blog as this project develops, but as background there are already a number of related blog posts:
- Coffee and the circular economy
- Beyond the Beans: Coffee shops and the circular economy
- The Square Mile Challenge and Sustainability at the London Coffee Festival
- Sustainable Coffee Cups: Huskee Cup
- Calling for coffee cups: coffee cup recycling activities
- Consumer’s, reusable cups and convenience
- On the need to continue discussions of waste: Government responds to 'latte levy' proposal.
- The coffeeshop industry, recycling and the circular economy
There are are also a series of presentations related to my research, with slides available upon request:
- 'The Coffeeshop Industry, Recycling and the Circular Economy', Leiden University, Netherlands. February 2018.
- ‘Beyond the bean: coffee, coffee shops and the circular economy’. Circular Economy: Transititioning to Sustainability Conference, Coventry University, Coventry, July 2017.
- ‘Fostering sustainable business in the coffee shop economy’, British Academy of Management Annual Conference, Warwick University, September 2017.
- ‘Exploring the new cafe society: spaces of possibility’, Royal Geographical Society Annual Conference, Royal Geographical Society, London, August 2017.
- Co-working and the cafe'. Workshop on co-working dynamics and the city. CAMEo - Research Institute for Cultural and Media Economies, University of Leicester. March 2017.
- 'Café culture: new frontiers in the UK’ Aberdeen May Festival, Aberdeen. May 2016.
- ‘Café Nation? Exploring the growth of the UK café industry’. Centre for Business in Society Seminar Series, Coventry University, Coventry. December 2015.
While the funded projects have been focused particularly on the UK and Germany, I am interested more broadly in different coffee and cafe cultures around the world, and how the coffee shop industry is developing in them. Some examples of more global developments in the café industry which I have begun to explore include:
- The expansion of cafe culture in China
- Indian cafe culture: the rise of Cafe Coffee Day
- The growth of the Mikel Coffee Company in Greece
- Exploring coffee shop culture in Russia
- Growing coffee shop culture in Nigeria: Cafe Neo and beyond
- Coffee culture and specialty coffee in the Middle East
Guest Lectures and Seminars
The Economic of International Business: The Coffee and Coffee Shop Industries, Coventry University, February 2018. Slides available on request.
The Coffee Shop Industry and Recycling, University of Leiden, Feburary 2018. Slides available on request.
What began as a small idea while sitting in a cafe has turned into a number of research projects with mutiple research pathways from cafe business models, cafes as co-working spaces, different cafe cultures, to sustainability in the cafe industry. For me it will always be a good reminder that you should never disregard even the smallest research idea, you never know what it might turn in to.