Pakistan, officially known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is the world’s fifth-largest populous country with a total population of 212.2 million people (as of 2018). As they say, “coffee is a common man’s gold”, and like gold, it brings the feeling of luxury and nobility to every person.
What comes to your mind when someone says ‘coffee’? Most probably, Italian espresso, American coffee, or French café au lait, right? But very few people know the Muslim origins of this delicious drink, which came from the highlands of Ethiopia and Yemen.
During the early 15th century Muslim empire, coffee houses began appearing in the cities of Cairo, Makkah, Damascus, Baghdad, and Istanbul. This is from where a refreshing beverage like coffee found its way to Europe, leading to a culture of coffee.
This coffee culture has transformed the coffee houses or cafés into relaxing places for gatherings where people can read, write, meet, and spend quality time together. This culture that fascinated Americans and Europeans for long has now found its way back again into Islamic countries as well as Arab and Asian countries, but this time, with a bang!
Pakistan, traditionally a tea-loving country, is now embracing the strong taste, aroma, and bold color of coffee. Many cafés are operational in Pakistan, including international chains like Starbucks, Second Cup, Gloria Jean’s, etc.
Not to mention, Pakistan’s local cafés are also not less than international brands. Some to name are Butler’s Chocolate Café, Arcadian Café, Chaaye Khana, English Tea House, Jade Café, and more.
Rise of Coffee Culture in Pakistan
The coffee culture in Pakistan curved up with the launch of Espresso in Karachi in 2004. But things got real when an international chain like Gloria Jean’s entered the Pakistani market in 2007. Throughout all these years, coffee transformed from a dark, bitter drink that was once consumed by elite and ex-pats only to a beverage that youth consider as ‘something cool and classy.’
Today, one can find a lot of coffee shops across the country. From local to international cafés, youngsters can be seen gossiping, working, or just chilling alone with a cup of their favorite coffee, giving rise to the coffee culture in Pakistan.
Coffees You Can Find in the Cafés of Pakistan
The most favorite coffees are cappuccino, mocha, and latte because most Pakistanis prefer their coffee to be sweet, milky, and frothy. A regular cup of coffee sells for 250 to 500 rupees ($1.5 to $3) in Pakistan, depending on the type of coffee.
Both local and branded coffee shops sell all types of coffee to their customers. Foreigners, who are usually coffee purists, are seen drinking their black coffee with no added sugar, cream, or any sweetener. On the other hand, Pakistanis like their coffee to be sweet and creamy.
Following are the types of coffee one can find in the coffee shops of Pakistan:
- Black Coffee
- Instant Coffee (popular in Pakistan)
- Milk-Based Coffee (Pakistanis love it)
- Flat Milk
- Iced and Cold Coffee
- Nitro Coffee
- Cold Brew
International Coffee Brands in Pakistan
Following are the names of some international coffee brands operating in Pakistan:
1. Second Cup
Second Cup, a Canadian coffee brand, came to Pakistan in 2013. It started in Lahore and Islamabad and then made its way to other cities as well, including Sialkot, Faisalabad, Gujrat, and more. They offer a warm, modern, and comfortable environment to their customers and provide an excellent variety of coffee drinks.
The Canadian café boasts the latest coffee machines, highly-trained staff as well as certified baristas that most local cafés don’t have. Most coffee beans are exclusive to Second Cup and are imported from Costa Rica, Indonesia, Columbia, Sumatra, and Central Africa.
Gloria Jean’s, an American-Australian retail coffeehouse chain, has played a phenomenal role in raising the coffee culture in a tea-loving country like Pakistan. Although the coffee there tastes mediocre, they provide a cozy place for youngsters to hang out and have fun.
Cinnabon is an American chain that is now introduced in Pakistan. One can easily find its branches in Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore. They are known for serving good-tasting coffee and fresh, aromatic cinnamon rolls.
Coffee Planet is a UAE brand, and they are the masters of Arabica coffee. The café provides free Wi-Fi and has a comfortable sitting area where people can do small business meetings or just spend quality time. If you want to experience the taste of Arabica beans, then Coffee Planet is your place to go.
Although the per capita consumption of coffee in this country is less than 0.8 kg, the café culture in Pakistan, especially in Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad, is bound to change this number quite soon. Being used as an energy drink during long prayer sessions by Muslims of the 14th century, coffee has come a long way.
Now, coffee is more than just a drink to Pakistanis – it is a passion, luxury, and an art.