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Instant attraction

Britain's love affair with instant coffee

By Philip Rushworth  

A Nescafé instant coffee advert from 1955 (photo: alsis35)

At the Quetzal Coffee Company stall in Salisbury market, Simon Stevens is doing a roaring trade. One couple want Indonesian coffee. “Java?” he suggests, but they’re more interested in the Sumatra—or was it the Sulawesi? Standing here it’s easy to forget that Britain is hopelessly hooked on instant coffee. Until, that is, Simon tells me about a customer earlier that day who mistook his white containers of coffee for paint.

No, we…

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