Coffee was a fairly unusual drink when I was young most people in working class homes back then would be tea drinkers. My first encounter was with Camp Coffee an almost black liquid in a bottle that had a small amount of coffee essence in it and was mainly chicory. My dad would sometimes make himself a cup of Camp coffee and I must have been about eight when I tasted this for the first time.
Most real coffee drinkers would probably say that Camp Coffee is nothing like real coffee but in those days you took what you could get hold of.
I believe that Camp coffee is still on the go today but now it is mainly used as a flavouring when making such things as coffee cake etc.
In the forties and early fifties a lot of products were still on ration in Britain so people often made do with faux products.
In the fifties Espresso Bars became very popular mostly run by continentals and this was where a lot of us got our first taste of real coffee made from fresh ground coffee beans.
I must have been about fourteen when I started hanging out in a local Espresso Bar run by a Greek Family.
The Espresso bars became an informal meeting place for teenagers films like Cliff Richards Exspresso Bongo reinforced its cool image. Here is a link to a a clip from this film if you want to see how cool we looked back then (well we thought we did lol..) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDCJdDIZXj8
The Espresso bars served the coffee in tiny little glass cups and we all drank it because if you were a teenager it was the cool and sophisticated thing to do.
The coffee was always strong but we soon found that it tasted really nice if you put lots of sugar in.
These days I very rarely drink coffee I stick to my cuppa tea as I prefer tea to coffee and I suppose now I no longer have to worry about being cool and sophisticated.
So as you can see I didn't get addicted to coffee though I think I might be a little addicted to my cuppa tea :D