The Recession, credit crunch, financial downturn or whatever it's being called this week is claiming another victim and this one hits me where it hurts, right in the percolator.
Back in the late 80s, before it became fashionable, a small group of us returned from a trip to Europe and wanting to bring a bit of the continent to our corner of the UK, began sitting outside a local cafe after work and drank coffee.
As i moved on and upwards, then downwards, then a bit sideways with a few loops thrown in for good measure, i have always found something satisfying and very continental about pavement cafes and especially the rise of coffee houses which i suspect had something to do with the Central Perk coffee house in Friends.
Now Starbucks has announced that it is packing up shop and closing down stores wherever it had laid down its coffee stained hat and if a large international corporation like that is feeling it, only stands to reason that the smaller houses are going to go the same way.
My local Starbucks is soon to go and as much as i dislike large global brands, this coffee behemoth took coffee drinking to a new level and away from chipped mugs and a choice between Nescafe or something the owner found in the back of the shelf and smelt vaguely like coffee.
Places like Costa Coffee and Starbucks raised the bar for all the other coffee chains but it seems that the UK cafe culture could well be over with people finding that they can get their caffeine fix just as easily, and much cheaper, from a cup of instant made in their own home.
It had a good run but by the time we come out the other side of the present money mess, the coffee shop culture will be a thing of the past but for those of us who thought sitting around supping coffee was suave and sophisticated before everyone else jumped on the bandwagon, it is a return to the old times.