Milk Revolution and the Homogeneous New Zealand Coffee Market
It is unsurprising that, as an enjoyable and social beverage, coffee has generated a coffee culture in Aotearoa New Zealand. Part of coffee’s enjoyment and culture is the range of milk types available for milk-based coffees. That range has grown in recent years. A2 Milk is a recent addition to that offering. The A2 Milk Company has experienced exceptional growth. However, my own experience as a coffee consumer in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand, has revealed that A2 Milk is not a milk that is commonly offered in many of the city’s cafés. Consequently, my research explores that lack and barista perceptions of A2 Milk within my research at The Coffee Club in Auckland’s Onehunga. As a franchise outlet, The Coffee Club constitutes a representative sample of a wider cohort, the 60 Coffee Clubs spread throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. While my research reinforces much of the knowledge about coffee culture in Aotearoa New Zealand, my emphasis on the influence of A2 Milk within that culture has revealed some interesting new insights. As my five professional barista participants at the Coffee Club revealed, rather than taking a proactive approach to A2 Milk, they were ‘waiting’ for one of two occurrences before considering the offering of A2 Milk. Those considerations included a ‘push’ from the A2 Milk Company that promoted A2 Milk within coffee culture. Additionally, my participants were waiting for their customers to ask for A2 Milk as a prompt to offering it. Given my observation that coffee menus in Auckland are homogenous, my baristas not promoting the distinction of A2 Milk constitutes a missed opportunity within a highly competitive café marketplace. The embrace of A2 Milk might enhance the artisanal skills of baristas and create an (albeit temporary) point of difference in Kiwi café and coffee culture. Additionally, and despite the positive reputation of New Zealand’s coffee culture, my research suggests that Kiwi coffee culture is conservative. That conservatism lacks the enthusiasm and technologies of global coffee culture. Consequently, my exploration of A2 Milk, as a point of difference within Kiwi coffee culture, is timely.