from Zoe Wheeldon, The British Coffee Association

Sir; The article ‘Café culture stirs hot drinks market’ (Focus on hot beverages, The Grocer, September 13, p45-55) states that “Starbucks and Costa Coffees have turned many Brits into caffeine junkies, with a growing taste for stronger, richer coffees that has translated into their drinking habits back home.”

We do not consider the use of the term “caffeine junkies” appropriate. To enjoy a cup of coffee on a regular basis may be a habit, but habit and addiction are very different.

The World Health Organisation has said there is no evidence that caffeine use has even remotely comparable consequences to those associated with serious drug abuse. Research by reputable scientists has shown that caffeine in moderate amounts does not act on the brain in the same way as drugs that are known to be addictive, such as amphetamines and cocaine.

People can enjoy their coffee in moderation, without undue concerns for their health.