A hot bombshell has entered the villa and it's...instant coffee
America might run on Dunkin', but it's actually instant coffee that allows Love Islanders to keep their grafting boots on. If you've ever watched one (or all 55) hours of a Love Island UK season, you've likely become very familiar with this unlikely supporting character.
Historically speaking, this checks out. The coffee shop has long been a center of discourse, dating, and stimulation—a place that was very much missed during pandemic lockdowns. Food historian Tasha Marks reports in Art UK that, "In lockdown, one of the things many people have craved is a coffee. Not for the flavor—because you can make a decent one at home—but more for the social ceremony and taste of normality."
One could say that the Love Island UK villa is its own kind of simulated lockdown, harkening back to the early pandemic when we found comfort in rituals of normalcy (and novelty) with copious frosty glasses of Dalgona coffee.
After all, in an environment where you have to act fast (and with no alcohol), coffee is the most powerful stimulant there is. Used as a modern mating ritual in the villa, with all the Stockholm Syndrome romance of it all, the men spend their mornings scheming about who they're going to make an iced instant coffee for. Similar strategy meetings are being had by the women, and their own mid-morning pow-wows are not dissimilar to the heated chats on The West Wing or Succession. Who will be the lucky girl to receive the iced coffee? And from whom? And most importantly: Will he get their order right?
"I could never go on Love Island purely because of how long I'd have to wait for coffee in the morning," one wise Redditor posted. "If I had to wait for all the lads to stand around chatting about who they're gonna graft before bringing me my coffee I'd have murdered the whole villa by day 2." I think many of us can relate. Personally, if a "But first, coffee" throw pillow took a human form, it would be me. That self-knowledge, much like my own coffee preferences, is not something to be toyed with.
It's not just the making of the iced coffee that matters, either: Presentation is everything. On a recent episode of Love Island UK, Casey made Claudia iced coffee (cute), but served it in a bowl (not cute). He also had Tom bring it to her (mayday, mayday, this ship is sinking).
If you said that the bar for dating these days is located in the basement of hell, you'd be right. Tension radiates off of the group of women as they considered this gift horse, relieved they weren't on the receiving end of the coffee bowl and forced to lap up milky iced coffee like a dog.
These coffee exchanges are also key opportunities for eavesdropping and dueling amongst the men. One could even imagine David Attenborough narrating Love Island UK like a nature documentary: "See here, as one male approaches the female to pull her for a chat with a cuppa while another competing male panics and makes an iced latte."
Instant coffee is clearly both friend and foe to the couples. The origin of this strange morning ritual can be traced clearly back to one conflicted Islander in particular: Curtis from season five of Love Island UK. Coffee was how he both built connections in the house and distanced himself from them. One could say he literally "mugged off" Amy by rushing off each morning to make mugs of coffees for the rest of the house instead of lingering for a morning cuddle. A poorly made cup of instant iced coffee (or, in the case of Ron from this current season, a red-flag-confusion over even liking coffee) was enough to raise concerns of gaslighting.
The ritual of mixing coffee and courtship is nothing new. In addition to assessing the coffee-making skills of prospective spouses, it's actually a Turkish wedding ritual for brides to serve their grooms salted coffee. The salt is used as a test for their groom's temperament and to serve as a reminder that marriage is not always sweet.
Much like the ancient Turks before them, these modern lovers in the villa will likely always use instant coffee to chart their paths. Turning their empty coffee cups to the side, they can see their future in the grounds in more ways than one. What's true is that no matter how you take it, love (much like instant coffee) can be bittersweet yet mellow, cloyingly sweet yet exhilarating.2023-03-08T19:36:12Z dg43tfdfdgfd