Friday, 20 January 2012

Confessions of a Coffee Shop Junkie

 Ok so it’s official, I am a “coffee shop junkie”, or so I’ve been told. I got off work early today and was so excited by the fact that I could take my “work” outside of the school and complete the tasks in my favourite coffee shop. While I would not consider myself a “workaholic,” I would say that I absolutely love to take my work outside of the work place and complete it where I want.
            Why is it that I would rather bring my work to a coffee shop rather than working in the comfort of my own home? Why would anyone go to a coffee shop? For good coffee, right?  Well my case the reasons might seem somewhat strange. I come here, and I say here, because I also do most of my writing in the coffee shop, for everything but the coffee, in fact I don’t even drink coffee (in the traditional sense).  I am more of a tea lover and occasionally I enjoy a tea latte (London Fog being one of my favourites).  Rarely I will try a new mocha or a holiday treat, but for the most part I am a tea drinker. I love the feeling of a warm, sweet drink between my hands as I pause between marking papers, or try to come up the with the perfect word to express a thought.
            Enough about me and my drink preferences, why is it that someone who doesn’t even love coffee, would love coming to (and sitting for hours in)  a coffee shop? I am going to suggest a couple of reasons. For one I am a very social person and love the sound of “coffee shop chatter”.

Coffee Shop Chatter: the sound of various conversations that can sometimes blend to create white noise when tuned out, or inspire ideas when listening.

            Coffee shop chatter is one of the more interesting elements of being in a coffee shop. Most of the time I don’t hear everything because I am working and can tune a lot of the words out, but what I do hear are tidbits of people’s lives, which can be very intriguing and sometimes make for good writing. While the coffee shop is a public space, people tend to share very private thoughts without whispering. Some things are better left unheard, while others are often amusing. Some examples include the traditional “Woman to woman coffee shop date.”

Woman to Woman Coffee Shop Date: when two female friends meet to catch-up, discuss the titillating details of their social and love lives, and rag on their significant others.

            Woman to woman coffee shop dates are something that I myself have done many times and are one of the more popular types of coffee shop meetings that I have witnessed during my experiences as a coffee shop junkie.

            While, creepily listening in on coffee shop chatter can be interesting at times, one of the main reasons I come to coffee shops for work is the atmosphere. Yes, this might sound cheesy and somewhat cliché, but I have to admit that the atmosphere in the coffee shops I visit really keeps me focused while working, or helps me to feel welcome. From the lighting to the music, you can see that a lot of thought has been put into the development of these spaces. Coffee shops are designed with workers, readers and different types of meeting in mind. There are some large tables, often called “community tables” where a large group could sit or various workers could spread out their lap tops and papers. There are comfortable reading or meeting chairs that are designed for short dates or long reads. There are also traditional small tables, generally for two. These tables are often small and round, designed for two people to rest their coffee, scone or small sandwich while meeting to “chat.”

            Finally, I love the people who work in, and frequently visit coffee shops. I guess I should say most of the people. There is a certain culture that comes with the coffee shop experience and those of us who come often tend to share in the small joys of friendly faces and courteous gestures.  I guess the real reason why I like coffee shops is the people, they are the ones who help to create the atmosphere and share in the same small joys of the space.

If you consider yourself a coffee shop junkie please share. What is it that makes your coffee shop experience a good one?

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