Confessions of a Coffee House Junkie

“It doesn’t matter where you’re from — or how you feel… There’s always peace in a strong cup of coffee.”
Gabriel Bá, Daytripper

I am a coffee shop junkie. I seek out locally owned coffee shops when I am traveling. I don’t seek caffeine. I seek out different experiences I have in each one. Coffee shops allow me to come in, sit where I choose, read a book, use their free wi-fi, and talk to anyone who sits next to me. With their permission. They don’t require a tip even though they discriminately display a “tip jar” right next to the register. A tip for what? No one serves me.

A coffee shop was originally defined as “a small usually inexpensive restaurant serving refreshments and light meals.” Coffee was a refreshment that came with your breakfast. Coffee can be the main meal accompanied by an organic pastry, brownie, or yogurt. I order coffee alone.

Before Starbucks (Greer AZ)

I must confess that I usually order a grande cappuccino or an iced matcha latte. I don’t like the drinks that have sugar, whipped cream, soy, or chocolate. I substitute honey for sugar. Iced coffee is not one of my choices. My coffee must be hot. It takes me about an hour to drink it. I order interesting sounding drinks when I am coffee house shopping. Columbia Obraje Geisha, Cascara, Cherry Tea, and Cortado. I open myself up to different experiences.

After Starbucks ( Scottsdale, AZ) Maverick Cafe

I must confess that I only drink Starbucks if there are no other choices. Starbucks is an easy choice on ASU campus because they are everywhere. Students congregate to work on projects, do their homework, and hang out with their friends.I had to stand in line with forty students, staff, and faculty before I went to my first class and wait impatiently to order. I arrived at class and 50% of my students had their cup of Starbucks displayed in front of them. There are signs in every classroom that warn students not to drink or eat in class. I never made it a rule not to drink.

Starbucks, founded in Seattle in 1971, changed the concept of a coffee shop. It introduced Italian names for coffee such as the cappuccino, latte, macchiato, frappuccino, and cold brews. The design of the coffee shop changed from a diner setting with red plastic booths and metal chairs to a living room setting with brown leather sofas, fabric covered chairs, community tables, and dimmer lighting. The decor includes a map with all of the coffee growing countries drawn on the wall with chalk. Almost every coffee shop I have visited models themselves after Starbucks.

Hip coffeehouse chain serving up house-roasted brews in chill, bohemian surroundings

Cartel Coffee Lab

I must confess that I usually don’t know anything about the coffee shop before I walk in. I always ask Siri to find coffee shops that are close to where I am at the time. I pick from Siri’s suggestions. I don’t want other people’s opinions to affect my thinking. I want to enter with an open mind. When I return home I look at their Facebook page, coffee blog, news, and a list of events. I read about the history of the coffee shop, how it was started, where the beans come from, and how they protect the farmers that grow the beans. It’s not only about the coffee but also about the people who work on the coffee plantations around the world. Without them, we would have no coffee.

Madrid, New Mexico

Laid back coffeehouse and wine bar offering sips, snacks, and live music in a spare warehoure like space

Talebu Coffee and Wine Cafe

I must confess that I never drink wine in a coffee shop. It would be like drinking coffee in a bar. Very unusual and not expected. Some coffee shops serve red and white wines and craft beer. Coffee shop hours have also been extended to 10:00–11:00 p.m. This keeps the customers coming after the coffee hour is finished and encourages them to linger longer. Some coffee shops offer game nights, open mic events, and birthday parties. Is this still a coffee shop?

Choice house roasted coffee and baked goods served in a hip, industrial space with ample seating.

Peixoto Coffee

The idea for a private language school I owned for ten years became a reality with the advice of a very good friend in a coffee shop. Coffee houses serve as offices for business people to have meetings, conduct interviews, and take a break from the office atmosphere. Students congregate at coffee shops to work on projects, do their homework, and hang out with their friends. Parents get together with their children and have conversations about their everyday life. Women meet in coffee shops and eliminate the hassle of cleaning up their homes for visitors. The atmosphere of a coffee house is very welcoming.

Maverick (Scottsdale, AZ)

Yes, I am a coffee house junkie.

Coffee anyone?

Life happens when you take chances.

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