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New York City Coffee Shops and Their Problems

Coffee shops are a place where college students spend their weekends, professionals send important emails, and meetings take place. They are an important part of the working world, therefore, there is an expectation that they have all of the necessary things to be as productive as possible. Personally, I work best outside of my bedroom. The motivation of others that surround me as we are simultaneously typing on our computers and riding the coffee buzz allows me to get a ton of work done. In my journey of trying many coffee shops around the city, I have found that there are limited coffee shops that have everything you need to have a good day of work. I have made a list of all the things that are necessary to make a coffee shop worth going back to.


There needs to be enough food on the menu to sustain yourself as you are working throughout the day, but not so much that you feel like you are at a restaurant and have limited time to eat. If there is table service it is probably not the place to stay all day, therefore, you can’t spend as much time as you want there and eventually will have to spend your money somewhere else. The in-between coffee shop and restaurant are confusing to the demographic. You are looking for a walk up and order kind of spot. An egg and cheese in addition to the normal pastry or two are enough to make a coffee shop worthwhile.

2. Outlets

With Apple products filling the coffee shop there will be a need for outlets. Battery life is its own issue, therefore, coffee shops should recognize this and provide an easy solution by including outlets all over the walls, ceiling, and pillars. Walking into a coffee shop, buying a coffee shop then opening your computers to see that you have 20 percent battery left sucks. Then you remember you have your cord and feel very proud of yourself that you are prepared in this situation. As you are ready to plug your computer in you realize outlets are nowhere to be seen. By this point, you already spent money on coffee and now you have to leave and buy another coffee at a coffee shop with outlets. Ultimately this frustration will be too much to focus and you will give up on homework.

3. Wifi

Link NYC is not wifi. If you go to a coffee shop and they say, “well we don’t have our own wifi but you can you Link NYC,”. RUN! It is not the place for you. Link NYC works about 50% of the time for about 50% of the time you were planning on using it. It is not reliable for a whole day of work. There should be free wifi provided as a customer. It should be on a chalkboard or somewhere obvious that welcomes you to sit and connect and do your business.

Overall, New York City has a high demand for coffee shops and there are a lot of shitty ones. Trial and error or deep dive on yelp is the best way to find your perfect place to work. When you find it, hold on to that place for as long as you can. Do not tell your friends or post a review until you have too much of a personal relationship with the staff that it is weird or you feel like they are keeping their business open with the money you are spending on coffee. The standards I hold for a good coffee shop are not very high. I am not necessarily demanding sunlight or good music, even though that helps, I just want a space that feels like they want me to be productive.

 4. Bathroom

Having a bathroom is critical to feeling comfortable in a coffee shop environment. Drinking several cups of coffee means there will be some sort of bowel movement during the day. There is no avoiding it! The feeling of leaving your belongings in a coffee shop to find the closest bathroom comes with a lot of awkward moments. You have to tell the barista you are leaving so they know you just did not abandon your stuff. Then make it clear that you are leaving for a bathroom-related trip which is not really the baristas business. Especially if they are the classic cute Brooklyn ones that you flirt with. Not having a bathroom insinuates they do not want you hanging out there. The coffee shop wants you to be there for just enough time to drink your coffee, which is only enough time to send a few emails.


Lily Secter

New School '22

I am currently a first-year student, studying journalism and design at The New School. I am interested in writing about news related to being a college student and what is happening in our world.
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