Five Things I ~Need~ in a Coffee Shop, and Probably You Do Too

At least it isn't Starbucks, but some are better than others. 

  1. 1. A Selection of Milks

    I need variety. If you are vegan, lactose intolerant, or like to mix it up, you know the disappointment that comes from only seeing “Milk” and “Cream.” I am mostly dairy-free these days, but sometimes I want almond and sometimes I want oat. They don’t all need to be in the same place--I understand the need for refrigerating certain kinds of milk and not others--but goodness. My mood changes and with it so does my milk selection. 

  2. 2. Local Art on the Walls 

    Whether its feminist recreations of WW2 propaganda, melancholy sunsets intended to be in one’s home state, or carefully arranged live model portraits, every self-respecting coffee shop needs some prints and postcards alongside its deep couches and scratched tables.

  3. 3. Worn-Yet-Loved Furniture 

    Speaking of scratched tables, I just love those dusty corduroy couches and wobbly chairs that permeate the coffee shops I frequent. One of them warranted a nasty Yelp review which claimed that the cafe was not as charming once one “looked a little closer,” but I personally believe these things increase their charm. Think of all the awkward first date and spilled lattes that have existed in that furniture, angry Yelp reviewer!

  4. 4. Chatty Barista 

    It can get hectic as you weave your way through the morning crowd of pre-caffeinated people. Then, it gets boring while you wait for your drink. And that’s just how we, the customers, feel. Imagine how those who have to run the place feel. Customers shouting, hot coffee spilling, the espresso machine broken again--our baristas do sure put up with a lot. That’s why we appreciate it when, despite all that, they’re so nice to us. Way to remember our name, place the cinnamon on our latte, and call us “honey.” 

  5. 5. Acai Bowls 

    This one is trendier than the others. But these things are unbelievably delicious. It’s like a healthier, more refreshing version of ice cream. It's the coffee shop caviar. 

All caffeine-oriented places are equal. But some are more equal than others. (My dorm during finals, for example? Not so equal.)