As I write this, I’m sitting in a coffee shop enjoying a cup of Vienna roast.
I spend a lot of time in coffee shops, whether it’s creative work like writing or coding, or other things like reading or socializing. I find that sitting in a coffee shop, surrounded by people, drinking coffee, and working on my computer, is much better than doing the same work by myself at home.
From the days of William Hazlitt’s “Coffee-house politicians,” however satirical, the original coffeehouses of Europe were places for people to gather together and talk freely about politics or philosophy or social matters. The culture which developed around them was one of community and often erudite discussion, something that all cultures gain from.
Coffee shops today have largely been overtaken by chains such as Starbucks, but I much prefer the uniqueness and culture of the more local, “3rd wave” coffee shops, which are quickly regaining their popularity.
Some people consider the reemergence of local coffee shops to be “yet another trend,” but what is a trend, really? Contrarians tend to think the mainstream is outright negative, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Trends have always existed throughout history. Local coffee shops have always been popular; and while many people’s view of a good coffeeshop may be clouded by venti mocha vanilla frappuccinos with whipped cream and caramel syrup at Starbucks, the love of good coffee is returning to the mainstream, which I consider to be nothing except for good.
I like to frequent new coffee shops often. The old culture of coffee shops – of reading, of conversations, of political discussion, of community – is mixed with a modern twist of technology and culture. As a result, this reemergence has created something entirely new.
Whereas many people are consumed by their phones, and we all worry that people might be forgetting personal conversation, when I visit coffee shops, I see young people putting their phones down and having conversations. I can’t think of anything bad about that. Interpersonal conversation and human connection are essential parts of living the human experience, and I see coffee shops keeping that alive.
I look forward to seeing where the new wave of coffee shop culture takes us in the coming years. With fresh roasted coffee and local coffee shops coming back, the coffee-lover in me couldn’t be happier.