There are few things that I find myself overly opinionated about, but coffee shops are one of them. You could say I should shout about something more important, but then you would be failing to realise quite how important these beverage stops are.
Done well, a coffee shop can be the centre of a community, a welcome slice of calm, or inspiring dose of conversation. For that to happen, the following things are non-negotiable.
Seriously good coffee
The kind that tastes good in its simplest form, without the need for extra froth/syrup/gingerbread toppings.
Surely everyone prefers to start the day with a genuine smile and a few easy words. Extra points for remembering the regulars’ usual order.
Free and easy wifi
An internet connection that really works is a rare treat. So many places promise wifi, only to offer the equivalent of a string and a tin can.
Carefully chosen music
I like to hear what different staff will choose in the morning: always a better variety than radio, with the added delight of no radio adverts. If you host live music events, all the better.
Plenty of space
Like it or not, the coffice is a real thing. The busy hum of a cafe is the best thing for focusing on a task. I like space enough that I can sit quietly in a corner and finish my thoughts, even after I’ve finished my coffee. That only works if you’re not taking up the last table in a tiny hole-in-the-wall (though I do love those places too!)
With good music, plenty of space, and friendly baristas who know the locals, you have the makings of a genuine community space.
Other seemingly-unimportant things on which I hold strong opinions: campsites, banter, and acrylic wool. I’ll save those for another day…
(This post was inspired by my favourite local: Mettricks.)