The Minimalist Blogger’s Coffee Shop
white cups on a wooden table
The coffee shop is where great things happen, like the first volume of the Harry Potter series and any number of other wonderful literary works. There’s just something about being able to sit at a little table all by your lonesome tapping away at the laptop or scrawling away in the notebook, fueled by caffeine and just enough nothing-to-do-with-you activity to keep you from falling asleep on the job.
If you expected this post to be about the actual coffee shop where I write, you’d be wrong, because I don’t have one. It’s not for lack of coffee shops where I live, but rather for not yet finding one with the right combination of location, ambience, price, quality of beverage, outlets, and wi-fi service. I didn’t expect that I’d be so fussy as a minimalist blogger, so I wanted to think about each of these elements and see if I was kidding myself.
Location: it’s ideally within walking distance. My knees aren’t in good enough shape for biking, but I can manage a few blocks of walking and really enjoy it.
Ambience: there’s enough window and/or tables by a window so I can see the activity and weather on the street. I like cozy but dark public spaces just creep me out. Ideally the place is clean, but not necessarily upmarket. The staff and other customers only know me as someone who writes a lot on the laptop. They might know my name after a while, but they are neither lofty nor intrusively friendly. Neutral, that’s what I want. There can be background music–if it is quiet. Very quiet.
Price: this is a biggie. I’m so frugal I almost always just order a plain black coffee. The shop needs the right balance of business and quiet times so that I don’t feel like a complete jerk taking up table real estate for an hour or so for the price of a black (free refills) coffee and maybe some cinnamon toast or a cookie.
Quality of beverage: there’s nothing on earth that compares to a cup of old fashioned diner coffee. It doesn’t leave me wired or give me sensory overload. Gourmet coffee shops often have coffee that is brewed so strong that I end up ordering a regular and ask for it in a large cup and diluted with hot water. It’s not that I don’t appreciate strong coffee–a true Turkish coffee is amazing and I’ve had baristas serve me beverages that make me think I’ve died and gone to heaven. It’s just that when they screw up, it’s like drinking gasoline. I don’t care how fashionable it is, I’m not paying good money to drink gasoline.
Outlets: my laptop is very old and the battery lasts about 15 minutes. Really modern coffee shops have enough outlets but also have overkill coffee and prices to match. Diners are easier but there’s no place to plug in.
Wi-fi service: when I write, I often research as I go, so I want my Google and I want it NOW. Wi-fi is like the outlets–newer coffee shops have it, diners usually don’t.
So where does that leave me? Right here at my dining room table, on a simple wooden chair. From this vantage point I can see out all the windows across the front of the house and the front door, so I can watch cars and pedestrians going by, and take in the sunshine and the changing fall colors. It’s self-service, but super-cheap, and I don’t have to drive there. The coffee’s made just the way I like it. Unlike other places this one allows animals and there’s a friendly cat to cuddle while enjoying a bottomless cuppa basic black coffee in the morning, and a cuppa tea in the afternoon. There are even two al fresco areas, one on the street side, and another in a quiet patio garden–there are outlets and wi-fi out there, too. And occasionally this guy called Steve stops in and says hi; I think I have a crush on him ;D