On a recent business trip, I stopped (thanks to Foursquare. I’m not sure I would’ve seen it tucked away) at a Espresso Love Coffee in Mukwonago, Wisconsin. It is a delightful place and clearly loved by the community as people of all sorts (farmers, business-types, shoppers, and the usual coffee shop types) came and went, or stayed and chatted. It was what a local coffee shop should be.
Perhaps due to the economic situation, but Kel and I have become more committed to buying local than we once did. We consciously work to support local businesses and to frequent local coffee shops over the common name brand types that have corporate influence. One of my favorites is Quincy’s, who serve my favorite coffee, Intelligentsia (roasted in nearby Chicago…. that’s local, isn’t it?). I love hanging out at Quincy’s not only because of the coffee and service, but also its communal vibe, that the people who hang out here see and live life creatively and aren’t just sitting by while others shape the world.
I think it’s that creative element that prompts people to travel to a treasured local coffee shop to read, think, and write. It’s what draws me. Different from English pubs where social conversation and drinking is the goal, a good local coffee shop facilitates reflection and perspective. There’s a slow-down, a pause (interrupted by caffeine) that gives me a chance to stay grounded to reflect, create, and think deeply beyond consumerism’s ploy via trivia.
Whenever I pass Main Street Roasters in Nappanee, I remember spending winter nights there, headphones blaring U2 songs while finishing the Talksheets Books. In the midst of a small town full of Amish, the coffee shop was an oasis of modernity and killer(and free) wifi. I know other writers have moved manuscripts one step further by trudging to the local coffee shop for inspiration. Lauren Winner found such at her local coffee shop, The Mudhouse, that its name made it into her first book’s title,Mudhouse Sabbath: An Invitation to a Life of Spiritual Discipline (Pocket Classics).
What’s your ‘coffee shop’ routine?