We know what you’re thinking: That headline’s not exactly a novel thought.
While it’s true that the café embraced the castoffs long before anyone else did, our culture’s changed a lot—a lot—since the days of the Beatnik. And yet it could be argued that the café is still a place that exists outside the mainstream.
There’s no way that’s possible, you’re probably thinking, not when there’s a café literally on every corner in every town with a population over 100.
To which we say, have you taken a moment to consider what your life looks like these days? Yeah, we read headlines all the time that announce how Millennials are socially illiterate because they’ve spent their most formative years engaging almost exclusively through social media. But the rest of us aren’t all that better off.
In fact, as more of us work from home and do the bulk of our shopping online, coffee is becoming one of the last remaining reasons we’re willing to leave the house.
Since we opened a cafe of our own, it’s become clear that the café is operating well outside the mainstream norms. If a time-lapse camera caught a typical day here—or, we have to believe, at almost any other café—the footage would show a beautiful cross-section: professionals on the way to the office, students on their way to and from school, errand-runners, errand-dodgers, community groups, school groups, religious groups, and work-from-home professionals, alone and in conference, among lots of others.
We still come together for a variety of occasions, but rarely from such diverse walks. And, sure, convenience and atmosphere play a part, but the coffee is the real driver.
It’s true that the coffee always tastes better in a café. Even when you buy the same beans and brew them meticulously. Also true: The mere scent of coffee brewing is intoxicating and inspiring.
But even though we drink coffee (religiously), we do so for different reasons. Some love the taste, others, the ritual, and still others, the caffeine. And in that way, the café is also something different to each of us. It’s a place to fill up on the go and get together with friends or colleagues. Or check out from our lives for a moment and fade into the background.
So, even as we develop an aversion to human contact, the cafés continue to multiply—because there’s something in them for all of us. Which really shouldn’t be an uncommon concept in this day, but, nonetheless, it is.