I don’t like coffee. I hate coffee. I hate coffee shops.
I have genuinely heard people say these things whilst sitting next to me in a coffee shop – but it doesn’t surprise me.
I frequent coffee shops but not really for the coffee. I have a kettle and a latte machine at home and we have a Nespresso machine in the office, but you will often see me in a coffee shop on my laptop, on my phone or having a chat with my girlfriend. Okay, my girlfriend will tell you only the first two are true but you get the point.
The thing is… when I work from home, sometimes I don’t like to work from home. Sometimes I need to concentrate more than I can with my dogs licking my face and stealing my socks, so I pop to the coffee shop.
If I’m writing and my house is eerily silent, sometimes I need some atmosphere to get the juices flowing. Or the opposite and the office is too noisy and I need to escape, I nip across the road.
When I’m early to a client meeting and it’s raining outside, I’d much rather sit in a coffee shop than their reception. They have become the go to place for space, relaxation or atmosphere rather than for a pick me up or refreshment.
This is no bad thing – the coffee trade is booming. There are enough Prets in London for commuters to have one each but you still have to queue out the door for a Venti Iced Skinny Hazelnut Macchiato, Sugar-Free Syrup, Extra Shot, Light Ice, No Whip.
Some of us may be overdosing on caffeine but that really is down to self-control and you cannot hold the lure of the coffee shop responsible. What they are accountable for is the pleasant experience you have as you sit, reclined, working away with your tuna melt panini, going about your daily business.
Outside of work, we still “go for coffee”. What was once a breakfast companion is now a social outing thanks to fantastic marketing, loyalty schemes and customer service.
Coffee shops are no longer a place you get something from, coffee shops are a place you go to.
Undoubtedly there will be those that disagree. If you want to chat about it sometime, let’s meet up – we can go for a coffee.