Coffee Shop Vibe

A barista's take on life in the espresso lane...

Java Ambiance Made Great

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. -- Plato

Close your eyes for a moment and think about all the coffee shops that you ever visited. Remember the smells, the décor, the people and, most importantly for this post, the music. I know this is an odd way to start a blog, but I’m a part-time barista and coffee shop junkie. It doesn’t matter to me if it is a large chain or a one table café in the corner of the bus station. There is something magical about coffee shops.

What makes Coffee Shops Different?

Ok there is the obvious, the coffee, really the beans and who roasted them, but other than that it is the feel of the environment, the vibe if you will. Some of the atmosphere is created by the physical environment, the chairs, paint, lighting, etc., but to me the most influential aspect of the coffee shop culture is the music that is playing in the background.

Don’t believe me? Here is my challenge. In the next 7 days visit 4 coffee shops. Note the number and type of people. Examine the décor and furniture. Count how many people are wearing headphones. If there are a lot of people wearing headphones I can guarantee you, they are negatively affected by the background music. Think about it. When was the last time you paid money to see a band in concert and wore headphones and listened to someone else’s music? Ok, a bit of a stretch, but part of the culture is the music. I know a lot of people who won’t go to certain coffee shops because they have “old people music”, or “the music is the same every day”, or simply “their music stinks”.

Where am I Going with This?

Am I a coffee shop music evangelist? Absolutely. It is so easy to get good streaming music through the internet that is totally legal without paying an arm and a leg. For instance, even though I don’t want to “officially plug” anyone, the old shop I worked at used this company. They rocked because we could program the music to change depending on the time of day, day of the week, season, holiday or whatever. In addition, if one of the regulars said they really liked a particular group or song we could program those songs to play when they were there. Talk about customer friendly, they always came back and usually with more friends. It’s so easy!

Moving Forward

I will admit I’m hoping my current boss will see this. While I love working at her shop the music is horrible. I’ve heard the same song 18,000,000 times today and I might go insane. I do think however I will continue this blog and add more posts about what I think makes a great coffee shop. If you have any ideas please add them to the comment. Here's a link I found to some really cool coffee shops.

Java Up!