Thursday, May 28, 2009


I'm an extroverted introvert. No joke - an official test told me so (and they are never wrong). Anyway, I sometimes enjoy being solo around other people and java joints provide me with the opportunity. I've walked into many different types, from streamlined corporate establishments (Starbucks) to grungy places that love using yeast and kale (Satellite) to quiet, unassuming, ethnic places nestled in Chinatown (Ray's) or off Rittenhouse (Almaz).

My biggest concern is a menu that actually appeals to my palate at prices I am willing to pay. For example, my issue with Starbucks coffee is not primarily the price, but the fact I don't enjoy the taste of their coffee enough to be willing to pay that price. Nine times out of ten, I'll make a tea purchase instead while there.

Next on my list is customer service. Coffee shops that purposely try to be indifferent or slightly rude to their customers strike me as pretentious. These types of places used to intimidate me, but now I stroll in anyway, flash a cheerful smile at the moody barista, and sip my beverage while eavesdropping on nearby conversations.

When a place strikes the balance between yummy fare and a respectful atmosphere, it is golden.

Is the culture of a coffee/tea shop an important aspect for you when choosing one to be a regular at? Do you care if the majority of the clientele are people you wouldn't regularly spend time with or dress like? Do they need to be saving trees or baby seals for you to be willing to hand them your money?

No comments: