Day 16 of experiencing colour through the coffee shop ambiance..
I grew up in an age where coffee shops did not exist. I used to read about them in books set in Europe. The only coffee I ever drank was instant (how did I do it?). I studied French at school and my impression of a coffee shop was a haven where writers gathered to discuss literary topics and debate philosophical questions over tiny cups of espresso, swathed in clouds of cigarette smoke.
Certainly Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre did, at a very famous cafe in Paris, the Cafe de Flor. I tried reading their books in both French and English, but found their existential point of view very hard to fathom and mostly depressing.
Coffee shops today tend to have a low key relaxed vibe with an emphasis on muted tones and lighting, using plenty of wood, rough brickwork or plaster and stone or concrete floors. Plants, unusual light fittings and paintings or posters often form part of the decor. Coffee machines, the beans, bags of coffee for purchase, the cups and sweet or savoury treats, all seem to blend into these informal backgrounds. The actual shop size varies a lot from a tiny space with a minimum of seating to big converted warehouses.
It’s great if there’s outdoor seating as well. One of my favourite locations that opened recently over here, has the perfect shady courtyard out the back.
Just writing about coffee and coffee shops makes me think it’s high time for a visit…! Are you free to join me?
Where’s your favourite coffee hangout?