The best kind of coffee shops are the ones built into old houses, in awkwardly shaped buildings, in run-down holes in the wall. Where the mugs are chipped and no one cares, the floors are a bit grimey, the windows have the same coffee drips running down from a spill, all year round.
Where you can find a communal table with a weathered copy of “Where The Wild Things Are” (complete with a penned-in psychological analysis. “Conclusion: Max was a horrible king”) and you’re forced to practice the splits while you blog because there’s a broken heater where your knees should be.
The baristas are a little too cool for you, or way more friendly than you’d ever expect. A macchiato comes in a thimble, instead of a white paper cup with piles of sugar on top.
The best kind of coffee shop probably has locally roasted, or direct trade, or fair trade, or organic coffee. Or maybe all of those things at once. It’s probably owned by someone who lives down the street. They probably steamed your latte for you, in fact. You’ve probably never heard of the music they’re playing.
An American Eagle sweater feels overdressed, socks with flats are perfectly acceptable. You can leave your laptop or purse to reserve a spot while you order and come back to find a stranger guarding it for you, without having been asked.
There is community. Imperfection is celebrated: the mark of another human having loved this counter before you. Dead roses for decoration in an old stainless pitcher.
A man lost his book, and this half of the shop searches under newspapers until he finds it, because this is one of the best coffee shops.