Thursday, June 30, 2011

Why Writing and Coffee go Together

A lot of people wonder why it's so common for writers to be found at coffeehouses. I know I often make fun of the phenomenon myself, and I've also been one of those writers, typing away at my laptop, somehow finding inspiration within the noisily quiet establishment. You may ask what it is that attracts writers to coffeehouses? Well, the easiest answer is the free wifi generally offered at most of them. It's practically a staple, and while it helps, it's only half accurate.

While the wifi, the coffee and the soft alternative music is usually a nice addition, it's not necessarily the draw. What is then?

Unlike some places, you can go to a coffeehouse and even when everyone in there is talking, it's pretty peaceful. Somehow, it tends to be a place where people mind their manners and don't talk so loud that everyone can hear them. Maybe it's because of the relaxing music, the delicious coffee, or the distracting wifi, but something about a coffeehouse makes people calm down and relax.

So next time you've hit a wall in your writing, take your laptop with you to your favorite coffeehouse, curl up in a reclusive corner with a nice hot latte, and let the atmosphere wash over you. Even if you're not a coffee drinker, a nice cup of tea is also an amazing writer's companion.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Art of the Coffeehouse

I love coffee. Whether it's a latte, a cappuccino, or just regular drip coffee, I love it all. I seek out great coffee shops and will spend my time just lounging on their couches, sipping my $5 latte happily simply for the atmosphere. They're peaceful and quiet, even when there are groups talking. It's a creative atmosphere where writers feel comfortable enough to create, artists want to put their paintings up, and it just hums with the creative energy of these people.

It only costs at most $1 to make that latte, but I pay that extra $4 for the atmosphere, and the art. Not just the art on the walls, but the latte itself. Being a barista, I've come to understand the time and care that it takes to make a good latte. Good timing, careful creation, and practice make an average latte a great latte. Something you'll curl up with and come back for time and time again. The difference between the Corporate Chain latte that you grab simply because it's easy, and the local Coffeehouse Latte that makes you willing to go out of you way to get.

When it's my first time going to a new coffeehouse, I always get a cappuccino. While I usually prefer a flavored latte, it lets me actually taste the coffee and see if the place is worth the money. It also lets me test the skill of the barista. A real cappuccino, made from equal parts espresso, steamed milk and foamed milk, with a sugar cube on the side, if made right, is amazing. If made wrong, it can be absolutely dreadful. I haven't gone back to places because the cappuccino was that bad. It's only been one coffeehouse so far that has been that bad, but I haven't been back since.

I appreciate the art of coffee, the miraculous smooth dollop of foam turning a shot of espresso into a true italian macchiato, the silky foam atop a delicious latte, and the delightful mix of milk and espresso in a carefully made cappuccino.