The Changing Coffee Shop Culture

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Coffee, a very common form of caffeine in our society, has transformed over time. With the influences and advancements in our society, the culture of coffee shops and coffee in its entirety, has shifted from being a time or place where one can enjoy a cup of coffee, socialize, and engage in interesting conversations with other coffee shop customers. Now, worldwide coffee shop chains like Starbucks serve customer’s coffee through to go windows and crowded counters, eliminating the aspects that made the coffee shop culture so unique in the first place. There must be a happy-medium, and it starts with students who have the ability to help change coffee shops as a place for people to relax, get work done, or chat with friends; and as a bonus, get a caffeine boost. This would help bring back the coffee culture that is based on fostering new relationships in a comfortable, productive, and welcoming environment as opposed to a lonely time of the day where people quickly choke down a cup of mediocre, lukewarm coffee in order to “fuel up.”

Many people don’t take the time to enjoy a carefully brewed cup of coffee or socialize during coffee breaks, which is what coffee shops have been known for fostering for many years. Many people wouldn’t dare to slow the pace of their day and sacrifice precious working hours even for a well-needed break, or pause in their day. In addition, the changing views of the entire purpose of coffee shops and coffee as a whole, is causing students in particular to create a dependency on caffeine that could be more easily avoided if the culture regarding coffee and coffee shops shifted back to how it was in our recent history, as a place of social gatherings and catching up on the latest news or gossip.

As a student myself, I appreciate the ease and efficient nature of coffee shops like Starbucks and other coffee entities. However, students have become so reliant on coffee as a source of caffeine that not only is the art and appreciation for good quality coffee is diminished, but also their time to drink coffee is no longer a memorable experience. Instead, students order coffee and try to gulp it down as fast as they can for the relief of caffeine running through their veins in order to get them through the next few hours; or at least until their next cup of coffee. It would be beneficial for students to utilize their coffee breaks as a time where they can socialize with other students and take a break from academics all while still “fueling up.”

In order to bring back bits and pieces of coffee shop culture that have occurred so recent in our history, I encourage the efforts to start with college students. Habits and behaviors become more prominent as students enter college and the workload increases in addition to the pressures to succeed. I challenge students to embrace the coffee shop culture of our past; engage in interesting conversations with others detached from electronics, take a break from studying, and enjoy a cup of coffee that will help you get through the day instead of racing to choke it down. Hopefully, encouraging this kind of culture surrounding coffee, will benefit students and help change their behaviors to influence a healthy mind and body and a meaningful coffee shop culture. TC mark

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