Dispatches from Coffee Shop with minimalist Scandinavian aesthetic that lures millennials just like myself to pay for an over-priced turmeric latte.

Office spaces with cubicles are becoming archaeological relics of the Don Draper era, where Xerox machines gather dust alongside answering machines. Yes, open office spaces are now all the hype but I'm persuaded no one really likes them? Have you ever met someone who openly enjoys to over hear everyone's conversation  (Yes, Susan, we get it, your kid really dislikes your vegan cuisine) or we all pretending it's alright we smell everyone's microwaveable leftovers? Okay cool - let's all pretend. Then there are WeWorks which are just late-capitalist aquariums where you can observe the birth and death of small companies. There is something weirdly Shakespearen about them. 

This is why coffee shops may be the new optimal work space environment. Coffee shops are always a smorgasbord of your neighbourhood and even though some of them can be too busy (avoid these), there is an art at finding the perfect coffee shop. You don't need to settle on the first Starbucks and the ROI on finding your minimalist work nest is infinite.

Here are the top things I look for in a coffee shop. 

The music must be from a Spotify curated list that has the perfect balance of Scandi-folk, War on Drugs, the Amalie Soundtrack, "sad girl playing guitar singing about middle America" and anything low-fi, down tempo but with enough synth that makes you head slowly bop.  Honestly, it all probably sounds like the band your ex-boyfriend from college played at which you pretended to like but actually it all just sounded like a low budget version of Morrissey. 

But in the end, it doesn't really matter as you'll be putting in headphones anyway. 

farley-katz-we-may-not-understand-millennials-but-as-god-is-my-witness-we-ll-take-new-yorker-cartoon_a-l-11952142-8419447Hot tip: The minute you walk in, count the amount of plants they have. If there are many and there are all alive, this means that the coffee owners know how to foam the milk properly. If they can keep plants alive, they can foam a latte, right? 

Oh, before I forget - always ask the WiFi password. The first you should before even looking at the menu is ask for the WiFi password. This will demonstrate two important things:

  1.  You are a professional who enjoys coffee
  2.  You will be probably moving into their small space for the next 3 to 6 hours and there is nothing they can do about it.

Scout out a spot next to an outlet and settle in. Open slack, post some wholesome memes in the appropriate channels, tell everyone you're connected and ready to go.

Another Hot Tip: To save money, drink your coffee slowly, let it cold if you have too. Hold onto the last sips. The barista wants to take it away? Nope, still got the dredges of coffee lingering at the bottom.

One hour. Two hours go by. You don't move. You sit very still, just typing away. You legs go dumb. Your fingers even start going number. You look up and you realise hours have gone by and now it's the evening and you haven't really seen daylight. No matter- who needs Vitamin D when you have the sweet electronic light of the computer screen? Your coffee sits coldly now and the coffee shop, once filled with families and other jovial people, is filled with a haphazard selection of frantic students, coders, a man trying to get through the latest New Yorker article and a couple other itinerant workers. You check your phone - your mother has called you 3 times and you didn't realise.

Where has all the time gone? You try and understand that and trace is back via sporadic twitter postings, the endless back and forth Slack pings, the unanswered emails, the half read Washington Post op-eds and the open Google Drive documents where four different coloured cursors (all yours from opened Google Drive documents on different tabs) are blinking aggressively at you. You no longer recognise the barista and your throat has gone hoarse as you haven't spoken to another human for the last 6 (8? 5?) hours. The soft, warm scandi-folk has now turned into what sounds like aggressive gurgling backed by a baseline. When did the music change? 

It's past 5 and you realise all your friends who work in real offices have actually left while you've become a cold husk of Slack messages, Google Analytics and blog posts. You start to snap back into reality and collect yourself. Packing up your laptop, you give a casual nod to the fellow coffee comrades and you disappear out of the front door. You think maybe next time you should go to a different place as you don't want to be on a first-name basis with the barista. But you know you'll probably end up at the same place.

I wrote about playing Fornite for the first time and it was an insane experience.


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About The Author: Caroline Corbett-Thompson

Caroline is the Marketing Director at Itavio. You'll find her listening to NPR and scowling 99% of the time.

More posts by Caroline Corbett-Thompson

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