When you go into a coffee shop, typically you buy your drink and then take a seat to relax and enjoy it. You might take out your computer, iPad or other device to do a little bit of work while you’re there, too, if the cafe has wifi. This pattern is the the same at just about every coffee shop there is, no matter where you are. Unless you happen to be at Slow Times, a café in Wiesbaden, Germany, where they charge you for the time spent in the cafe instead of for the coffee.
Founder Daria Volkova feels that this is a better way to monetize the cafe instead of charging for coffee, since the time inside is really what people are after most of the time. It’s not too expensive, either. It costs €2.00 (about $2.50) to enter and that covers the first 30 minutes of your visit. After that, you are charged €0.05 (about $.06) per minute for the rest of your stay. They don’t have a full, elaborate coffee bar pumping out Frappuccinos, but they do serve coffee and that coffee is completely free while you’re there. There is also WiFi that you can use while you do your work.
The concept sounds like it would make this a great place to get some work done and it’s an interesting option for cafe owners who feel like people are monopolizing their tables without buying enough (or any drinks at all, as I’ve seen at Starbucks a time or two). You don’t get all the coffee options, of course, but still a very interesting concept. They’re on Facebook for more information
What makes a coffee shop the “best” is definitely a subjective matter. To some, they’re all about the coffee and don’t mind tiny spaces with standing room only. To others, they want a place where they can sit down and relax for a while with their freshly poured cup, but don’t mind if it wasn’t roasted within the hour on-site. USA Today recently tried to put together a list that everyone can agree on and named America’s Best Coffee Shops. The list features a mix of cozy and sophisticated (ok – mostly “cozy” with an emphasis on artisanal roasters), and has a little bit of something for everyone. Of course, these shops are pretty much only in big cities, but you can still order some of their coffee online and go for your own coffee shop experience at home.
1. Ultimo Coffee, Philadelphia
2. Gimme! Coffee, New York
3. Barista, Portland, Ore.
4. Courier Coffee Roasters, Portland, Ore.
5. Café Grumpy, New York City
6. Lamill Coffee Boutique, Los Angeles
7. Stumptown, Various Locations
8. Ritual Coffee Roasters, San Francisco
9. Joe the Art of Coffee, New York and Philadelphia
10. Intelligentsia, Various Locations
11. Commonplace Coffee Co. House and Roasters, Pittsburgh
12. Milstead & Co., Seattle
13. Everyman Espresso, New York City
14. Peregrine Espresso, Washington, D.C.
15. Artifact Coffee, Baltimore=
Do you ever wish that you could skip the line and have your coffee drink waiting for you at the bar of your local coffee shop in the morning? This scenario is one that has run through every coffee-addict’s mind while waiting in a particularly long, slow line in the morning at a coffee shop. A company called Buck has introduced a program called Coffee Like A Rockstar that will let you, at participating local cafes, skip the line. The idea is that you order your drink through the site or app and pay for it all online, then you simply swing in and pick it up – no waiting.
The program would work best for small, local coffee shops where they could gain an edge over larger chains, as the convenience to the customer could make them more likely to choose the local shop. Starbucks has tried online ordering in the past, but with their volume, the process doesn’t really make much sense. The only downside is that part of the fun of a small, local coffee shop is the atmosphere and the interaction with employees and other customers, most of which would be lost in favor of a quick in-and-out experience. But, if the app drives more business to local coffee joints that join up, it would be a good thing both for their business and for coffee-lovers looking for a little more convenience.
At the moment, there are only two shops participating, both in Burien, Washingtion, the hometown of Buck’s CEO, so you might not get a chance to try it out unless you live in the area. But if you like the sound of the program, it might be something worth talking to the barista (or cafe owner) at your own favorite coffee joint.
The popular independent coffee chain, Intelligentsia, is planning to expand its reach a little further this year. The Chicago-based coffee company already has several locations in Chicago and Los Angeles, and distributes its fresh-roasted coffee to numerous stores, such as Whole Foods, all over the country. The cafes are known for their coffee loving, independent minded customers (and, in LA, a very high number of hipsters filling their tables) and their skilled baristas. This expansion includes one store in New York and one in San Francisco, connected to their roasting facility in Potrero Hill. They’ll also own three new locations in the Chicago area. Fans of the coffee beans will definitely want to stop in to the cafes for the atmosphere and a cup perfectly prepared to Intelligentsia’s high standards.