My college years--a time filled with late-night conversations, streams of appointments with students, and other such spiritually and intellectually stimulating activities--produced a sincere and deep-rooted love of coffeehouses. My association with coffee shops is one of quality interaction with other people or alone with God. The ambiance, the fragrance, the caffeine. I love it all. The European model of the small cafe or even independent bakery each with an espresso machine and little white mugs filled with $1.50 cappuccino suits me well.
Lately, though, as my room in our flat is utterly disorganized with the preamble to packing, I've been heading out more often to a Central European (Polish, actually) coffee house chain called Coffee Heaven. And, for me, it is just that. The comfy chairs, the hilariously nostalgic music loop, the caramel macchiato...
Sorry, I'm back. For many of my friends and family members, the attraction to such a place is an oddity. But for me, the means and atmosphere for writing in a journal, talking with friends, or being still before the Lord are a strong draw. I watch my budget carefully and will do so all the more as my housing will be getting quite more expensive soon. The money set aside for coffee shop trips is worth far more to me than the contents of a big paper cup.
All that being said, here is an interesting article that shows one perspective on the recent coffee-shop-chain-in-Central-Europe phenomenon.