Coffee Shop Requirements

I’m a remote worker. I can work anywhere I basically like, including at home, but like to work at coffee shops. They are usually mellow, have some calm music, and there’s enough human interaction to keep me sane. Locally, I have about 5 shops to choose from, all within a few miles of my house. While most are locally-owned and operated, kinda hipster feel to them, but I choose Starbucks.

I quit caffeine several years ago. It gives me the jitters and it’s probably just not good for you. I read Caffeinated (http://www.amazon.com/Caffeinated-Daily-Habit-Helps-Hurts/dp/1594631387) and it made me realize that the whole caffeine industry is a little bit messed up. Not in some Monsanto, Earth-killing, GMO way, but in general, it’s just kinda odd. So I drink decaf. It tastes just the same, to me, it’s warm, smells great, etc. I can also drink it all day long and still sleep at night.

Every coffee shop has decaf so why do I still choose my mega-corporate Starbucks? It’s not the coffee or the atmosphere…both are equivalent to the local folks. The reasons are:

  1. Good wi-fi. It was pretty lacking, but the new Google relationship and upgrade are pretty awesome.
  2. Ample power outlets.
  3. Everyone working here is still employed, and I bet they make better money and have better benefits than the local shop folks
  4. Free refills.

The wi-fi is critical. If I can’t work reliably, forget it. The power outlets are necessary, and there’s one really nice shop nearby that has none, but it goes along with #1. The well-paid employee part is nice, but I hope that the local shops at least try to do their best.

That leaves the refills. Most shops don’t keep decaf ready outside of possibly early morning. They either want to make an “Americano” or do a pour-over. I’m totally cool with either one. I know I’m the oddball…I can wait a few more minutes, plus the result is going to be fresh. What drives me crazy is that, in all cases except for Starbucks, they want to charge full price per refill. Two of the shops have told me it’s because it takes more grounds than a regular cup of coffee.

If that’s true, how about just making a pot of decaf if someone orders one “for here”? How about filling up a French Press and handing it to the customer to enjoy? For $2.50-$3.00, we shouldn’t have to pay extra for another cup, particularly when every other customer is getting their coffee refilled for either nothing or for $1.

Have some business sense folks. Geesh.

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