I was an AMI Montessori guide for 20 years. In Montessori schools, students from three to six years of age use classified card materials to expand their vocabulary and reading skills. The sets of cards cover many topics. Parts of a Flower for example, has vocabulary such as calyx, pistil, stamen, and petals. Parts of a House uses the words door, window, wall, roof, and more. I thought I would bring a similar idea here, using the classification ‘coffee shops.’ I will describe some key components of my experience with independent coffee shops, and hopefully show the beauty of coffee-shopness here in SW Portland, Oregon.
Character Many coffee shops are located in places full of character and history.
Location Being located along a beautiful verdant street is not necessary, but a plus.
Open If you go, make sure the shop is open for business.
Welcoming The best places make people feel welcome and happy to walk through the door.
Shopkeeper Coffee shop owners are always knowledgeable and friendly, in my experience.
Barista The person making coffee is sometimes friendly, sometimes gruff. I try to soften the hearts of the latter by saying something in coffee-ese, such as, “I am looking for something with earthy undertones.” (Thank you for this suggestion, George.) But the barista shown below was most pleasant.
Roast I always think the local roasts taste better, but it may be just my imagination.
Choice Upon entering a coffee shop, there are many decisions to make.
Food Another decision to make is whether you want something to eat.
Appointments Comfortable furniture is essential.
Art Objects of visual interest can inspire great thoughts. Typically, the music is measured, and not distracting.
Parking This woman found ample space along the sidewalk for her transport.
Children Many coffee shops show a special welcome to families.
Dogs Dogs are not usually allowed in coffee shops, but there are things to do outside, too.
Treats While the dogs stay outside, they remain inside hearts. (Full disclosure! This picture was taken a few blocks outside of Southwest Portland.)
Accoutrements Shiny-clean and tidy is important here.
Table Lovely and inviting.
Read Sometimes the New York Times is available for anyone to look at. I usually take reading material with me.
Eyeglasses And my glasses.
Time Coffee shops are often great places to think.
Productive And they can be good places to concentrate and be productive. I often take my laptop with me, because all coffee shops here seem to have internet access.
Energy See through the furniture? Sometimes, this is how people decide which table to use.
Power Very important at times. Kind of like coffee for the computer.
Community This coffee shop invites lots of folks to plug in and stay for a while.
People If there is someone to go out for coffee with me, all the better.
Coffee Oh, then there’s that.