My adventures with coffee shops
About a year ago, I wanted to create a space for myself to overcome my anxiety with writing, so I created a website called Demitasse Wanderlust where I blog about the different coffee shops in the greater Phoenix area. I’ve been writing most of my life. My degree is English Literature, so you can imagine the amount of writing I did in those four years. However, after I graduated from California College of the Arts with a MFA in Creative Writing, I noticed that I had developed a lot of anxiety when it concerned sharing my work with others. The workshops in graduate school made me acutely aware of all my weaknesses, but they also affected my confidence. The main and original purpose of this blog was to remind myself to lighten up. As my mother often tells me, “Even the longest life is a short one.”
As I’ve been working on this blog, I’ve realized that coffee shops are more than just a place to satisfy your caffeine addiction. They are symbolically significant in our society because they offer a place to gather, meet, and to feel a part of a community. The first coffeehouses appeared in Europe in the 17th century. These coffee shops attracted debates, business, and the exchange of ideas. In fact, before there was Wall Street, Americans traded stocks and bonds in coffee shops.
I acknowledge that social media is a great tool that provides us with opportunities and information that we wouldn’t otherwise have if we didn’t have the Internet. However, like with most things in life, we humans seem to struggle with finding a balance between social media and just being social in person. Because I’m very shy, I’ve often used my iPhone as a crutch in social settings. It’s tempting to browse my Facebook feed rather than look a stranger in the eye. A couple of years ago I was an assistant photographer for a wedding. When I turned my camera to take a photograph of the bridal couple and their guests, I was flabbergasted to see dozens of people holding up their smart phones to record the wedding ceremony. I wondered how many of these people were actually going to watch the video after the wedding.
Naturally, because this blog is about reviewing coffee shops, I will evaluate their coffee, baked goods, ambiance, and customer service. Unless these coffee shops are out of state/town, I will be going to these cafes multiple times and at different times of the week and day to see if there are any marked differences. Lastly, I’m hoping to explore how these coffee shops provide a space for community.
I believe that it is more important than ever for people to practice compassion and discernment, which is incredibly difficult over the Internet. We’re inundated with information, images, and messages that leave us feeling insecure, fearful, and angry. And yet, even when people are out in public, they are more attentive to their phones than the people around them. There are communities out there, but my blog focuses on establishments that provide a sense of community without requirements, memberships, or agendas. Many people, like myself, are introverts. We don’t necessarily want to join a group that has expectations. Sometimes we just want a place to go that makes us feel like we’re a part of something bigger than ourselves. It is a delicate balance, but one worth exploring.
I hope that you enjoy my blog, and hopefully you’ll discover a new place to try. If there are any coffee shops that you think I should check out, please let me know. I’m always on the hunt for new places.