For my whole life, I have romanticized coffee. I associate coffee with a calm Sunday morning, occupying one of those lazy chairs right by the window of a Barnes and Noble, sinking deeper as I read an engrossing book. A place where you can be there anytime and be doing anything and it would be acceptable, whether alone, on a date, or with a large group.
Before, I was really open and unbiased about the type of coffeeshop that I frequent. I admit it, I started out as a big Starbucks fan. I was one of those teenyboppers anxious to get into the real world by including coffee into my daily regime–by drinking Frappacinos, which can hardly be called a coffee drink. In fact, Frappacinos are probably what lures the younger population into the coffee-drinking cycle by disguising the coffee taste with what we’re used to and what we like–fat and sugar. But then I started really drinking coffee, junior year of high school. But still a Starbucks frequent-flyer.
That all changed when I got to college. I was exposed to so many coffeeshops, but they were all still pretty mainstream. And I was fine with that–I still loved the atmosphere of normal coffeeshops. Especially one on a college campus. The atmosphere is… so intellectual and alive. It’s a great spot for people-watching, and yet still a great spot if you don’t want to be bothered.
I really didn’t know what I was missing until I visited a lesser-known coffeeshop today. A hipster coffeeshop, if you will. Cafe Ambrosia.
I’ve never really defined myself as a hipster. But today, I’ve never felt happier or more at home in this coffeeshop. Sure it wasn’t as open and it reminded me of one of those street-corner diners in Taiwan. But the atmosphere. It was… more intelligent. Conversation was less cluttered by small talk and false liveliness and filled with more warmth, genuine, and interesting discussions.
I stayed there for 5 hours and it felt like 2. I listened in on conversations–and it didn’t feel like eavesdropping. The people talking were more than welcome if I were to jump into conversation. Which I didn’t. I thought I should take things slow.
I even discovered that Monday nights, they have a free documentary viewing at 7 PM. How cool is that? I think I’m definitely going to go one of these days. I love documentaries.
One downside to that coffeeshop is that everyone seems to know everyone already. And I can’t tell if it’s because they’re regulars or they’re just the same group of friends whose sole gathering spot is here every day. Many of them gather outside and smoke, but of the few inside, many of them knew the baristas.
I look forward to exploring this place more and eventually becoming a regular, myself! If none of the other coffeeshops call my name of course. There are so many colorful people that frequent, I’m bound to have an interesting conversation now and again. And really, that’s all I want. Some stimulating conversation and a place to call home.