The Best Cafes
The best cafes sometimes serve the worst coffee, bringing in the fullness of humanity.
They are where you go to meet your friends.
There are no tourists at these places. There is no ambiance that would draw people just because of whatever is on the wall. The owners did not hire an interior designer, or put fake bricks on the wall. No one talks about it as the place to be. It is not referenced as a “best dive cafe,” as if it has that pretentious badge of ignominious honor. No men with beards sip caramel anything in skinny jeans trying to look like each other.
It is honest in its strengths and weaknesses, not trying to be anything but a business selling coffee.
It might serve espresso, but don’t expect much. The beans might not be single plantation, and no cupper has ever tasted the nuances. Baristas don’t wear goatees or unusual piercings, hoping to be artsy. They aren’t even called baristas. They are called owners, or friends of the owner, or, simply called employees.
It is not next to anything. The university students don’t go there after class, or to study, hoping a cute girl shows up. No after theater latte drinkers. No anything, yet it is next to everything.
People go there on their way to places, and from places. If they stop there, it is because it is convenient, big enough, and maybe offer free refills. No one goes there. People just end up there, and come back whenever.