Posted by Peter Dougherty on November 15, 2015
What Does it Mean to be Voted Best Place for Coffee?
“Hello my sweets,” one of our regulars said as he opens the door and sauntered over to the counter just in time for his usual drink to be placed there, one “medium medium” with room, double cup, no sleeve. Daily pleasantries were shared, back handed compliments exchanged, and then I asked him what I have been asking many customers lately: Why do you come to Java Love?
“And you're asking me?” he said.
“I mean, you are here everyday.”
“First of all, bangin’ coffee. Write that down: Bangin, no G,” he said. “And, secondly,” he continued, changing from his usual satirical tone, “the white washed corporate thing is just not for me. There is a tangible relationship to the coffee here, and it's comfort.” He lifted his cup from the counter and put it down again. “It's homey. It’s not in and out. It’s a place where you can have a moment, a place where you can” he said, pointing upwards, “ask what song this is. A place where you don’t have to wait in line for forty minutes.” And then he left, turning as he waved with twinkling fingers that could have only meant one of two things, “Too-da-loo” or “later losers.”
What does it mean for Jave Love to be voted best place for coffee in our community? There is of course the quality of the coffee, but it's more than that.
“I want coffee,” the woman’s preschooler screamed as he buried his head into her lap as she tried to answer the question. She knelt down to grab him. She said, “Okay, let me make this brief.” The little boy pulled out one of the many straws he had stolen from the counter and stuck it into his mother’s coffee and began to drink it. She then hoisted him up into her arms, looked at me, and said, “True community is formed when you bump into people with regularity and consistency in an unplanned way. Because that’s when you can have the honest conversations; I mean the outdoor seating is fabulous. Just seeing people in the same place at the same time - I don’t call anyone and ask them to meet up here - I can think of four friends off the top of my head I’ve made here, including this gentleman here,” she said, gesturing towards the opening door. She placed her child down, who instantly stumbled towards the mason jar of straws. “I take my kids here--you learn how to be polite and talk to adults. It’s the only way to have a community. So it's very much about the place, just as much as it’s about the libation.”
But what is it about this place?
“It’s the staff,” one customer said. “It’s not like any other place in town. You guys sit out there and chill and play music. You aren’t afraid to have personality.”
“You guys are chill. But what I really like is that you’re professional about your coffee,” another said.
“Better coffee, better Wifi, better atmosphere,” one customer said after being interrupted from poking away at his tablet. “That other place reminds me of being on the New York city subway.” He looked up, adjusted his glasses and said, “I feel like I have to stare at my feet.”
To be voted best coffee shop in your community doesn’t just have to do with having the best cup of coffee, but also to be the space in which people can pass through, welcomed to sit and stay awhile, feeling warm and seen, feeling grateful for a peaceful spot amidst their day to stop and exhale--everything converging in those magical moments that happen in small everyday acts. Because rituals such as buying a cup of coffee have become the backbone of life providing the structure for the serendipity we secretly thrive on. It’s simple. It requires an open door, and two people who haven’t met yet. Everything changes so quickly these days, it’s good to have the familiar places like Java Love. So though we can all agree that the java’s good, we all know that the love is better.