I was sitting in a café sipping a cappuccino one Sunday morning when I started to think about what I am getting when I pay for a cup of coffee. Sometimes you buy something simple like a cup of coffee but get so much more. I asked myself, ‘What is it I am paying for?’
That particular morning I feel I was paying for the relaxed atmosphere of the café. I had just bought some vegetables at the Sunday market and decided to treat myself to a coffee before I walked home. I sat, sipping my cappuccino slowly. When ideas started to come into my head I grabbed my notebook from my bag and jotted down some notes. Perhaps I was also paying for inspiration.
In this café you get a little teddy biscuit with your cappuccino, an extra treat. It’s cute, makes me smile and is so small there is no need to feel guilty. There was a time when it was fairly commonplace for cafes to give a small chocolate or other treat with your cappuccino but this is rare these days.
I sometimes meet a friend at a particular restaurant for coffee. Here we are paying for the table service, the white table cloths and the bottle of water which are provided. By the way, a cup of coffee here is a similar price to elsewhere but you feel special. It feels like ‘an occasion’.
Sometimes I have a coffee on my own and I am paying for the time to reflect, people watch and get inspiration for something I want to write. In some cafes there are magazines and I enjoy reading while I sip my cuppa. If anything is noteworthy I write it down in my notebook.
Recently I read a review for a café I had never heard of. The writer recommended the coffee. I checked it out and she was right. I treated myself to a piece of cake which was fantastic, just like the coffee. The place was nicely decorated and had a welcoming atmosphere. I will be going back and next time I am meeting a friend there so I can share the experience.
In some cafes I feel I am paying for the energy and vibrancy around me. Sometimes it is for the quirky décor and atmosphere or the nice music. On a warm day I like sitting at an outside table, as long as there isn’t noisy traffic rushing past. Sitting somewhere different inspires me. .
In some places the staff are particularly friendly. It may be a family business where you are welcomed back each time like a friend. Other times the staff are just friendly people who get to know what you will be ordering.
When there has been no alternative I have bought a cappuccino at the food court in a shopping mall. These places are crowded and noisy. It is difficult to hold a conversation. On these occasions I have just got what I asked for, a cup of coffee.