I love hanging out in coffee shops, but if you are a true coffee connoisseur, you know that to get the true coffee shop feeling, you can’t just walk into any store and order a coffee. As a matter of fact it’s really hard to find the perfect shop, with a nice environment, good coffee, and tasty snacks.
I started to get into the coffee shop scene during college because I needed an environment to study, where I was not alone like in a silent room or a library, but where I could study in peace but still with a few distractions. Over time i developed different ‘favorites’ depending on what I wanted to do at the café. Some places are good for reading a book, others for working in your computer, yet others are great for hanging out with friends. Here are some of my favourite places from three countries, even though not all of them encompass all the criterias to be “perfect”(e.g.nice environment, good coffee, and tasty snacks); they offer different services that might appeal to different tastes.
In the US, coffee shops are part of the every-day culture, because of this they can be great for studying, having conversations, hanging out. In Brazil coffee also is a huge part of the culture, but there it is more common to have your coffee as part of your meal or to drink it at home or in bakeries, so real cafes are not as common. In Germany, there are many cafes, but they are leisure destinations, places to read newspapers and talk with friends and not places to work or study. For example, many cafe’s in Munich don’t have wireless internet and lack table space or plugs for laptops. However, things are slowly changing and you can find a little mixture of American, German, and Brazilian coffee shops everywhere. Last time I went to São Paulo, I found a great coffee shop and now in Munich as well. Even though they do emphasize different aspects of the experience, I will list some and let you judge by yourself.
Barefoot Coffee Roasters, CA – this used to be my favorite coffee shop of all times; however, they have changed a lot in the past 2 years. They have the best coffee I have ever had and when I started going there as a freshman in college, they used to have the best environment. With open mic, good coffee, free Internet, super artistic decoration, and a good outside patio; they would always be full of ‘regulars’ and new customers. They were the “perfect” coffee shop until they started having a more of ‘Starbucks environment,’ but with delicious coffee. This might be appealing to a lot of people, but not to the ones that used to go there, at least in my opinion. However, if you are around Santa Clara in CA, you should try their coffee (pretty expensive) because it is deliciousness in a cup =)
Willow Glen Coffee Roasting Company, CA – I found this coffee shop once my mom moved to Willow Glen and I needed to finish projects once visiting her. Fighting against loosing their customers to the Starbucks across the street, they win with a really good coffee and a tasty Chai latte, free wifi, live music, nice old school deco with a lot of colors, and a relaxing feeling overall. A positive aspect is that here they also have muffing, bagels, quiches and cakes; so if you are like me, who spends hours and hours in cafés, this is good news!
Coffee Fellows, Munich – an “American style” coffee shop, but with not so good coffee. I posted here because they have a good atmosphere, good bagels, and cheesecakes. Even though the coffee isn’t the best, it is not the worse either. Also, nothing stops you from enjoying the good aspects with a non-caffeinated drink. So if you need a place with free wifi to do some work or a place to hang out for a while, this is not bad since they have great locations around town.
Treemans Coffee, Munich – a cute café with good coffee, muffins, free wifi, and couches for your comfort. I really like how friendly the employees are and how they also have tables outside for a sunny day. They also offer a few sandwiches and bagels, but a little pricy for me. This is a nice place if you are downtown Munich and you want something less touristic. However, it is hard for them to fight against all the other outside cafes in the surrounding area.
Vanilla Caffè, São Paulo – this is also one of my favorites. With the perfect location between colleges, movies and live theaters, bars, shopping area and more; the Vanilla Caffè has delicious South American coffee with interesting varieties, such as the “Frappe caffè vanilla” with espresso, vanilla ice cream, blended with condense milk and ice. If you are ever in São Paulo, you should stop by.
Clearly, these are the bigger cafes and I am sure there are plenty of smaller ones that I either cannot remember, I have never been or are not part of my every day life. There are cute cafes by lakes or in smaller cities, but those are for special occasions or weekends trips since they are not by where I live. I chose these ones because they are easy to find and if you just need a nice place to have a coffee and hang out you can go to them. Let me know of any other good ones around!