I love a good cappuccino--a real, well-made cappuccino. Rich espresso topped with angelic foamed milk makes a cup of pure magic. It kicks off my morning with energy, it turns a bad day around, and it fuels me through long days of classes and late nights of studying. But behind my cappuccino's espresso and milk is a crucial element: the coffee shop that serves it.
Finding your favorite coffee shop--the drink that you can count on to lift your mood, the barista that knows your name, the environment that inspires you, the cozy booth with room for your homework--is life changing. When I walk through the worn wooden doors of my coffee shop of choice, I smell the coffee, I see the quirky art on the walls, and something magical happens: I feel a palpable sense of ambition radiating from other people reading, writing, drawing, and conversing. And, according to science, this sense is not imaginary.
Coffeeshops are a prime example of the co-action effect, "a phenomenon whereby increased task performance comes about by the mere presence of others doing the same task." Therefore, studying in a coffee shop with other strangers who are also studying can be more effective than studying alone. For example, when I'm writing an essay surrounded by other college students intently typing on their laptops, I find myself motivated to do the same thing. It's easier to work with other people working. The co-action effect can also, understandably, apply to libraries or study halls. But I would argue that coffee shops have a valuable advantage over both: atmosphere.
The traditional coffee shop atmosphere, complete with art on the walls and a perfect playlist in the background, promotes creativity. I frequently visit a place which invites customers to write and draw on the walls. Sitting in a booth surrounded by scratched initials and Sharpie dreams is incredibly inspiring. Experiences like this make the coffee shop atmosphere as enticing as the coffee.
And in the best coffee shops, every design decision has been made intentionally to create the most enjoyable experience possible. Design elements like warm paint colors, soft lighting, and cozy furniture invite visitors to make themselves comfortable. This comfort offers a sense of belonging and community away from home or school. Because of this, coffee shops can make us feel less lonely. They can make us feel like we belong to something outside of our familiar routines. Treasure this break from familiarity. A coffee shop can be a beautiful little escape from reality.
The coffee shop experience--an enchanting blend of design, psychology, and coffee--is a recipe for inspiration and productivity. Next time you're feeling lonely or unfocused or uninspired, try going to a coffee shop. Here in Tallahassee, The Sweet Shop and All Saints Café are popular choices, and even if you don't like coffee, there is a drink for everyone. Order something caffeinated, find a table you feel comfortable at, and let the magic of the coffee shop take it from there.