If there was a sport that involved the number of coffee shops visited in a single day with varying coffees tried I would be the Michael Jordan of this game. One might even call me a "coffee shop connoisseur." Because of the amount of homework that I have and my inability to focus anywhere with internet, I utilize coffee shops. I'm not necessarily partial to one type of coffee shop: This last Saturday I was at Panera with a cup of drip in the morning, that afternoon I was at Starbucks with a peppermint mocha and at a indie coffee shop (Zola's in Auburn shoutout!) with a cup of blackberry coffee in the evening.
Due to my extensive experience in and around coffee shops, I would like to share my observations and give some "guidelines" for acceptable Coffee Shop Hopping (CSH, if you will). These should help you a) get the most out of your coffee shop experience and b) keep from committing any CSH faux pas, which might result in getting a sneezer.
1. The Look
When you go into a coffee shop, always look like you're going to be there a while. Unpack a bag of books and papers or get out your worn copy of War & Peace. Make it look like you're about to snuggle into that oversized chair for the rest of the afternoon. This way the baristas think you could possibly buy coffee & food - every baristas hope! Now we both know that you won't be there after that first cup, but it's nice to share hope.
2. The Drink
Order either a grande or a venti cup o' joe. If you get a tall, everyone knows that you aren't planning on being there very long, which goes against the look that you're trying to establish. But since this may be your 1st or 6th cup for the day, always get a venti ice water. Then you can drag out the game a little longer.
3. The Work
In order to fully utilize the coffee shop experience, get right to work whatever you have to do. Don't dilly-dally or putter. As soon as you have coffee in hand or even while you're waiting, get everything set up. This then allows you to look like you mean business. But also, since you know you're not going to get a 2nd cup (cause let's face it, who orders a 2nd cup?), you have to work fast enough to keep pace with your cup of coffee. (This is also where the water comes in handy - if you drink coffee that fast, you'll need the water as a buffer for your poor kidneys.)
I made the mistake earlier last week of staying too long and not keeping up with my coffee and having to ask them to re-heat my coffee. I received many derisive looks for this. I'll assume it was because I was making them re-heat my coffee rather than the assumption that it was because I was taking up space.
4. The Shut Down
When you're down to the dregs OR you have completed some work, sigh loudly. This signals to the people within hearing range that you're moving on, but not necessarily because you want. Make sure to look at your watch a lot during these last few moments. That way you can let the coffee shop know that "it's not you...it's time." And they'll be more willing to let you come back again.
5. The Hop
DO NOT GO IN TO ANOTHER COFFEE SHOP WITH A CUP OF COFFEE ALREADY IN HAND. I shouldn't have to capitalize that, but the point needs to be made. That's like being dropped off for a date by the last date. Awkward for everyone involved. This is where the sneezers come in. If you have another cup of coffee in your hand, then everyone knows you're just there for the free wi-fi and not for the beans. And it's about pretenses, people.
Sure, you could just kick it at one coffee shop for an afternoon, hoping that the barista there will be cool with it. And you could buy two cups of coffee and be real about the fact that they have internet and good coffee and you have neither of the above. But where would the fun be?
Are you a coffee shop hopper extraordinnaire? What tips/tricks do you have?