The perfect combo of a warm coffee, a brisk fall day, and the familiar rush and bustle of a neighbourhood coffee shop has a certain magical element to it. The commotion of strangers — each with their own coffee order — combined with the low buzz of background music creates the most idyllic setting for getting inspired, studying, or relaxing. The pleasant aroma of brewing coffee and fresh pastries, on the other hand, is always enough to tempt me to spend $10 on an afternoon snack while I study. Going to school in the Northeast (thank you, Emerson College) has totally immersed me in the world of iced lattes in the winter and coffee shop study dates, a far cry from my homeland of Miami, Florida.
Coffee shops exist in South Florida, but they lack the same potency as they have in northeastern towns; the sense of camaraderie, warmth, and familiarity I get in a Boston coffee shop is unlike anything I can find in my hometown. Coffee has always been a constant in my life and in the culture of my family: a family supper is never complete without everyone enjoying their Cuban coffee, and a morning is never complete without the cafetera simmering on the stove.
As a result, I’m ecstatic when the barista at the coffee shop across the street from my hostel remembers my name and order (last semester, it was a small almond milk hazelnut latte from Tatte). Also, because to stronger COVID-19 guidelines, going out to dine in person was more realistic and accessible in Massachusetts than it was in Florida. So my excursion into the lovely, coffee-filled cosmos of the Northeast ultimately set me free to be content in my independence, to help balance my mental health through social engagement, and to be as inspired as ever in my schoolwork.
The best (and my personal favourite) method to bring people together is through food. It’s no different when it comes to (safely) sharing iced lattes and flaky, buttery croissants with friends, strangers, or just oneself. This spiritual ceremony can be a lifesaver, especially when migrating to a new city. Many people and frequent travellers think that visiting coffee shops in a new city is one of the finest ways to become aware of your surroundings, feel the culture, and receive a behind-the-scenes insight into the lives of other strangers.