When I was young, Diedrich Coffee was one of the few places I could go to in walking distance of my house. I remember when a blues guitar player came to the shop to play music. He played right next to the customers, sitting in the same seats as they sat; I was only about five feet from the guy.
In a place like Irvine, a happening like that is pretty rare. I’ve never heard music like that before. I’ve never even heard much music other than what I was hearing from the radio, church, and my piano teacher. It wasn’t just the musician either; people at the coffee shop seemed cool and exciting with things to say and do.
That’s what coffee culture meant to me. Coffee shops were about music, culture, understanding of life, and the exploration of minds. The images that I built of coffee culture were similar to those of the Beatniks; people sitting at circular tables, drinking lattes, reciting poetry, and spitting out passionate rants about living. For me, a four dollar blended coffee beverage was my ticket to a place where thirsty minds went for a drink.
Today I’m still a coffee shop kind of guy. I don’t like to play video games. I don’t like watching or playing sport. I feel useless when I watch too much tv. I’d rather sip on a coffee and have a conversation. I want to learn about the world that I live in. I want to see new art. I want to hear new music. I want to be around people who are passionate about the world.
To me, coffee shops are more about the space than the coffee. I’m not advocating the sales and consumption of coffee as a cash crop. I’m more interested in the environment that a coffee shop creates; a space of free intellectual discourse, a space of expression, a place where people from different places come together.
I am a coffee shop kid.