I’ve been a coffee drinker for only two years now, but in the time since developing a fondness for this beverage, I’ve made an important discovery. It isn’t so much the coffee itself that is important. While the caffeine and the flavors mixed with it are delightful, my real joy comes from the coffee shop itself.
Whether I’m sitting in Starbucks in Philadelphia, perusing my Bible alongside a Carmel Machiatto and several friends, or studying ADHD in Tallahassee’s own Aristotle’s, there’s something about the atmosphere in these establishments that is almost romantic. Coffee shops share that mysterious romance that bookstores possess. It is not necessarily one of roses and kisses, but the warm fuzzy feeling that arises is one to be treasured indeed.
In fact, the primary reason I find myself in coffee shops is seldom the coffee. I come here to enjoy conversation with friends, or to curl up on the couch in the sun to read my Bible and pray. The coffee is often an afterthought ‘ the price of admission to enjoy the comfortable atmosphere.
As I write this, I am sitting in my newly discovered favorite coffee shop in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I knew that The Crimson Caf’ bore marks of a home for my heart upon my first visit. Being as intrigued by interior design as I am, the atmosphere of a space is important to me. Thus, I smiled as I spotted the worn hardwood floors that welcomed me. The plaster covered walls add texture to the shop, and the patches of brick peeking out from this fa’ade contribute character. The stone waterfall fountain in the corner invites my imagination to wander to places I’ve been. Oak Mountain and streams in North Carolina are welcome vacations for my often weary mind.
The burlap coffee sacks hanging from the walls and ceiling evoke thoughts of places far away as well ‘ specifically Javaheads in Tallahassee, Florida. I smile as I recall many treasured moments spent within the walls of that now distant coffee haven. Good times with good friends seem inevitable in such an establishment. Needless to say, I could spend hours here, daydreaming about many happy days gone by.
But naturally, The Crimson Caf’ invites many new memories to be formed. The well stocked shelf on the wall holds a variety of board games, just waiting for me to take them down and enjoy the camaraderie they create. My first visit here left me acquainted with the shop’s copy of Trivial Pursuit. We didn’t get far in the game that night, but somehow board games invite friendship quite naturally. The rabbit trails of conversation that we chased left us more familiar with one another, and a new memory to be held.
The furnishings are simple and serve not to detract from the atmosphere, but instead play a supporting role. The couches in the corner invite many a comfortable conversation, and the solid wooden tables and chairs throughout provide space for study groups and board games alike. The big screen TV on the stage like area provides customers with the latest news or the biggest sports event ‘ whichever might currently be of greater interest. (This is, after all, a football town.) I wonder if locals might set up on that stage and provide my ears with some joyful strains of music some night?
On a gorgeous day like this lazy Sunday, light streams in through the large plate glass windows. The room is filled, from floor to the exposed beam ceiling, with light and, for me, happiness. I may be new in town, but I know already that this place is clearly to be cherished.