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Musings: What’s That Coffee Worth?

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“I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.” T.S. Eliot

Musings: What's That Coffee Worth?... A frothy Cappuccino...

Musings: What's That Coffee Worth? Kopi Luwak - Most expensive coffee in the world...

Kopi Luwak – Most expensive coffee in the world from Indonesia. Price? The coffee beans can cost up to $600 a pound, and a brewed cup can cost up to $50 per cup.  Buy? Try
Update: Now there is Uchunari coffee considered the most expensive coffee. See below*

Have you ever spent time with your laptop in a coffee shop? Do you remember what the experience was like? Should coffee shops limit the amount of time that laptop users can occupy tables? Drinking coffee is a popular pastime and many coffee aficionados take the ritual quite seriously. If you’ve ever walked by a popular coffee shop, and even a not so hip one, you’d see throngs of coffeenistas chatting and sipping away; something about that dark roasted hot beverage brings people back again and again. On any given day, amongst the crowds of coffee lovers, we can find a few with laptops in tow. They come early, hijack their favorite corner table, order a sip or two and then spend hours pounding away on their laptops. Some are writers, others journalists, a few are voyeurs or perhaps a nicer way to frame it is people watchers, and then, there is the occasional student, business person or even the just-because-type who stops in to sit and work.

Starbucks says they are going to start putting religious quotes on cups. The very first one will say, ‘Jesus! This cup is expensive!’” Conan O’Brien

Musings: What's That Coffee Worth? ... Coffee berries

Musings: What's That Coffee Worth? Uchunari coffee ...

Uchunari Coffee – At £7,875 per pound, this low production, high quality Peruvian Civet coffee now offers Arabica bean prices that top the Kopi Luwak. Have you tried the Uchunari coffee grade 0? Do share.

Whether we are enjoying a cup of Blue Mountain, Kona Coffee, Kopi Luwak, Starbucks blend, or Uncle Joe’s deep dark roast coffee, one of the pleasures of coffee drinking is having the chance to sit awhile, smell the brew and drink it slowly. Occasionally, we might hear people complain about how all the seats are being overrun by laptop toting customers… Some sit for hours nursing one or maybe a second cup of coffee unless a shop offers free refills. When I read the Plinky prompt, I was amused because I’ve wondered about what coffee-shop owners feel a lingering cup of coffee sipping is worth. Should there be a time limit rule or not? I have spent time in a coffee-shop with my laptop. There was a time limit set by the store and my own inner guilt clock to keep me alert to the fact that I had to move on, but more on that below. 😉

“Coffee falls into the stomach … ideas begin to move, things remembered arrive at full gallop … the shafts of wit start up like sharp-shooters, similies arise, the paper is covered with ink” Honoré de Balzac

Musings: What's That Coffee Worth? Coffee art on a Latte

Do you remember what the experience was like? When we had the major power outage last October, we had no choice but to seek other venues to plug in and power up. I went to a local Starbucks with laptop at hand and, with a bit of patience and maneuvering, I copped a table and plugged in my computer to get writing. I remember the initial excitement of being reconnected to the virtual world, the strong smells of brewing coffee, the dull chatter of nearby patrons and the constant ka-ching of the register as the barista took and rang up orders.  I soon settled down with my grande coffee cup to write a post and time flew by me so fast that I only realized I had spent two hours in the shop when my wireless connection was disconnected.  Ah yes, it’s not a dirty little secret, but my little Starbucks shuts you off after two hours and then you have start the login process all over again. Frankly, by then, I could feel the eyes of waiting patrons burning holes in the coats and sweaters of those of us who had managed to score a coveted seat at one of the sturdy round tables.

“Way too much coffee. But if it weren’t for the coffee, I’d have no identifiable personality whatsoever.” David Letterman

Musings: What's That Coffee Worth? ... The coffee server...

Should coffee shops limit the amount of time that laptop users can occupy tables? Personally, I think it  should depend on how much seating space a coffee-shop has and whether or not the majority of their patrons buy-to-go or buy-to-stay.  The bigger questions are: Are we more productive when we do our work in a coffee shop?  What is our motivation for going there? The muse meets us in all sorts of settings, and, if ours loves the somewhat rowdy setting of a shop with strong smells and a parade of patrons, then great.

Recently, I went with a friend to another popular coffee-shop in a neighboring town. It was not a Starbucks but, nevertheless, it was packed with coffee drinkers. After a short wait, we sat at a small table next to a young man working on a laptop. My friend and I wondered aloud about how people concentrate in noisy settings. I turned to the young man and asked his opinion and why he chose to write in a coffee shop. His answer was surprising. “Yes, it can be distracting, but I come here for the energy I get from seeing people rushing in and out for their coffee.”  No, he wasn’t concerned about disgruntled patrons who might want his seat. No, he didn’t get as much written as he would in the comfort of his home or bedroom, and Yes, he always makes sure to buy at least two cups of coffee.  What are your thoughts? Have you ever spent time with your laptop in a coffee shop? Do you remember what the experience was like? Did you get work done or were you distracted? Would you do it again? Do share! Thank you. 😉

This post was inspired by a prompt from WP Plinky: Should coffee shops limit the amount of time that laptop users can occupy tables? Why or why not? What should the time limit be?

*Please bear with me as I continue to catch up on your blogs and commenting… Thank you all for your patience! 🙂

Positive Motivation Tip: The muse meets us in all sorts of settings. If a coffee shop is one of yours enjoy the ride but don’t forget other patrons would like a seat and a sip… 🙂

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All photos Coffee cup of Cappuccino, Kopi Luwak Gayo, Coffee berries, Coffee Latte Art, Lady coffee server, via Wikipedia and/or via Flickr

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

44 Comments leave one →
  1. 11/04/2012 12:05 am

    I spent time writing in coffee shops without a laptop – still do. Or reading. In Australia, we don’t seem to have the same fixation with the time people spend over one cup of coffee. Though, I will often have more than one or two…

    • 11/04/2012 1:51 am

      Sure, I have spent time in coffee shops but other than the time I mentioned in the post, I generally don’t take my laptop there… I don’t think the coffeeshop owners complain per se, mainly other patrons. TY! 🙂

  2. 11/04/2012 12:25 am

    Thanks,,Eliz, for another well thought out post and for including all these interesting quotes and pictures.
    As far as a time limit is concerned, I’d say it depends on the sort of place. Some
    coffee shops have a very limited number of seats. These naturally wouldn’t be suited for extended writing, be it with a laptop or plain handwriting. Some people might want to go for coffee while they’re reading their paper. If the place is large enough there shouldn’t be any need to feel rushed. You go for your coffee to relax, right? Ideally, there shouldn’t be any time limit what so ever.
    ‘Coffee art on a Latte’. I’m very fond of this kind of Latte!

    • 11/04/2012 1:54 am

      Exactly, I agree with you that it would depend on how busy they are and that, we hope, people wuould move when they see others gathering and waiting. I find the whole thing awkward that it wont be my first choice as a place to write with my laptop. I suspect that most coffee/pastry shops are fine with it as long as we show some consideration. TY! 🙂

  3. 11/04/2012 1:16 am

    Great article, thanks!
    Have you tried the Kopi Luwak?!

    • 11/04/2012 1:46 am

      Not yet… but will update the post when I do. TY for your comment! 🙂

  4. 11/04/2012 1:42 am

    I never have done that – worked on a latte in a coffee shop. I kind of like the idea. But you’re right, I guess laptop users do hog tables. Maybe they should restrict it at busy times.

    • 11/04/2012 1:48 am

      Yes, I love the latte art… so pretty. 😉 I do see that table hogging sometimes in coffee shops. I agree with you that when busy, it’s best to set a time limit. I believe most coffee shops do. TY! 🙂

  5. 11/04/2012 2:45 am

    I love the aroma of coffee – it evokes so many senses in me. Have you tried Vietnamese coffee? It’s another world class brew to enjoy. Thanks for the post – those quotes brought a smile! 😀 Shaz

  6. 11/04/2012 3:52 am

    I’m a tea drinker myself…

  7. 11/04/2012 3:59 am

    I drink coffee every day. 🙂

  8. 11/04/2012 4:26 am

    I’ve never taken my laptop to a coffee shop. (Where I live now, there IS no such thing) and if I were to brave taking my laptop to the local Farmer’s Cafe–that is the real name–I would be sure to get looks from the regulars who would think I was putting on airs and tons of nosey questions. However I enjoy numerous cups of joe each morning as I’m banging on my computer!

  9. 11/04/2012 4:30 am

    “I think it  should depend on how much seating space a coffee-shop has” – I think you’ve hit the nail here, Elizabeth – this is all that should matter – rather have the laptop brigade (I include myself in that) than an empty coffee shop. For me, it’s not a great place to do my work, but is if I want to do some creative writing

  10. 11/04/2012 5:16 am

    In Accra, Ghana, there is a popular place where you can have good coffee while you read and work on your lap top, the Cuppa Cappuccino. The blend is so good and the aroma, wafting freely in the tastefully decorated air-conditioned room, can be such a turn on. They also do yummy sandwiches to go with the coffee.

    The seating capacity is spot on, not too large, for a cosy atmosphere. However, if you prefer the cool breeze then there is a wide lawn outside where you can enjoy the chirping biurds in the background and the ocassional honk of a vehicle passing by, as you work.

  11. 11/04/2012 5:52 am

    I’m typing this very comment from a coffee shop! I love to have a cup o joe and type on the old laptop. Sadly, my latte is not nearly as pretty as the one with the froth art above.

  12. 11/04/2012 6:21 am

    Love writing in the local coffee shop, it’s small and more like a community. Most people actually know each other. I guess it’s like the guy you sat next to, it’s nice to get out into the world and see people and the buzz of the nooises around you 🙂

  13. 11/04/2012 6:27 am

    Having coffee, or tea, since I’m a tea lover, is such a social thing, I don’t see myself combining it with work. It’d be what I do to get a break from work. Plus, the constant chatter and clatter in coffee shops and the fear that someone would spill their beverage on my laptop would shut me down. Checking and responding to emails? Sure, that’s sometimes pretty mindless stuff but work needs my full concentration and for that, I need quiet or a place where I can control the noise.
    There are a few coffee shops here in Kingston and the noise is distracting. I’ve watched people there and nearly half of them are there just to be seen.

  14. Chuck permalink
    11/04/2012 6:39 am

    I used to spend hours in the dining hall in college, sipping coffee and reading/working. Years before laptops, of course. I wish I had the time today to sit in the coffee shop. I at least take the time on Sunday morning to sit on my bed, cup in hand and laptop on lap. I steal the time before anyone else is up and before my other responsibilities kick in. 🙂

  15. ropcorn permalink
    11/04/2012 6:41 am

    I love my morning coffee! Although this post made me crave a cappuccino real bad, hehe. :p

  16. 11/04/2012 6:50 am

    Reblogged this on newfoundlandtraveller and commented:
    This is for all you coffee lovers out there who like to hang out in coffee shops. Enjoy!

  17. 11/04/2012 7:50 am

    I’m guilty of being one of those so caught up in their laptop for hours nursing the same coffee and pastry, yet I get frustrated it I can’t find a seat…figures.

  18. 11/04/2012 8:09 am

    Last summer, when our electricity went out at home, my husband and I took his laptop to a restaurant with Wi-Fi. We didn’t stay long (30 minutes or so), and we ordered coffee. Personally, I’d rather work at home where it’s a lot easier to download photos from my camera onto the computer. But, I guess working in a coffee shop would be like working at home with the TV turned on for background noise. To each his own…

  19. 11/04/2012 8:15 am

    Maybe I should put that on my bucket list . . . visiting a coffee shop with laptop in hand. Lol! Your post reminded me of the movie, Bucket List. Let us know when you try the most expensive coffee. 🙂

  20. 11/04/2012 8:17 am

    I work at home, and sometimes being able to take my laptop to my favorite local coffee cafe (Cafe Flore) is a nice way to both get out of the house and get some work done. But I never stay for more than an hour.

  21. 11/04/2012 8:31 am

    What an inspired post! I really enjoyed reading it.

    I worked a ton in coffee shops when I was writing my thesis, particularly because I couldn’t handle being cooped up in the house any longer. But I tried really hard to limit my time in each cafe – in fact, I became a bit of a wandering, coffee shop hobo, hopping from one to the next after a 2-3 hour stint at each one! But they certainly are great places to work (even if you smell like a coffee grinder by days end). I just think people need to be cogniscent of their surroundings – if they are taking up too much room (say working at a table for 4 and they are 1), or if they have overstayed their welcome. Maybe scope out the lay of the land and inquire what the policy is like – that way the workers know you are sympathetic to the stores needs and they might be more likely to leave you alone (and become a regular!). It worked for me during my hour of need 🙂

  22. babs50nfab permalink
    11/04/2012 8:47 am

    love the Conan O’Brien quote! I don’t frequent coffee shops. I prefer quiet when I’m writing. I also prefer my own coffee and the fact that I can have a pound of it for the price of a cup at Starbucks and other spots.
    Thanks for stopping by my new digs Elizabeth! Glad you liked it.

  23. 11/04/2012 1:26 pm

    Yes, I adore the Conan quote, and the Letterman one sounds like me!! I love coffee shops, just like the ambience. In Jamaica, where I live, they tend to be noisy though (Jamaicans are rather noisy people!) Blue Mountain Coffee is our preferred (local) coffee, it’s so delicious. I still love Starbucks when I’m overseas – but guess what, I don’t have a laptop! Thanks for this lovely post!

  24. 11/04/2012 7:44 pm

    kopi luwak its good. yummy… 😉

    • 11/04/2012 10:09 pm

      Does it taste anything like coffee or does it have a unique taste? TY! 🙂

  25. 11/04/2012 9:59 pm

    I think one of the first times I read your blog was when you were posting from Starbucks. Then I had to do the same in our December windstorm! I think as long as someone does buy coffee or food, and is leaving seating for patrons it’s fine…it is when I can’t even sit down that I feel frustrated. It is a very nice convenience, though, I must admit! Debra

  26. 12/04/2012 6:26 am

    Although it’s not a regular habit for me, I have spent time writing in coffee shops both with and without my computer. A few times it was difficult to get a seat even though some of the people were no longer eating or drinking and it looked like it had been awhile since they finished their beverage or snack. I’m not sure whether a time limit, or some type of a minimum spend is the answer, but I do think that something may be needed during high traffic times.

  27. 12/04/2012 12:07 pm

    This one I frequent has the advantage of being close to home and independent. When I have a babysitter for my daughter, I have to leave the house to “work” or she won’t leave me alone. I most want to work on my blog, catch up on emails, and read other blogs. They’ve never filled all the tables so I never feel urged to leave. BUT, I’ve been to a couple others that removed all their outlets do you’re limited by your computer’s battery life. 🙂

  28. 12/04/2012 12:21 pm

    We live in a small town with a very large university…so laptops abound everywhere! 🙂 –in the classrooms, coffee shops, under a tree, the library, etc. –So do coffee shops, both locally-owned and large chains, and they are all “wired”, some even with special tables. At my favorite shop, I do write & read there for long periods of time (not on laptop), as do many other people…others come in & out quickly…others sit outside…it seems there is a regular rhythm and flow of time and people. While crowded at times, there always seems to be an empty seat with never a wait…no time limits, no pressure to leave quickly, and a feeling of being at home. Oh, and it’s always good to have you visit…

  29. 12/04/2012 1:47 pm

    What would I do without my coffee!

  30. 14/04/2012 1:22 am

    if I drink coffee, I even can hear a door closed with noise, BEFORE it happens in reality …

  31. 14/04/2012 9:31 am

    Love Blue Mountain coffee! Also love the organically grown Costa Rican coffee my daughter had sent to me from there! And yes, coffee shops are where I often find my muse. I am blessed to have good friends with a health food/herb shop who have a lightly-used coffee shop in the rear–I never ever feel guilty using the WiFi connection there for hours!

  32. 14/04/2012 10:33 pm

    I usually write when I have a laptop in my hand, and I’m surrounded by people or activity. I don’t know. That just works for me.

    • 14/04/2012 10:41 pm

      Good for you… I wish I could say same but I need a little less activity to write. Background noise like the TV and family chats are okay but groups of people in public spaces… I can only handle for a short while. TY! 🙂

  33. 18/04/2012 10:10 am

    I must confess, I am a coffee lover! Nothing like sitting quietly with that hot cup in your hand. Also love the Conan O’Brien joke. He’s not kidding, though.

  34. 18/04/2012 2:21 pm

    Actually, I prefer to sit out on our deck surrounded by nature, birds, enjoying a cup of green tea. I like coffee, but I have found the caffeine to be a good remedy for most of my migraines, so I cut back significantly on coffee to retain it’s potency.


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