I recently posted a rant about what makes a town livable. One of the main features was what I called a "real" coffeehouse.
I've been thinking about it a lot, and I have decided to offer a revised list of qualifications.
1)Must Sell Good Coffee
This should be a no-brainer, but so many coffeehouses sell weak, wet-ashtray-like coffee, and many others use the Starbucks model of overroasted coffee that tastes like they burnt down the village where it was grown (not completely out of the question.)
2) Must Offer a Welcome Atmosphere
I combined several of the others into this one. The coffeehouse must have comfortable chairs or sofas, it must not blare music so loud you get a headache, and it must offer free wireless access and electrical sockets for your laptop.
Basically, it must make you feel as though you are welcome to stay for a couple of hours and brood over your cup of coffee. If they didn't want you to hang out, they shouldn't have opened a coffee shop. Likewise if you do hang out all day, for goodness sakes, buy something every now and then and tip well.
3) Must Allow Tipping
That's right. Not only is it a barista's right to collect tips, it should be your right, your privilege -- nay, your pleasure to help out these bohemian heroes that keep your creative juices flowing.
4) Must Not Have an Agenda
This one is pointedly geared towards people with a political or religious agenda. I'm fine that you have your agenda, but I don't want to hear about your religion, and while I'm a feminist sympathizer of the first degree, I don't think you should stare angrily at me while I drink my espresso. (You know who you are.) I just came for coffee.
Just my thoughts.