The other day in our friends’ circle WhatsApp group, I checked out if we can catch up for a cup of tea in a nearby place called “Chai Gali”. I knew it was tough on a weekend for friends and families to rework on the priorities and make it for tea. It fizzled out. I used to try this pretty much often in the past and we use to call these randomly decided get-togethers as ” Just like that” ones. The thrill and the chill associated with those ones are very amazing.
When I reflected back, I realized that I had more of such JLT meetings in coffee shops. I remember when I was in Delhi our regular JLT was in a place called ” Cafe Kawa” where I used to meet Sunil, Rahul, and Sameep. We used to have a great time when we met and chilled out with some nice discussions around life, books, job, personal development and so forth.
My tryst with coffee shops continued and I have figured out that today coffee shops are creating a social setting for people to connect in person more than before. I had recently been to a coffee shop called “Third Wave” (I guess inspired by Star Bucks Howard Schultz who coined Starbucks goal is to become the Third Place in our daily lives i.e. Home, Work, and Starbucks). I could literally see the coffee beans and the smell from the machines while it is being processed. Apart from that, I could see that each table had a Laptop and 8 out of 10 people were either on a video call or chat.
So is this is the new workplace?
So why do people go to coffee shops for discussions apart from a set of people whom I guess are freelancers who make it a workplace? In my view and the way I have noticed, it gives an ambience to share things in a more candid way. That is why I guess, a coffee chain calls it ” A lot can happen over a coffee”. Also, I have seen people reading books, studying and preparing presentations which I have also done enroute to client meetings.
A couple of days back, I landed in a coffee shop and ordered my favorite Americano and a masala omelet. He placed the order and came back to tell me something which was very embarrassing.
“Sir last time you came you did not pay the bill.”
I looked around and with full denial said, ” How are you so sure it is me ?”. He replied that you visit here regularly and hence by face we know you and second, you sat in the same place and ordered the same combination. I couldn’t believe that I would do something like that. He gave me the date and time when I had visited last time. So I told him that I will check my SMS and then tell you. If I have not been traveling I will give the benefit of the doubt and pay. I checked my earlier travels and I noticed that that day I had dropped by in the evening before I had got a call and left for a meeting. With due humility, I asked the manager to come and I apologized and paid the earlier bill. I immediately drank that strong Americano and there I was ready for my next meeting. I understood one thing very clearly, ” you should not sit in the same place and order the same thing!”
I complimented the guy for his memory. This was possible because I became a regular coffee junkie on the weekends. I realized that I have met a lot of people in coffee shops for the first time. Be it an upcoming book author, a new recruit and friends of life. Also, we have leveraged the coffee cool space to have crucial conversations. We had been to a coffee museum in Chikamagalur and there we learned about the history of coffee in India- how a Sufi saint Baba Budan brought 7 seeds of coffee from Arabia and planted it in Chikmagalur which began the coffee journey in India. It was an interesting exposure and the best part was how we all saw an 8 mins video of the coffee story.
From Cafe Kawa 7 years back to the Third Wave last week, I must have had lots of coffee and had lots of conversations and met a lot of colleagues and friends. Of course, we do not remember all those conversations but some of the cherished ones will live in our memories. I do grab a cuppa with my friends and colleagues and that has made me build empathy and compassion in my life.
So what are your coffee habits and what is that you are truly seeking after grabbing a cuppa is worth exploring? By the way, do try a get-together with your friends and colleagues at the drop of a hat if you think you want more from them.
Try it out just like that!