A Scholar’s Paradise

March 27, 2012
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Immediately after walking through the large doors and under the green awning, a sweet smell of pastries and strong coffee hit my nose. Soft jazz music, with a rich saxophone solo, played out of high-tech speakers that lined the right-side wall. The menu was full of various coffee drinks, each one with its own spin or twist. Almost none of them, however, was plain coffee, and most of them contained tons of sugar. I strode to the counter and gave my order to a man with short brown hair and a green apron.

While I waited, I peered behind the counter. There, a young man wearing a beany made drinks of all sorts. There were several steaming pots of coffee, along with flavorings, and other ingredients to create gourmet concoctions.

After about three minutes, I heard the magic words: “Venti cinnamon dolce latte!” That was my cue. With drink in hand, I paced to the back of the café. At the wall farthest from the door there were big glass windows, and a steel counter with a wooden stool. I plopped down into a cushy leather armchair and began to take in my surroundings.

At a long wooden table, 13 or so people sat engrossed in their work, eyes never straying, each one a slave to their laptop. A few friends talked quietly, laughing and gossiping about this or that, but most of the patrons didn’t interact. Saddened by the sight, I almost wanted to close my laptop and strike up a conversation with a stranger. At risk of losing my work and seriously creeping somebody out, I resisted the urge. Instead, I followed the trend and did my own work: observing the setting.

The ceiling had retro silver paneling, and from it, hung pastel green chandeliers. The white walls were lined with colorful pieces of modern art. An ovular mirror had also been suspended from the wall in an effort to give the place an old fashioned feel. Despite the café’s efforts, the right wall (or left from where I was sitting) still looked ugly, washed out, and barren.

After looking around I was struck by the contrast between modern and cozy that existed in the cafe. Despite slick metal furniture, there were wooden floors and warm lighting. Although there were state of the art speakers suspended from the ceiling, cozy jazz was what wafted from them.

Because of the decoration and atmosphere, it seemed to be the perfect place to focus. Unlike usual, I didn’t find myself getting sidetracked and my notes were running smooth. Next to me sat Sopira, who was cranking out an essay. And next to him was an entire table full of people whose attention never shifted.

Guessing that my coffee would be cool enough to drink, I took my first sip. Although sweet, I felt a few of my taste buds being singed off. “Ouch!” It looked like I would still have to wait for a bit. It was a warm day and I supposed I should have probably gotten a cold drink.

While still waiting for my drink to cool, I gazed over at the front of the store. There, I saw glass doors, a long line, and a station where various people added cream, sugar, and coco to the coffee. All of these customers soon either left the cafe, or joined the crowd of people working on their laptops.

Soon, my latte had cooled, and I swallowed the entire cup in about three gulps. It was time to leave, so I packed up my laptop and made for the door. As I left, I drew some conclusions. First, Starbucks needs new decorators. Second, if you’re in the mood for a coffee, but don’t actually like the taste, head down to the store with the green and white sign. Third, Starbucks is a place to work - a scholar’s paradise.

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