Escaping the cool of the outside world, wind blasted, frigid in the hands, and heavy in breath; I grasp to an even cooler grip of a metallic door handle. A portal offering entry into a far more hospitable place. A green apron thrown across my shoulder, for a moment, garners the attention of patrons sat about me. Soft lights and a low rumble of conversation lays like a fog across this small establishment. Soft hums of indie music adds color to the fog and lightens the environment further. The song itself acts as a single instrument to complement the conversations of those about.
A rich smell pours over me. Aroma so universally known yet so close to my heart. A familiar smell of freshly brewed coffee with but the slightest undertone of acidity. This small, seemingly insignificant place, grows more meaningful each time I set foot into it. I wonder how such a small place could evoke such powerful emotion. A coffee shop. Lakes hang on the wall, homes, cities, windows into another’s life; all framed in wood. Handcrafted advertisements written in chalk; original pieces of art developed by the very people before me - those in green. Shelves of products built with beauty in mind. Hundreds of hours spent designing each thermos; built to lure the eye - built to lure you in with beauty - like a mythical siren.
It is the strangest feeling knowing the next six hours I spend in this building working will not yield a numbed brain and the feelings of hell. Not due to the place itself, but due to the nature of work. The patch of the siren herself is embroidered in the center of the apron as I put it on. Directly on my chest, as if to indicate my core. I take my position on bar and am granted the ability to become the artist myself. The hissing of milk being cut followed by a soft bubbling as it is steamed. The deafening screeching that is solely associated with the steaming of almond milk. The soft taps of a cool metal pitcher on a metal counter. Each tap helps to shatter the cohesion of large bubbles within the milk. Murmurs of an espresso machine prepping shots followed by two streams of the purest form of coffee. After grooming the milk to perfection, I manually mix the espresso with syrups. The final piece of the drink is to pour the milk at just the right angle and just the right speed followed by the slightest pull of the wrist. The foam atop the drink bends into a heart.