The societal imperative of coffee shops

I met an old co-worker downtown the other day and, as luck would have it, I had a spare half-hour.

Maybe we could grab a coffee and catch up?

But I looked at him and I realized I didn’t really know that much about him and, more importantly, where he likes to drink coffee.

In this town, who you are determines where you drink coffee.

Me? I’m a floater. So long as the coffee is good, I’m fine. Whether it is an establishment serving Bean North Coffee Roasting or Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters, you are guaranteed a good cup of joe. Maybe that is why we can look to other attributes of a coffee shop for one that is comfortable for us.

So, as I survey my long-lost colleague, where should I suggest?

Perhaps Starbucks? But I didn’t know if he was one of those people who thinks a multi-national company doesn’t belong on Main Street. These are the same people who promised to never darken the doors of Wal-Mart.

Do they hold the same contempt for Starbucks as they do for Wal-Mart? Well, the next time I see them shopping at Wal-Mart, I’ll ask.

Hmm, Starbucks does have those Chai Eggnog Lattes. I’ve been meaning to try one, but not today.

I could suggest Baked Café. It is the “in” place these days. But you have to be careful because if you go at the wrong time it will be difficult to get a seat. Many of the tables tend to be filled with one laptop and one coffee.

At least it wasn’t the weekend. The place takes on the smell of sweat-saturated wool as people tank up after their cross-country skiing jaunts.

And yet I continue to go there on weekends because they have the best scones.

Of course we could go to The Bent Spoon, order it to go and scoot over to the federal building and drink it by the pond. That’s what everyone else in the building does … except the part about sitting by the pond. They all have offices to go to.

I sized up my old colleague one more time and I saw by his unpretentious clothing that he was still a good Canadian. Maybe Tim Hortons then? Donut shops have good coffee.

Donut shop … donut shop. That doesn’t sound right. It doesn’t roll off the tongue because, really, when was the last time anyone called Tim Hortons a donut shop? It’s “Tim’s” or “Tim Hortons”. More often than not, people just call it “THEE coffee shop”.

But, hey, who says you have to drink coffee in a coffee shop? There’s Doc’s Diner just around the corner from where we were.

It is my favourite place to go for an interview because you don’t have to meet someone for the first time and then go stand in line with them. They bring the coffee right to your table.

And it serves Midnight Sun Coffee now.

But there are two kinds of people in Whitehorse: those who think Doc’s Diner is great and those who have never heard of the place.

Hey, if we don’t mind walking a bit, there is Alpine Bakery. It has Bean North coffee, just as The Bent Spoon and Baked Café, but it also has that one brick wall housing the stone oven that is just heavenly to sit next to.

But would he feel comfortable in that crowd? You know, the back-to-the-landers who are not as artsy as the Chocolate Claim customers.

He is starting to look at me funny … I am taking too long and this is getting awkward.

Well, you can’t go wrong by going to the one place that has the best coffee in Whitehorse.

Unfortunately, the best coffee in Whitehorse is at the Yukon College Bookstore. It is a special Bean North blend.

Too far.

“Well, see ya,” I finally say. “See ya,” he says back.

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