There aren’t many times in our life that we know, as it’s happening, that everything is changing, will change, and the long term effects are unknown. This is most definitely one of those. It’s a time you know the generations to come will learn about in history, political studies, science and economics, pin-pointing this time as a key contributor to how our world fares in the future. 

What will the history books (e-documents) say about the change in coffee culture? Probably not much, maybe a line or two in social studies, or Macro Economics And Small Business 201 at a stretch. The changes in the way we live and work will be covered extensively, but I want to pay some attention, an homage if you will, to the role of the local coffee shop in shaping our mortal realm.

In the past few months people have worked from home and home schooled, turned their activewear into office clothes, and walked the dog to the local cafe to grab a coffee. It’s the morning reprieve from the screen, or small children, but more so, is contributing to the growing vibrancy of the suburban community. 

Cities have generally had the upper hand on economic drive, a hub for innovation and cultural vitality, because the people, money, resources and ideas are centralised. But what happens when the cities empty and people disperse? Technology allows many to continue working from home almost uninterrupted, but a singular cultural centre for a large population is no longer viable. 

Enter the suburban cafe. Nestled in amongst the small strip of shops and houses, local coffee shops have always provided a shared space beyond the household to eat and drink and be social. But it’s role has been elevated to new heights. It takes the place (improves rather) of meeting around the water cooler, chatting with the barista is the meeting of minds and other customers are colleagues to exchange ideas. 

Exciting times are ahead where neighbourhoods aren’t just enjoyed on weekends, but grow into unique cultural hubs people connect daily, where each community is a centre for innovation in art, business, science, architecture and design. Where we achieve world peace. All over a cup of coffee at your local.