Every week I visit different cafes. From Dublin to Cork and Waterford to Westport. Last week I was in Ardkeen Quality Foodstore in Waterford. We train their barista's to deliver the best coffee they can. One thing struck me while I was there. It was the sense of community within the shop. The barista knew everyone by name. There was no rush, no pressure, it was a really nice environment to arrive into and to be a part of. Its what a cafe should be.
Mind you, I don't have to travel to Waterford to experience that. I can experience that here in Limerick too, be it Michelle in Arabica on Shannon street or Laoise out in Delish Cafe Castletroy. I'm sure you all have your favourite local place. For many It used to be the pub. Now, more than ever cafe's are more important in our lives. As author Ray Oldenberg suggests, they are our third place. First : home, second : work and then that third place where we go to have a social coffee, a work chat or to fix the world.
Great coffee is not enough. What makes a great cafe is the chat, engagement, being able to nod your head at the barista and they know you're having your regular cuppa. The barista job, and that customer interaction is often overlooked by many cafes. It is what separates the average from the great.