There’s this coffee shop I love to go to that’s tucked away directly off of a major highway with close proximity to campus. Word-of-mouth gives this place its business. Unless you know someone who frequents the coffee haven, then you most likely won’t know about it. The close walking distance means you’ll see students and professors as well as families in this place. The back door is its best feature. Tucked away but painted as if the entrance to the secret garden rather than the best study place in Kearney.
When you walk in, stop for a moment, if you’re visiting during the day, this is important because your eyes will need to adjust a bit. The baristas are laid back and chalkboards announce the plethora of specialties and comfort drinks in the crowded yet organized fashion of coffee shop menus.
Worn wooden chairs, inviting booths and a nap-worthy sofa all create a welcoming feel to study and discuss religion, philosophy, politics as well as lighthearted and heart-felt conversations. Soul saving and soul healing. A long table for friends to play games and laugh, or for battle-ridden studiers finding comfort in the mutual affliction.
Constant comings and goings of real friends and coffee shops friends provides continual relief from the incessant nagging of deadlines. Coffee shop friends being those that you met there and only see here. Sometimes you don’t even know the other person’s name, but you’re friends because you’ve commiserated and celebrated together because of the little things.
The trickle of pouring espresso beans and occasional grinding of coffee beans regularly pierce the nondescript music that allows some to concentrate and others to be distracted. The constant murmur of conversation whether nonchalant or serious adds another layer to the constant buzz.
The constant noise, however, is still muffled creating a calming and studious environment regardless of the volume. Customers debate on whether to order something new or stick to the regular. Familiar customers are called by name because of familiarity. Questions of weather and who’s routing for who in March Madness sneak through the protective bubble of concentration. Snippets of conversations float through the air causing laughter or confusion from afar because you really want to know what caused that to be said.
Espresso. The smell permeates everything, causing everyone to smell like coffee for hours after leaving the shop. Occasional fragrance of tea and flavoring come across, but only if it’s sitting near you.
At this time, it’s relatively quiet. But it’s only safe to call it the calm before the storm. It’s unknown when the next wave of studiers and coffee fiends will flood the shop creating bustling commotion and the anticipation of seeing people you haven’t seen since the last time you were there. On any given day you’re sure to say hi to at least 3 people you know. The barista’s are making drink and cleaning to keep the place looking nice and comfortable.