iLike: coffee shops and teahouses

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on February 10, 2010

Somehow, taking tea together encourages an atmosphere of intimacy when you slip off the timepiece in your mind and cast your fate to a delight of tasty tea, tiny and thoughtful conversation.

– Gail Greco

I really like mom-and-pop coffee shops and local teahouses. (No offense, Starbucks, I know I can expect a consistent brew from you all the time, anytime, every time.) Local hangouts are just…different. The townspeople frequent it, there’s a steady flow of customers, coffee aroma isn’t overpowering the moment one walks in, daily fresh baked goods, and the list goes on.

I discovered two awesome places during this stay.

Bean Town in Sierra Madre. I like how each day is different. Sometimes there’s a group of senior ladies sitting around the couch, talking and knitting. Another day the two largest tables are filled with senior men. I like how the locals know each other too. It’s located on a big street in the community but it’s away from all the traffic. There’s free wi-fi, plenty of seating, Red velvet cupcakes – mini and large, strong coffee and tea.

The Loose Teas Cafe and Gifts in Monrovia. The milk tea is delicious and less sugary than popular boba houses. Besides that, they sell tea leaves and actually brew tea as you order it. (Popular boba houses use powder.) If I was here longer, I’d pick up tea here (as opposed to buying tea bags) especially since it has rooibos tea! It has less seating and I haven’t tried any food there but it’s also a local place albeit located in a large shopping plaza.

These two definitely fueled a caffeine addiction during this trip. The first two days of Withdrawal were tough. Happy to report I conquered my short-lived addiction.

My affinity for mom-and-pop coffee shops surfaced during college. The campus perimeter is peppered with them – Caffe Stradda, Milano, Musical Offering Cafe, etc. On a regular day, the cafes burst with college students, professors, visitors, and locals. I miss having those cafes just a few steps away from me.

Since then, I try to find one wherever I am, local over franchise. It’s almost like a rite of passage, a warm welcome from the community.

In Morocco, only men are regular visitors at cafes. Gender norms, as I understand it. Not cool. By the way, the 28th is creeping up mighty quickly…yikes. Emotions are flowing, excitement is growing. 🙂

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