I’m sitting in a wooden rocking chair with my feet propped up on a funky metal bins while sipping a fancy ice tea at my local go-to coffee shop. Across the room at the counter a group of younger guys + an older man burst into laughter. I can’t help but overhear their hearty chatter. Someone made a joke about adding him to their order + they eventually convinced him to allow it, giving a stranger a free boost of caffeine + faith in humanity.

The older man was easily in his 70’s + decked out in cycling gear. The younger men reminded me of the high-energy dudes I worked with in a downtown Denver start-up. So very different, yet as they waited for their caffeinated beverages they chatted about their day.

coffee shop community…it IS a thing!

The solo man had been cycling with friends + was stopping by for an afternoon latte. The group of guys were on their way into the mountains for a weekend of fun + here to get a pick-me-up for the drive.

As I sat back, rocking in the not-at-all comfortable chair I listened. Their short conversation went from cycling to mountain passes to weekend plans…always impressed + always encouraging. When it was discovered that the coordinator of the cyclists’ mountain biking group was 82 years old everyone got stoked on ‘when I’m that old’ hopes.

Within a few minutes of starting their conversation everyone went their separate ways + the coffee shop was again quiet.

This is a regular occurrence at Red Buffalo Coffee. It’s a community driven coffee shop + it shows every single day. People with lives that would never cross paths otherwise come together here. Between encounters like this at the barista bar to mingling while waiting for drinks to sharing space on the community tables connections are made. I know…I talk to those connections on a regular basis, behind the counter + on the trails + at the grocery store + at the post office + on the bus.

Red Buffalo has been my go-to coffee shop for years. It started out as a place to poach some WiFi while ingesting caffeine. I spent so much time hanging out at one of those community tables that I came to know the regulars + the baristas knew my order. Now I am one of those baristas + I have come to know the regulars by their drinks, not just their weekly coffee schedules.

This coffee shop has become a place where I get to watch human beings become awesome creatures with compassionate empathy + encouraging excitement. I tend to miss a lot of this when I’m stuck behind the espresso machine racing to keep up with the line of drinks awaiting my attention but as I sit here, on a short breather break, I get to soak it all up.

caffeine…the source of smiling faces + warm fuzzies

I tend to say I hate humans…+ I do…but I also really love to watch people be, well, good people! I’m just lucky that I’ve found a coffee shop that lets me get a near perfect WiFi connection + a healthy serving of human happiness!

**disclaimer: while this post may read as an advertisement for Red Buffalo [+ hopefully any local coffee shop near you!] it is not a paid ad or sponsorship, it is simply me…spilling my thoughts as I attempt to recoup some sanity in the midst of a 10 hour shift as a barista — also, all these latte shots are actually from Red Buffalo + proof that I may have a caffeine/local-coffee-shop-vibe obsession!**

1 Comment

Currently. » Heidi Kumm · October 1, 2021 at 3:07 pm

[…] pretty committed to pretending to be a barista — community coffee shops are special, even if you’re not into the coffee […]

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