As I stumbled through campus on my first day at BU, I observed the landscape of students that blurred together as they rushed between classes. In the rush, my eyes caught the incongruous sign for Pavement Coffeehouse sticking out from the BU scarlet. When I walked inside, I began to understand what coffee culture would mean for me and my formation into a Boston caffeine connoisseur.
My home of Connecticut doesn’t boast much of a cafe spirit. Most nutmeggers find solace in our mermaid laden paper cups each morning from Starbucks. We may occasionally stop by old Dunkin’ Donuts if we’re feeling nostalgic for simpler times. The morning coffee routine involves looking silently at a dimly lit screen while you ignore that your barista may have purposely misspelled your name just to get you to look up. When you ran in from the suburban streets there was nothing to greet you but the sound of background bustling of unpacking new pastries or the random buzz of the register.
So on that first day, when I stepped into Pavement Coffeehouse, it was the first time I witnessed the humanistic element of Boston’s coffee culture that would soon serve as an escape from the constant motion and surprises of this city. As I’ve come to know as the norm in the coffehouse, a soft, modish music played in the background while coffee-goers drank from their steaming cups and laughed without caution with their lunch dates, study partners, baristas, even themselves. There was such a stark difference between the murmuring conversations and the blaring horns that were silenced as the door closed behind me.
As I ordered my drink and sat down at an artfully decorated table, I looked around myself and found that the combination of excellent tasting coffee and the charm of the people that congregated in the space began to envelope me. I watched as smiling patrons walked in to meet one another away from the chaos of the outside world. From my short lived experience, I decided that these were happy spaces, where productivity loomed within reach and yet leisurely sipping seemed the ultimate goal. I wanted more.
So for the past two years, I’ve allowed my addiction for experiencing Boston’s cafes to carry me around this city because with independent coffeehouses comes a new adventure to fall in love with them as I read a book in a quiet corner or bring a friend to share in the dim light of a caffeinated escape. There’s something beautiful in the fact that no two of these city based spaces are alike, even if they serve the same purpose, and their characteristic fit the neighborhood the belong to.
They silently battle the army of Starbucks that crowd every street and remind me that, while I do enjoy the simple pleasure of an Oprah chai every once in a while, there is something even more special in venturing into Boston to find the variety of caffeinated spaces throughout this city. There are small nooks to hide away and simultaneously rejoin a special kind of humanity while you indulge in the joy of a sweetened americano.
While the list of Boston coffeehouses goes on for miles through the city, on and off campus, I’ve found that coffee shop explorations have brought me a sense of connection with something in Boston that I couldn’t find at home. BU, this den of college students, buzzing with an energy derived from the influence of energy drinks and caffeine-filled cups, begins to slow down when you walk into Pavement Coffeehouse or Blue State. You start to see people a bit differently once you exit the haze that surrounds blurring mobs as they rush through Commonwealth Avenue.
About the Author (Author Profile)Moe is a senior studying Journalism and Sociology. If you're looking closely you can find her rereading anything by Oscar Wilde in a coffee shop, avoiding trains on Commonwealth Ave, or napping... pretty much anywhere.
Sites That Link to this Post
- Culture Shock 101: Required Readings - Culture Shock : Culture Shock | September 21, 2016