Do You Miss Coffee Shops?

Jamie Ridler sitting in a coffee shop looking out the window
photo credit: Suzie Ridler

As we stay close to home due to COVID-19 restrictions, one of the things I have truly been missing is spending time in coffee shops. What a joy to pack up my pencil case, a journal (or three) and a good book (or two) and take a few hours to fill my well.

This weekend I decided that if I couldn’t go to the coffee shop, then I would bring the coffee shop home. With about 10 minues of care and creativity, Justin and I were able to relish hours of café time, reading, writing and relaxing.

How to Create a Coffee Shop Experience at Home

First let me say this isn’t about ordering a bistro set or investing in a cappuccino maker. If you can and want to, by all means, go ahead! I just want you to know that nothing extravagant is required to create this experience.

Space: Choose a small and manageable location to serve as your “coffee shop”. You just need a spot to sit comfortably, somewhere to set your coffee and, of course, a book or a journal! Maybe your kitchen table would be perfect or a corner of your couch or your bed and nightstand. The important part is deciding, “Here is where I am setting up my coffee shop.” And remember, this isn’t meant to be a massive undertaking. It’s a simple and magical way to shift the energy, have some respite and enjoy a bit of a change!

Once you’ve decided on your ‘where’, it’s time to work some energetic magic and welcome in all that you love about coffee shops. You can do that by focusing on the senses.

Sight: How can you quickly and easily make adjustments to bring a café vibe into your space? A quick tidy-up is a good place to start. Maybe even a spot-clean. It does wonders for an energy shift! Tuck away some of the ‘stuff’ you associate with the space’s regular identity and make a bit of room. Add a touch of beauty. Bring over that plant from the windowsill. Add a pretty little tealight beside it. Do you have a mug or teacup you adore? How about a lovely plate for a cookie?

Taste: Speaking of cookies, I learned from my Dutch father-in-law that in Holland, whenever you order a coffee, you always get a little treat on the saucer, perhaps a small cookie or chocolate. This will definitely be a constant for our coffee-shop-at-home experiences! Justin and I have also ordered ground coffee from a coffee shop we love. Not only does that “Bards Blend” evoke sensory memories but our order supports a local business at a difficult time. What flavours will you bring into your café?

Scent: The smell of coffee is the obvious choice here. Maybe now is a good time to amp it up by grinding your own beans. And remember, coffee shops aren’t just for coffee!! You can also savour the scent of your peppermint tea or chai. If you’re someone who relishes café patios for the fresh air, open your windows. If it’s a little chilly, all the better! You’ll remember exactly what it feels like to be out and about at this time of year.

Touch/Feel: At a café, do you always pick a chair and a table so that you can write or do you gravitate to the cozy armchair in the corner? The kinesthetics of your body posture are a part of how an experience feels. What clothing would you wear to a café in autumn? Is it time for a chunky sweater? If you want to don your beret, go for it! For me, the best at-home addition to the coffee shop was a cozy throw! And of course, consider the feel of your mugy, your book, your journal, your pen.

Sound: One of the joys of coffee shops is the music.* Whether it is welcoming and familiar, full of new discoveries or even a bit corny, the music always creates a unique moment in time. Both Spotify and YouTube have playlists that will provide an appropriate soundtrack for hours. You can even listen to soundscapes that create the feeling of a coffee shop – even a coffee shop in the rainHere’s what Justin and I listened to for our coffee shop date.

With a bit of ingenuity and intention, we can call in a familiar experience in a brand new way. I know that I’ll be relaxing at Chez J&J today. I hope you have a wonderful time Chez Vous.


  1. Justin Case says:

    What an inspiring post. Thank you for giving me something positive to think about. We have lost a dear friend to cancer this summer. And last month we had to put our dog to sleep. In normal times the mourning and grieving is depressing, but now with the Covid19 spreading around it is even worse. We both work from home, as usually, but the semi lock down makes us now feel grounded. No need to walk the dog, so when it raines we don’t walk. No friends to hug, no hands to shake. We’re both so depressed that we are unable to comfort one another.

    Your idea of making “Chez Nous” has inspired me to make some little changes in our home. To specially make a different (small) place where we can go to and sit for short and cozy breaks. To make very small differences in our every day life. I won’t be calling it a coffeeshop though for in Dutch we use this English word only for a shop where you can buy hash and marihuana :-)

    Thank you for sharing!

    • Jamie says:

      I am so sorry to hear of your losses. These are always difficult but I hear how these times are making it even more so. I’m so glad that you are inspired to give this a try. Let’s call it a cafe then, shall we? :)

  2. Leanne S says:

    I love this idea, except that I rarely hang out in coffee shops unless I gave to … but I like the idea I might give it a go!

  3. Susan Ekins says:

    Thank you, Jamie. Recently a friend told me I need to have more fun. From the context, I think she meant I should be out socializing like she does. No thanks, not during a pandemic. What you’ve described is my idea of fun. I will give it a try!

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