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Opinion

New main street coffee shop exceeds expectations

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October 4, 2007

Sometimes I would sweat profusely at work. My teeth would chatter in between my hyperactive conversation. I might have worried that my customers assumed I was on some sort of crazy drug as I gave them their drinks with a trembling hand, but they knew my state of mind all too well. They were addicts themselves. They would stagger in at painfully early hours of the morning and pay a large sum to feel how I felt. It wasn’t cocaine or speed they were after, but caffeine in its most delicious form.

When I first started at the coffee shop, my boss, a demanding elderly woman with extraordinarily keen taste buds, told me to “perform” as I made my drinks. I asked what exactly she meant by that. She told me that it says BARISTA on my nametag, but that title holds more superiority than people may believe.

Preparing drinks is an art and she declared me an “artist.” At the time, she sounded so cliché and snobbish that I had to scoff. A few months later, once I was beyond the awkwardness of struggling with the milk steamer and espresso grinder, I agreed with her. I learned the language of coffee and my arrogance grew with each new and delectable drink I concocted.

Although I miss the power I felt making the drinks, I missed the coffee shop atmosphere even more.

I went to a coffee shop this evening to fill that hole in my heart. Located at 114 South Main Street in River Falls and called Hot Spot, I wasn’t expecting to be too impressed, but as I walked in the door, the smell and setting were brilliant and my assumptions were immediately proved wrong.

I couldn’t believe the size of this place. The bar is on the main floor and there is enough seating for our entire freshman class, which is still a significant amount even considering how tiny they all are. One wall is lined with tall tables for feet-dangling lovers such as myself. According to one of the baristas, the owners plan on building a stage for their live music and open mic nights. The second floor has multiple pool tables, and I was very surprised to hear that it’s smoke friendly.

Because they have wireless Internet, I brought my laptop in order to write this column, but my plans were ruined because I was so distracted by coffee shop culture. Coffee houses usually have very distinct social circles, and it can be difficult to squeeze your way into one, but this particular coffee house is welcoming. People lounged around contentedly, some of them socializing and some of them studying, all of them wired on caffeine’s delicious and satisfying side effects.

Leaving was the only annoyance during my experience this evening. But on my way out the baristas in their charming black aprons fixed me another hazelnut latté that, although I could have made it perfect, was still delicious. My warm mug kept me elated on my long way home. It took me only one visit to become a Hot Spot regular.

Annee Mayer-Chapleau is a junior studying creative writing. She loves astronomy and her main goal in life is to dance like David Byrne from the Talking Heads.