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Personal pleasure of coffee shops

July 11, 2006|by RYAN WILLARD

Nothing calms me down like a coffee shop.

You see, coffee shops supply one of the greatest drinks in the world: chai tea. This wonderful drink is a mixture of black tea, milk, a sweetener and spices such as cinnamon, ginger, star anise, peppercorn and clove to overcome the sweetness slightly.

It goes down in a sweet and sometimes spicy blend. In fact, it is so breathtaking, that it makes me realize the simple pleasures that I value so much. In a way, a place that serves this drink should be revered by me, seeing that it creates such a peace between me and the outside world.

After a fight with my parents or friends, or when I am overwhelmed in thought, my first instinct is to go to one of the few coffee shops I know of and just have a drink and contemplate the situation.

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But coffee shops seem so popular nowadays. Is it really because they serve a mere drink that we enjoy? I asked my friend, Julia Fredrich, a 16-year-old girl who goes to Boonsboro High School.

"It's more then that," she said. "The crazy organic independent shops are just fun. And the drink seems to have its own personality in small places like that."

I gave her a little stare, folded my hands and asked her, "Are you saying coffee shops have their own personality?"

"Definitely," she said, anticipating the question. "Coffee shops have this crazy motif, or theme, and each one has a different one. Each atmosphere is unique."

There is no better example then Beans in the Belfry, a coffee shop in the middle of Brunswick, Md. The atmosphere of the coffee shop is unique, as it was a church for 90 years and has been restored.

The atmosphere is relaxing. And, of course, the coffeehouse serves my favorite drink.

You also can spend some fun times with friends in a coffee shop. They usually have something to do other than drink coffee, like lounge around or play chess, look at used books and listen to music. And with that, comes history.

When I asked Julia what her favorite coffee shop was, she said Market Street Caf in Frederick, Md., mainly because of its place in her history.

"For the past three or four years, I have been in a Shakespeare internship and ever since then we've went to Market Street Caf," she said. "I just love to say strange things with my friends at random people, and see their reactions. It's just nice to be in a building (with) caffeine and your best friends."

I think that, for most people, this is what a coffee shop becomes.

But, as with most things that are truly great, the little things are what count. In my latest attempt to go to Beans in the Belfry, I asked a friend if she would like to come along with me. After bouncing up and down five times, she remarked how glad she would be to see the doors.

I can think of no other place that brings so much excitement just over doors.

So it is more than the drinks. It's the history, it's the atmosphere, and it's a place you can go with your friends, and it also happens to be safe, fun and legal.

And a nice cup of chai helps a little.

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