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As a wise person once said, "Life is too short for bad coffee."

March 26, 2015
by CEA CAPA Content Creator

I love coffee. I loved coffee back in the States and I love it in Prague too. Not only is the coffee here delicious but the hunt for a coffee shop or a new study place is always fun. I’ve lost count of how many coffee shops I’ve been to but there are a few that continue to stand out and that I keep coming back to. There are many reasons why I decide to revisit any number of them (especially to do work) and I’ve listed some below.

Amanda’s Essential Ingredients for the Ideal Coffee Shop:

1. Wifi: As superficial as it may seem, most of the work I’ve been assigned here requires access to the internet and nothing is more satisfying than an easy-to-type wifi password. If there’s a beautiful coffee shop but no access to the internet, I’ll most likely come back when I don’t have work.

2. Atmosphere: A good atmosphere is essential to feeling relaxed, comfortable and, most importantly, productive. There are a few places (I’ll mention in a bit) that have a good work atmosphere, a strong balance between being lively with enough people but never overcrowded where work seems impossible. Also, if a place has cushioned seats, I’m more apt to remain there for a longer amount of time. Comfort, as simple as it seems, is important. Who wants to sit in a wooden seat for three hours writing a paper?

3. Space: There is nothing that bothers me more than being stuck at a small, square table where there’s no room to spread out my laptop, notebooks and an assortment of papers. While it’s not always realistic to expect a great deal of space in certain shops, its definitely preferred and, given the choice, I always choose the place where I can be most comfortable while working.

4. Time: I would advise anyone looking to do work at a coffee shop to really consider the time they’re going. For example, weekend mornings are incredibly busy and, on any given day, around noon, shops get busy with people grabbing a quick lunch. This isn’t the worst time, though, because usually after half an hour to an hour, they leave to return to work. Finding a time that works best for you is important, but keep in mind the different levels of busyness.

5. Customer Service: Maybe it’s the good ole American in me, but customer service has always been, and always will be important to me. I find myself more relaxed in an environment where I know I’ll be able to work a few hours after I’ve finished my initial drink and/or food. I absolutely detest it when a barista comes over and continues to ask if I want anything.

I know that they’re annoyed because I haven’t bought anything for an hour or so but I also believe that feeling as though you’re forced to keep buying things to continue work is rather absurd. Though it shall go unnamed, one cafe in particular shut off the wifi when my roommates and I (the only people using our laptops) had not bought anything for nearly forty-five minutes. Needless to say, I’ve not returned there. The feeling of being rushed is one I find counter-productive to thoughtful, well done work.

6. Coffee: This should do without saying but the coffee wherever you go should be good. If you’re paying for anything, I believe you should get your money’s worth (though this isn’t always the case.) Most coffee shops in Prague serve the same basic drinks and while I typically stick to my usual, certain places make me want to branch out. If I’ve walked away from the coffee shop satisfied with my overall experience and especially with the coffee, it’s likely I’ll return.

Amanda's Top Coffee Shops:

1. Paul: A chain coffee shop, the atmosphere Paul brings is one of foreign whimsy, enjoyment and big tables to work at. Bonus: large enough to work in groups and you're almost always assured a table.

2. Costa Coffee: Another popular chain coffee shop, "Costa" as it's more affectionately know provides consistently delicious coffee while almost always having a table. Bonus: Costa Coffee in almost every major area of Prague and the serving sizes of coffee are generous as well.

3. IF Cafe: The small cafe located in Prague 2 is quaint, the perfect place for a delicious coffee and a book or to meet with a friend. Small and intimate, it's not ideal for large groups but is great for a small meeting.

 Photo courtesy of Sarah McKinney  Photo Credit to Abigail Clarke  Photo credit to Abigail Clark

Amanda Palomino is the Spring 2015 CEA MOJO in Prague, Czech Republic. She is currently a junior at Hofstra University.

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