I often attend coffee shops for mere enjoyment of the atmosphere, the way it forces me to focus on what I need to do, and the cozy environment is often very comforting when sharing deep conversations with others. Wouldn’t it be nice to have this at home? So why not? Here is an anatomical guide on how to establish your own café at home.

When and how it all started is not very well documented, but we do know that cafes as we know them today started in Paris around the 1660s and one of the original cafes, Café Procope, has been brewing coffee and serving meals non-stop since 1686. Some of its most popular clients involve Voltaire and Rousseau. There is also La Closerie des Lilas, where Hemingway would write, and according to rumors, it was here where F. Scott Fitzgerald asked his good friend Hemingway to read a manuscript of The Great Gatsby. Now Hemingway’s face is on the menu.

Cafes are a place where business and pleasure collide organically, and I believe this is telling about everyday life and crucial for our own flourishment. Aristotle once said that man can be very happy even in the midst of hard work, and similarly, modern psychology advocates for healthy-stress. The type that motivates you to strive forward. I believe that having a place to work, engage in difficult conversations whether intellectual or affectionate, and enjoy a delightful coffee drink is something we should have access to from the comfort of home.

 


Designated Space

Is there a lonely corner in your home with potential for more? The space doesn’t have to be big, and you could also consider turning your whole living room into your own café. Just beware of your intentions. Remember that this is a place where you can work and experience leisure simultaneously. This is crucial for every design decision over the space. Consider furniture comfortable enough that you can sit in for hours, but sturdy and serious enough that you won’t slouch or fall asleep.

 


Basic tools

Determine your own menu. Based on the drinks you like and what you are able to do, also be generous and think of what your family and friends enjoy, as you will be inviting them over to this space. For example, I am a fan of espresso, French-press brew, lattes, and cappuccinos. Based on that, I will make sure I have the equipment, spices, and appropriate coffee handy. Keep it all together in the same place and make sure it is visible. You could consider exposing it and making it part of your home-décor, or if you are keeping it on a cabinet or drawer, make sure it is visible. You are more likely to make good use of everything if you are aware of its presence.

This is important because you don’t need every possible ingredient and piece of equipment to run your own at home-café. You only need what you will actually use, and striving for everything at once will lead you to hoard and become overwhelmed -very anti-Parisian-café principles.

 


Lightening

It sets the mood, therefore it is crucially important.

To this day, many Parisian cafes have tables on the cement outside. That was born out of their popularity and accommodating the public, but it is also for the sake of natural lightning. Even the inside of the cafes often have enough windows to let the natural light in. Remember that you will be working here and you must be able to read. Think of the windows in your home and try to find a space where natural light comes in.

For lamps, avoid led-lightning. Warm lights are soothing and softer on your eyes, making the time at your at-home-cafe enjoyable once the sun is out. Small things like light strings (there’s great outdoor options) or just one lamp may be more than enough. Make sure there is still a level of coziness while maintaining good visibility.

Try adding details such as candles as a centerpiece for your table, flowers, plants, or a small shelf or rack for books, laptop, or anything else you may need handy in your space. Keep the place neat, in order to make it always inviting, it is very easy to simply end up with a pile of things in your chair or table and mentally, that will turn you away from this magical place we are trying to set up.

 


Background music

This is not a must, but sometimes it very much feels as if it was. Make a playlist for your at-home-café. Given that you will be often working here, pick music without lyrics or with lyrics in another language as this reduces the likelihood of becoming too distracted by it. 

My hope is that this exercise will make you excited to engage in hard work and the fruits of such would be of great impact on your life. I hope you invite your loved ones to this space and through heart to heart conversations you may grow closer and learn from each other. Ultimately, I hope it is a place of self-care and growth, whether  by reading, writing, through people, or the most tedious aspects of your job, this place can be fulfilling and a source of joy. 


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