Moving here from San Francisco and having lived near Seattle, I admit that I’m a coffee snob and caffeine addict. To say I’m picky and a pain in the ass when it comes to good coffee is an understatement as witnessed by family and colleagues. Burn my coffee and you have made an enemy for life.
My husband lived in Minneapolis before and kept reassuring me that I would love Caribou Coffee.
Yes, I know that it is not the coolest coffee shop in town. You probably thought I would mention some indie coffee shop squirrelled away in a cutting-edge neighborhood and not some chain store, but let me tell you why my love of Caribou goes far beyond the good coffee and reflects on the genuine people of this town.
They know my name. Now I am not naive. I know that they probably pull it up on the register when I pay for my drink, but it lights me up like Pavlov’s dogs to hear someone say my name (and not call me Karla by mistake, thank you Starbucks! or coolly ignore me, thank you Peets!)
They chat me up. At my downtown store, the barista calls out to me from behind the counter and asks how my day is or what my plans are for the weekend. Each of them remember that I travel a lot on business and ask me where I was off to last week, offering comments of people they know in the area or places they visited in that city. It may be good customer service encouraged by the store management, but damn if I don’t feel like these people are my friends.
Did I mention the daily trivia questions? God, I’m such a nerd that I try to answer every time, practically bouncing in line with my hand raised, “oooh, oooh, I know this one!” The cashier gives me my 10 cent discount with a smile because she knows me.
As I leave the store, I turn around and wave to the baristas, telling them to have a great day with a big smile on my face. That never happened to me at Peets or Starbucks.
What is your favorite coffee shop in the Twin Cities?