Red Lights, photos of the cafes of Paris by Blaise Arnold

Monday, 2 May, 2016

Photo by Blaise Arnold

Red Lights, a collection of photos taken by Blaise Arnold, of cafes in and around Paris. Is it just me, or do some of these coffee houses look familiar? I’m sure I’ve seen a few of these places in films set in Paris.

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Seoul is reaching peak cafe, is Sydney next?

Thursday, 7 April, 2016

Coffee shop owners in Seoul are beginning to feel the pinch as more and more competitors open for business, putting a squeeze on earnings and margins:

But now the market is getting even more crowded, as convenience stores such as 7-Eleven offer 1,000 won (87 cents) cups, and smaller players are feeling the heat. “We declared an emergency situation, gathered all employees eight times to debate strategies,” Moon Chang-ki, CEO of mid-priced coffee chain Ediya, the country’s largest operator by location with about 1,800 stores, told reporters recently. “If we sell at that price, our store owners won’t earn any margins.”

I sometimes wonder if this will happen in a place like Sydney. You can walk along the main streets of some suburbs and almost every other shop is, it seems, a cafe.

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Peel, pucker, pinch, or puncture, your preferred coffee cup lid is?

Monday, 2 February, 2015

People not only collect the lids of takeaway coffee cups, well, I’m pretty someone, somewhere, probably does, they also study them, that’s something known as visual literacy, being the taking of an interest in the design of all the objects, no matter how insignificant, around you.

(Thanks Chloe)

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Can you take the McDonalds-ness of a McCafe? Possibly…

Monday, 26 January, 2015

A sign of things to come? A McCafe, in the Sydney suburb of Camperdown, has shrugged off its McDonalds-ness by way of a very contemporary makeover, in a possible attempt to attract a more hip, hipster, crowd.

Late in December the McCafe next to Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital changed its name to The Corner, removed all the Golden Arches and started selling kale salads and tofu. It’s Macca’s response to consumer demand for healthier food and quality coffee and it’s the first of its kind in the world.

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London’s cereal cafe, where breakfast cereal is served all day

Tuesday, 13 January, 2015

Photo by Cereal Killer Cafe

Located a mere fraction outside of the City of London, at 139 Brick Lane, the Cereal Killer Cafe is a dining establishment that only serves breakfast cereal. The only such place in the UK apparently. How about the world?

Check out their Instagram page for more photos

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An Instagrammer’s delight? A coffee shop that resembles a camera

Wednesday, 9 April, 2014

Rolleiflex camera like cafe

Are coffee and photography synonymous? They certainly are at this South Korean cafe whose design resembles a rolleiflex camera.

Via PetaPixel.

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Filter coffee, no matter how strong, is still mostly water

Wednesday, 10 July, 2013

Filter coffee, which has seemingly been making a comeback for some years, consists of 98 percent water, or so we are told. Even if the coffee content of a filter cuppa is just two percent, it is doubtless still enough to induce caffeine shakes if consumed in excess quantity.

And if you’re looking for that something to give your coffee a little extra… zing, try adding some butter. Yes, it seems adding butter to coffee will give you an energy boost. For this to be possible though you need the “right” coffee, and the butter must be of the grass fed variety.

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If baristas could talk, behold the stories they could tell

Friday, 5 July, 2013

When I’m able to sufficiently organise myself, I like to, now and again, go along to a cafe first thing in the morning. Not only am I able set up for the work day ahead, and bring myself up to speed with the latest news, there’s of course the opportunity to down a couple of coffees while also taking in a little people watching.

But sitting there behind my laptop, likely from the quietest corner I can find, I’m only ever seeing the pictures but not the sounds, as it were. That’s not the case for the baristas though, who in some cases, are almost fully versed in the happenings of their customers’ lives.

“Sometimes being a barista is like being an underpaid therapist,” says Roth. “I find what people will tell you just because you’re behind the counter to be strange. I know how many kids people have, what their grades are, where they go to school, I know about people getting divorced and people going on dates. People will pretty much tell you anything – especially if you ask.”

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Is it time to change the old “keep the change” refrain?

Wednesday, 3 July, 2013

The more I think about it, the more bizarre the practice of tipping becomes. While we might offer gratuities to a variety of people, waiting and hotel staff are probably the most frequent recipients thereof.

But why not build enough margin into the prices that cafes, bars, and hotels charge, so they can pay their staff a decent wage, one that doesn’t rely on hand-outs, or the generosity, or otherwise, of customers?

Tip confusion is understandable, because it’s not the way we choose to compensate most of our other people-facing professions. Imagine if when you went to the doctor, you decided how much he got paid based on how happy you were with the diagnosis; or if actors and musicians were paid discretionary sums by the audience, post-performance. Even within the context of the restaurant, some roles receive salaries and others rely on tips. Why do I tip the bartender who made my Manhattan, but not the line cook who grilled the excellent steak I’m eating with it? It’s completely arbitrary. Servers, whose job demands are not fundamentally different than that of hard-working office assistants, or hotel concierges, or spin instructors, or flight attendants, should be paid the competitive wage for what they do and how well they do it, and that cost should be factored into menu prices.

I pay enough for the privilege of staying in mid to upper range hotels, so I can’t see how they’d be struggling to pay their workers properly. I’m wondering if we’d really notice paying a little extra at cafes and bars though, so employees weren’t reliant on tips to make a living.

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The pay by the minute, not the coffee, cafe

Monday, 10 June, 2013

A cafe that charges for the time spent therein, rather than the amount of coffee consumed, is, needless to say, an idea I could get into.

Customers are charged €0.05 per minute, amounting to €3.00 an hour. When they come in the door, Volkova gives them a wristband with the time marked on it. When they leave they hand it back and their bill is calculated to the minute. The concept of time is turned on its head, with several clocks purposely showing different times. The intention is for people to forget about time and focus on those around them. “It’s easier – and cheaper – to meet people here than in a bar, where you have to buy expensive drinks,” Volkova said. Customers are allowed to have as much coffee as they want, and they can even bring their own food. The entire space is supposed to feel like a living room, with books, board games and slippers provided.

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