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August 15-21, 2007

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5 Things to Love

Habits of Highly Successful Cafes

By Stett Holbrook


CAFE CULTURE came late to America, and love them or hate them, Starbucks helped popularize the practice of sitting around drinking coffee all day. Starbucks aside, here's how I separate the good coffeehouses from the bad.

Free Wireless The cost of a wireless modem seems a small price for a cafe owner to pay to have people sitting around drinking coffee all day with their noses in their laptops.

Fresh Roasted Coffee Like bread, coffee beans go stale. The best cafes roast their own or get it on a regular basis from someone nearby who does.

Good Chai The best chai is made on-site because the prepackaged stuff is too sweet. This means you, Oregon Chai.

Good Music What constitutes good music is of course open to interpretation, but tuning into a blabbermouth commercial radio station or even a noncommercial but static-y one doesn't cut it. And no Kenny G–style jazz, please. When in doubt, no music at all is a perfectly acceptable alternative.

Quality Tea Not everyone comes to a coffeehouse for coffee. The best cafes brew tea with loose leaves instead of bagged.


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