Tuesday Morning at Starbucks

My Favorite Coffee House

Coming Here to Write

Howdy yall. It is Tuesday morning, November 28, 2017. I’m sitting at my favorite table at the Starbucks at 2201 Preston Road in Plano, Texas. Located next to the Barnes and Nobles Bookstore, I’ve been coming here to write in the morning for years.

I wake up every morning just before 5:00 AM. I do the personal hygiene stuff, dress, and drive the ten miles from my cookie-cutter suburban house to my favorite coffee dispensary. I usually arrive between their opening at 6 AM and 6:30 AM. I have a cup of their blonde roast or Pike’s Place coffee most days.

Why This Coffee House?

I know what you are thinking. Why this coffee house?

The bottom line is I like it. It is small, does not have a drive-through, has excellent customer service, and doesn’t get upset if I take up my table for 3 to 5 hours.

When I started stopping at this Starbucks, my motivation was two-fold. First was the location. It is located about halfway between my home and my now retired from the day job. Second, my goal was to write for 60 to 90 minutes before continuing my trek on to the day job. You see, I am a writer.

Give the Best Part of My Day to Writing

Over the years I was able to write a book every 9 to 12 months in this coffee house. I would give the best part of the day to my writing. Because of my regular attendance “the muse” knew when and where to find me. I started this near-daily routine when I was in my late 40s. Now in my mid-sixties and retired from the day job I return each morning to the same table.

I’ve also encountered a half-dozen store managers, over a hundred baristas, and learned there is a core group of regulars. A running club meets here every Tuesday and Friday morning. They arrive about ten minutes until 6 AM. At 6 AM sharp they start their morning run. It is a group of 12 to 15 with ages spanning from the thirties to the early seventies. They run for an hour and then have coffee and fellowship. I can call by name more than 50 regular patrons of this Starbucks. Most days you can set your clock by the time they arrive to get their daily caffeine.

Solving the Problems of the World

I write first drafts of books, blog posts, magazine articles, short stories, and poetry while ingesting my daily two cups of caffeine.

After writing I often solve the problems of the world in discussions with some of the men and women. I have built relationships with people. From time to time some of the people have called, texted, or shared spiritual needs with me. I have prayed with some of the patrons before their surgeries or when they are hurting from family relationship issues.

A Christian Worldview

I am a Christian and see things through a Christian worldview that many don’t have. I have been allowed to share my Christian testimony many of these same people.

No, I am not a perfect, in your face Bible thumper. I am far from it. Too often I am a hypocrite and fail in following God’s principles. I just get up each day, confess my sin and try again.

What Do I Write?

What do I write? I write religious nonfiction and religious science fiction. I also write historical/literary fiction under a pen name.

Most mornings after writing I either head to the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve or The Shops at Willow Bend shopping mall and walk for 45 minutes to an hour. Afternoons find me doing the business of writing with marketing, editing, etc.

 

The Coffeehouse Culture

Are you part of the coffee house culture? I confess I am.

What Is The Coffeehouse Culture?

The coffeehouse culture describes a friendly environment of associated common practices that depend upon coffee. Coffee is used as a social lubricant much as alcohol is in a bar or pub setting.

Coffeehouse culture also relates to the dispersion and choosing of coffee as a broadly consumed stimulant by society. In the late 20th and early 21st century, particularly in the Western world and urbanized cities around the globe. Espresso has become a more favored form.

Formation of Culture Around a Coffeehouse

I am a historian and religious educator by university and seminary education. With my classical liberal arts education, I developed an inquisitive mind. My curiosity had me research coffeehouses. I found the formation of the culture around coffee and coffeehouses dates back to 14th century Turkey. Coffeehouses in Western Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean were traditionally social hubs, as well as artistic and intellectual centers.

Examples of famous coffee houses include Les Deux Magots in Paris. Now a popular tourist attraction, it was once associated with the intellectuals Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. In the late 17th and 18th centuries, coffeehouses in London became favorite meeting places for artists, writers, and socialites. They were also the center for much political and commercial activity.

In the United States, the New Orleans French Market tourist destination Café du Monde which is as famous for its powdered-sugar-coated beignets as it is for its chickory-flavored coffee., according to the popular social check-in app Foursquare, is the most popular coffeehouse in the Americas.

Coffeehouses Today

Elements of today’s coffee houses, the slower paced gourmet service, tastefully decorated environments, or social outlets such as open microphone nights, have their origins in early coffee houses and continue to form part of the concept of coffee house culture.

In the United States, the term is often used to designate the everywhere presence of hundreds of espresso stands and coffee shops in the Seattle metropolitan area and the spread of franchises of businesses such as Starbucks and their clones across the United States.

Other aspects of the coffeehouse culture include the presence of free wireless Internet access for customers, many of these patrons do business in these locations for hours on a regular basis. The patrons of the coffeehouse usually do one of three things. They either are on Wi-Fi surfing the Internet with their smartphone or computer, are meeting with a business client or friends, or are reading. The location is popular for meeting someone for the first time, especially when dating is being considered.

Some countries, like Australia, have a strong existing cafe style coffee culture. The strong cafe style coffee culture explains the poor performance of Starbucks there.

Yes, I am part of the coffeehouse culture? Are you?

I would love you to leave in the comments section the name of and info about your favorite coffeehouse.

Source: Some material adapted from Wikipedia

Photo: Starbucks,  1356 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica, California, USA

 

Back to Writing

my starbucks - Edited

Back to Writing

Today is Sunday, August 13, 2017. I am enjoying a Sunday morning tall iced coffee with vanilla and cream at my favorite coffee house as I resume morning writing after a four-day break due to a cardiac catheterization.

Cardiac Catheterization

Amazing how you can’t type or use a computer when they access your heart through the artery/vein in your right wrist. They run a little tub up through the wrist, arm, through the shoulder and down to the heart. Then they run a second long thin tube called a catheter through the first straw like tube. In my case, it was inserted into an artery/vein in my wrist threaded through my blood vessels to my heart.  My test included a coronary angiogram, which checks the coronary arteries, though they are not part of every cardiac catheterization. The purpose of the cardiac catheterization was to check blood flow in the coronary arteries. It looked for blockages. This is pretty cool stuff.

Stretch Run

I’m writing for an hour this morning before going to church and Bible fellowship class. I return to the day job tomorrow morning.

I am on the stretch run with my retirement from the day job just two weeks from this Thursday. Then I transition to writing full-time. I’ll be writing about the transition in the days ahead. Why not join me in my adventure?

Photo source: Original photo taken by Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Estes Park, Colorado

Today’s coffee-house photos are of the Starbucks in Estes Park, Colorado. It has two entrances. One is off the main highway that goes through town. The other is off the Big Thompson River and the river walk. It is one of my favorite Starbucks location. I’ve had coffee there at least a dozen times. I visit each time I attend the writer’s conference in Estes Park. They have great WiFi with tremendous bandwidth.

estes-park-co


Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a military brat. In his youth, he worked in a grocery store, warehouse, sold soft drinks at a major league baseball stadium, and as a folk-rock band as a rhythm guitar player. He has enough college degrees to cover a wall and even served his country in the US Army. Working in IT has paid the bills the last two decades. He’s been freelancing since Ronald Reagan was president. He’s even won an award for short story writing. Google his name. You’ll find his work and can buy a few novels with his name on the book’s spine. He lives with his cat and cancer-battling wife in north Texas.

Black Eye Cap Hill, Denver, Colorado

denver-black-eye-coffee-shop-01Black Eye Cap Hill is one of my favorite shops in Denver and the USA. You take one part of just plain cool add inviting and then a seriousness about coffee, and you have the Black Eye Cap Hill. It is unique.

The furnishings, character, and atmosphere were enough to make me glad I was there. It has a dreamlike air about it. I could imagine it used as a movie set or backdrop. It just felt cool to pull up to a table, take out my laptop, and write. It has the feel of a world-class coffee shop that changes into a gorgeous bar at night.

A strange twist about the coffee house is the bathrooms have audio books playing in them. In a weird kind of way, that’s rather cool.

The coffee was great. If your hungry or just need a snack The Black Eye offers a delight menu that is moderately priced.

The next time I’m in Denver, I’ll be back. The coffee was great, the service above average, and the atmosphere world-class.


Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a novelist, poet, book reviewer, award-winning short story writer, and coffee house aficionado. His work has appeared in over twenty venues, including Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination, The Dead Mule School for Southern Literature, Poetry & Prose Magazine, and vox poetica. When not writing each morning at his favorite coffee house, he supports his literary habit working as an IT application support engineer. He is a former Captain in the US Army. Kepler’s Military History Book Reviews was named a 100 best blogs for history buffs.


Starbucks, 356 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica, California

1356-third-street-promenade-santa-monica-ca

The picture is of the Starbucks at 1356 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica, CA 9040. It is one of my all-time favorite locations. I was easily two to three times as old as the core group of local patrons.

Starbucks Santa Monica CAI used to hang out there after work and write when I worked for a Los Angeles based software company. They opened at 5 AM and stayed open to midnight during the week and to 1 AM on weekends.

Their WiFi is the fastest I have ever encountered. I think everyone in the coffee house could stream Netflix at the same time and have perfect picture and sound quality.

o-3The patrons were young, diverse, eclectic, and by the time I visited a third time, very accepting of me.

The management at this location allowed street musicians outside. This location was always crazy busy and wonderful. The Pacific Ocean was a short five-minute walk from this Starbucks, even in the never-ending crowd of tourists. If ever in Santa Monica, California this is a must location for coffee.

If you click on the photos, you can see the full-sized picture.


Jimmie Aaron Kepler 8/2016Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a novelist, poet, book reviewer, and award-winning short story writer. His work has appeared in over twenty venues, including Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination, Poetry & Prose Magazine, and vox poetica. When not writing each morning at his favorite coffee house, he supports his writing, reading, and book reviewing habit working as an IT application support engineer. He is a former Captain in the US Army. His blog Kepler’s Book Reviews was named a 100 best blogs for history buffs. You can learn more about him at Kepler’s Coffee House.

Starbucks at Canal Street and St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans

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Today’s pictures show there’s a little magic brewing at the corner of Canal Street and St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. Starbucks recently opened a new store in the historic French Quarter.

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It is inspired by the city’s rich history as a coffee trading port and its unique artistic spirit. The store is the latest example of Starbucks ongoing approach to creating locally relevant designs that honor the culture of the neighborhoods they serve.

 

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This location looks like a writer’s paradise.

new-orleans-starbucks


Jimmie Aaron KeplerJimmie Aaron Kepler is a novelist, poet, book reviewer, and award-winning short story writer. His work has appeared in over twenty venues, including Bewildering Stories and Beyond Imagination. When not writing each morning at his favorite coffee house, he supports his writing, reading, and book reviewing habit working as an IT application support engineer. He is a former Captain in the US Army. He holds BA, MA, MRE and EdD degrees. His blog Kepler’s Book Reviews was named a 100 best blogs for history buffs. He is the author of seven books and collections available on Amazon. You can visit him at http://www.jimmiekepler.com.

Bolsa Mercado, Oak Cliff, Dallas, Texas

bolsa-mercado-2Today’s Coffee House is the Bolsa Mercado. Located in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas, Texas at 634 W. Davis Street, it is one of the best coffee houses in the Dallas and the USA. If you like economical, casual, and want to bring your dog, it’s the place for you. It also offers some amazing breakfast tacos if you get there before 11:00 AM.

If you carry your laptop with you for writing or work as I do, the Bolsa Mercado offers plenty of workspaces, couches, tables, and patio seating. This is the Oak Cliff community coffee shop. If you live in this part of Dallas you will likely meet friends and acquaintances at The Bolsa Mercado. If you know someone from Oak Cliff, you may very well run into them here.

bolsa-mercado-1The menu includes gigantic macaroons, wonderful salads to go, outstanding sandwiches for lunch and even carry out meals ready. If you want a cup of black coffee, a shot of espresso or a cappuccino they have it. The Bolsa Mercado has no weaknesses. The prices are fair, the employees caring and upbeat, and the service world-class.

 

Howard Hughes Center in Los Angeles

The photo is of the Starbucks at The Promenade at Howard Hughes Center in Los Angeles. I used to work across the street from it. I at my evening meal there almost every day. It was across the street from my day job and a five-minute walk from where I lived when working in Los Angeles. Living a five-minute walk from work was good in LA.

the-promenade-at-howard-hughes-center


Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a novelist, poet, book reviewer, and award-winning short story writer. His work has appeared in over twenty venues, including Bewildering Stories and Beyond Imagination. When not writing each morning at his favorite coffeehouse, he supports his writing, reading, and book reviewing habit working as an IT application support analyst. He is a former Captain in the US Army. His blog Kepler’s Book Reviews was named a 100 best blogs for history buffs. Kepler has a Bachelor of Arts in history with English and military science minors. He also earned Master of Religious Education, Master of Arts and Doctor of Education degrees. You can also visit him at Kepler’s Book Reviews.

Estes Park, Colorado

Today’s coffee-house photo is of the Starbucks in Estes Park, Colorado. It has two entrances. One is off the main highway that goes through town. The other is off the Big Thompson River and the river walk. It is one of my favorite Starbucks location. I’ve had coffee there at least a dozen times. I visit each time I attend the writer’s conference in Estes Park. They have great Wi-fi with tremendous bandwidth.

estes-park-co


Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a novelist, poet, book reviewer, and award-winning short story writer. His work has appeared in over twenty venues, including Bewildering Stories and Beyond Imagination. When not writing each morning at his favorite coffeehouse, he supports his writing, reading, and book reviewing habit working as an IT application support analyst. He is a former Captain in the US Army. His blog Kepler’s Book Reviews was named a 100 best blogs for history buffs. Kepler has a Bachelor of Arts in history with English and military science minors. He also earned Master of Religious Education, Master of Arts and Doctor of Education degrees. You can also visit him at Kepler’s Book Reviews.