the coffeeshop matrix

13 January, 2008

Once, this blog broke ground with its characterization of the “Woo Girl.” The post made quite a splash, but as is common in science, following up is harder than it looks.

Let’s explore a new idea. I’ve been working more at coffeeshops the last few months and it is time to do a rigorous comparison. By which I mean, graphs. All we need is 3 variables, and we can graph coffeeshop quality. In 3-D And color.  In 3-D color! Maybe even rotating 3-D color!! Doesn’t that thrill you? You can even pick the colors.

And all we need to make it happen is your data! In the comments, please classify DC-area coffeeshops that you know well on at least these three measures:

  • Ambience
  • Internets/work
  • Fare

We can, of course, think of many other judging criteria: we could break any of those categories down into their own three subgroups, for example. But at a minimum please at least give a 1-10 rating on the above three factors for each establishment.

Here is an example.

CRUMBS AND COFFEE: Adams Morgan, on Columbia above 18th

  • Ambience: 3. Fluorescent lighting, soft-rock music station, small, not terribly comfy chairs, fluorescent lighting, and does not make you feel all “I’m cool, I’m in a coffeshop, I have tattoos and a think tank job which lets me telecommute and I am blogging RIGHT NOW,” which another area cafe, which shall remain nameless, aims for. No, it doesn’t go for anything ambience-wise (which of course makes today’s creative class hipster feel an “I’m too cool to care about tattoos and blogging, and also, actual workmen who do actual work come in here every now and then which makes me feel like I am communing with the working class” ambience). In the plus column, smallness is such that it never really feels crowded, non-chatty counter service, large windows mitigate the lighting, and you’d be surprised how often a soft-rock-station tune will make you sing along or at least send you down memory lane.
  • Internets: 6. Great free wi-fi which is on 7 days a week, unlike another area cafe, which shall remain nameless. Outlet situation moderate to good although some serious tripwire situations can occur (yay, MacBook Pro with the magnetic power dingus). Tables and counter a bit too high and close for comfort.
  • Fare: 7. Ice cream as well as the regular array of pastry/sandwiches. Unpretentious selection but lackluster presentation. I don’t think I’ve actually had the coffee, I’m transitioning to tea…but I can report that they don’t use cereal-bowl-sized cups like another area mugs, which shall remain nameless. This is much of the reason for the high score, in fact.  I hate those mugs with the passion of, hmm, let’s say 19 suns.

Let’s hear it! Science needs YOU!

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4 Responses to “the coffeeshop matrix”

  1. Eric B Says:

    Geez, what do ya got against Tryst anyway? 😉 Besides the swimming pool coffee mugs. I saw one of those get spilled one time.

  2. cubfan63 Says:

    Don’t you think selecting which of the internets you use at a given coffee shop should be a fourth variable?

  3. techne Says:

    Eric B, really just the mugs and the service. The self-righteousness only gets to me if I am in a bad mood. Also, you are fired for not rating any cafes.

    cubfan63, sounds good to me.

  4. spoofy Says:

    Can we add a variable? (I’m not the scientist doctor-like person). If so, I’d add location. I can’t stand that my favorite coffee shops are all in Baltimore. Poo.


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