The Loudness of Coffee Shops

The coffee shop was already loud. The walls, floor, and ceiling of the Caribou are all made of sound-bouncy materials. The equipment behind the counter is loud to begin with and is not muffled by any structure. The barista has developed the typical barista habit of banging shit on other shit as loud as he can and as often as he can.

Saturday is Reposted Essay Day!

Then in walked the big loud highly annoying Christians from the local seminary….


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…I am sitting at the far south end of the coffee shop where it is dark, and they are sitting at the absolute other end of the coffee ship, by the windows. I can hear every word they say. It is essentially a business meeting between people running a public outreach program for a local seminary to celebrate their “year of the priest.” There are people who are on board with this and people who are not, I’ve got their names and their positions on these various issues, and know enough about them that I could probably call the HR office at this seminary and get a few people fired for HIPAA violations. They are loud enough hat the incessant banging of coffee and espresso making devices by the barista is a mere background much like the “soft brush drum” percussion button on the Hammond organ.

The whole loud coffee shop issue is a problem and I want you to join me in fixing it. You know what I am talking about. Just now, one of the people who works here was adjusting the muffins in the “bakery” section. It involved banging. Why. Are. You. Banging. The. Muffins????? When coffee drinks are being made there are very loud noises of grinders, steamer, and whatever. In between coffee drinks being made, the barista, who is a six foot four big guy with a tiny little beard (and he is a nice fellow) saunters back and forth behind the counter banging shit on other shit. Never mind the sirens going by outside (Autumn? Is that you?) and the screaming kids, which is somewhat more normal and expected.

But it does not have to be this way. I promise you that this is true.

The other day, I was at T-1 Rebuild. T-1 Rebuild is the newest, largest Target store in the region. It is the location of T-1, the very first Target, and recently, it was leveled and replaced with an entirely new Target. It is the biggest and bestest Target ever. There is a coffee shop in that Target (a commercial variety, I can’t remember if it is a Starbucks or what). I have noticed that that Target’s coffee shop is totally quiet. Try it. If you live near T-1 Rebuild, to over there and get an espresso drink that involves steamed milk. You will barely hear them make it. Sit down and have your drink while someone else orders a drink. The barista will clean out the machines and NOT bang shit on other shit while doing so.

Somewhere up the line, at Target Central, it was determined that the coffee shop in Target would be quit. So the memo went down the line.

To: Manger of Coffee Shop in Target
Re: Noise

Don’t be noisy.

The Management

And that was all it took. The coffee shop has quiet equipment which is somewhat noise-shielded form the public area. The baristas are instructed to not bang shit on other shit. There is very little noise and no annoyance.

Ditto the coffee shop at the book store nearest here. We were over there the other day getting a baby naming book, and I went over to check it out. I pretended to browse through the magazines as I watched people order coffee drinks.

The machines were relatively quit, and relativity noise shielded, and the barista was not banging shit on other shit at all.

It can be done, people. A coffee shop does not have to be a shop of horrors when it comes to loud noise. I know that one off the counter arguments to what I am saying is that the quiet coffee shops to which I refer have automatic espresso machines, and thus don’t make the banging and grinding noise. I do not care. This is not important to me. I am an archaeologist. I know all about banging shit on shit. It can be done loudly, it can be done with reckless abandon. The procedure can be adjusted so metal is banged on a sound absorbing substance so it is only half as loud. You don’t have to bang shit when you are adjusting the muffins. Muffin adjusting can be done in virtual silence, as a matter of fact.

The Big Loud Christians on the other end of the room are of course an entirely different problem. Maybe a little humility would help there.

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4 thoughts on “The Loudness of Coffee Shops

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more. Enjoying a fine cup in a cafe should be an experience or more specifically a pleasurable and comforting experience. Thanks for articulating what many feel.

  2. ah yes. i’m wondering if some people just want noise. maybe they feel it justifies their existence. hopefully my research will shed a bit of light..

  3. Honestly, I think the noise of a coffee shop can be just the right level of distraction at times, when I’m working on something that requires throttling my intensity of thought. But the banging and the screaming of the children …

    ( … my nearest coffee shop is infiltrated by dozens of middle school students in the afternoon and it can get pretty bad.)

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