I like coffee.

Well, no Earth-shaking revelation, that one. I’m one of billions on that score. Coffee is a huge enterprise, spanning the planet. It’s ubiquitous and universal. Coffee is a legally addictive substance that is praised by anyone who ever needed to perk up for a test, a late-night drive, or Monday morning at the office. So yeah, I’m not alone in liking the stuff.

But I really like coffee.

It’s not just the deliciousness of a dark roast, or the slight buzz of caffeine. There’s more to it than that. When I say I like coffee, I mean that I like the culture of coffee. I like the world that coffee opens up for me. I like being in what Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz refers to in his book “Pour Your Heart Into It” as “the third place.” I like the idea of “affordable luxury,” where a guy who makes ten bucks an hour can stand in line with a multi-millionaire, and both order the same drink.

I have always loved Starbucks, in much the same way I love Google. Yes, they’re big corporations. Yes, they have their enemies, who believe them to be “evil.” But both of these companies share a certain aesthetic, or a certain vibe. They both present me with something meant to make me the center of my own life. You get that? At Starbucks, I’m the customer who gets the drink he wants, and exactly the way he wants it. With Google I’m the user who gets the benefit of free software and resources, all developed with my needs in mind.

Still … coffee. I just like it.

Locally, there’s a franchise coffee shop called “Dunn Bros.” This is the kind of place where you can go in for a breakfast taco and a non-fat latte in the morning, then drop in for a glass of wine or a beer after work. You can read, play games, do some writing, and buy some irreverent greeting cards. You can read acerbic “warnings” about sulfites in your wine that make you want to cheer for the pure sanity of it.

I don’t know if every Dunn Bros. franchise is like the one here in Houston (Weslayan near Richmond). But the one I frequent seems tailored just to my tastes. As “third places” go, it’s the thirdiest. And the placiest. My kinda coffee bar.

So the point of all this is, I’d really like a latte right now. And I’m thinking of swinging by Dunn Bros. And you should to. Because this is a free plug, in a blatant attempt to get free coffee from the management.


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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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