21 Coffee Shop Profiles

Years of traveling and plenty of caffeine cravings can only mean one thing: I have spent an inordinate amount of time in coffee shops. Since there are over 24,000 coffee shops in America, chances are you can relate.

But even though there are that many shops, have you noticed how the patrons almost always fit into a narrow type?  I've been keeping a mental list and figured it was time to share my not-so-scientific study of who exactly visits all of these places.  The result is 21 people you will meet on any given day when you're grabbing your beverage of choice.

1. The Gym Rat

Just finished a run?  What's better than a cup of coffee? On your way to yoga?  Grab a latte! Showers are optional and the rumors about see-through lulumom pants don't seem to bother anyone, so just swing on into your local coffee shop and share your exercise ambitions with everyone.  This habit would probably be a thing for me too if I ever actually exercised...


2. The Out-of-Towner

People at my local Starbucks practically have assigned seats until, of course, the out-of-towner shows up and sits some place they don't belong.  You can spot these people a mile away because it always takes them a second to find the milk/sugar station.


3. The Interviewers

Who decided a coffee shop is a good place for an interview?  I mean unless you're interviewing potential baristas, take your candidates out for a real meal.  One day I'll probably pop by a table and tell the interviewee they should never work for a company who won't buy them a sandwich.


Don't interview people at a coffee shop unless  you want to make a bad first impression.

4. The Preschool Parent

There's a reason coffee shops almost always sell juice boxes; the mom or dad at home needs a break too!!  I can't help but stare at every parent I see walking in with their toddler in tow.  I remember the days well and can only think, "Bless your heart."

5. The Work-from-home Employee

This crew looks suspiciously like the gym rats, except they have an ear bud implanted in the side of their head.  You can also see them cringe every time the barista grinds coffee beans. (Shhhhhhhhh!!!! Quiet please!!!)


6. The Bohemian (who is often indistinguishable from the college student)

I love the dudes (and they are usually, though not always, dudes) with the cool beanies.

Are they cold?  One Direction fans? Or just working with their thinking caps on?

Any coffee shop with this crowd makes me feel as if I am about half my age.

7. The In-betweener

When a meeting ends early, traffic is miraculously easy, or you build in too much time between appointments, what can you do EXCEPT pop in, chill and caffeinate at your favorite coffee haunts?

This is one of my most common coffee shop roles because, apparently, I am an inefficient scheduler.


8. The Ambitious Worker

How many books do you need when you go to grab a cup of joe?  Are you a speed reader? Are you doing some research?  Have you been stock-piling your junk mail?  What gives with all of the paper?

These are questions I want to ask the person who brings a miniature library whenever they fill up. (So far, I've kept my questions to myself.)

9. The Blind Date


If you're not sure you want to date, schedule coffee.

Nothing communicates "I'm not sure I want to go out with you" more than making your time together a "quick" cup of coffee.

This habit isn't nearly as bad as a coffee shop interview, because there's no reason to invite a blind date over to your house when they could be psycho, but it's decidedly non-committal and everyone knows it.

10. The Church Folk

Have you ever noticed how many people go to a coffee shop and read their Bible?  Or have you heard the spiritual conversations taking place at the table next to you?

This phenomenon isn't just an Atlanta thing...


11. The DTR Couple (Define The Relationship)

When you aren't sure if you want to cause a scene, take your relationship defining conversation to a coffee shop.

OK - maybe that's not fair.  Maybe people wander into the intense conversation after they show up for a tea.

Still, I can't imagine it will go well.  See previous notes on interviews.

12. The Sketcher

I think the smell of ground coffee brings out the artist in people.  Why else do I see so many sketch pads in coffee shops?  Thanks for reminding me I can't even draw a semi-decent circle.

13. The Old Couple


Nothing makes me happier than seeing Carl & Ellie Fredricksen (from UP) at our local Starbucks.  Seriously, they are dead ringers for the animated characters.  They always sit in the same spot (unless an out-of-towner shows up) and order their drinks in the ceramic cups.

So cute!!  I want to be their friend and travel with them to Peru.

14. The Dude With The Newspaper

Speaking of old, there always seems to be at least one person who is reading the paper in the coffee shop. Who actually consumes news on printed paper when it's already out-of-date?

Any coffee shop with newpaper-reading clientele is usually missing the Bohemian element.

15. The Bloggers

Not everyone at a coffee shop is a blogger, but if you blog, you definitely do a bunch of your writing at the window seat in your java joint.  It's part of the job description.


16. The Students

You can always tell who got Starbucks gift cards in their stockings over Christmas, because these kids flood Starbucks and order blended shakes frappacinos for the entire month of January. I am secretly jealous of their metabolism.

17. The Parent/Child Date


Someone at home needs a break, so one parent takes the kids out for a treat.  This appears to make everyone happy, especially if there's a dog involved.  Which brings us to #18...


18. The Dog Walker

Any establishment with outdoor seating is practically begging people to show up with their dog.  Why do you think everyone loves Paris?  It's not just about chocolate crepes, it's about the dogs that come along to the cafes.

19. The Girlfriends

OMMMMMGGGGG!  You look SO great!!!  I kinda wonder if the beauty parlors in the 50's were like coffee shops today with a buzz of girlfriends catching up.  The buzz can be deafening, but these reunions are nothing if not entertaining hug fests!!

20. The Loud Talkers

Speaking of deafening noise, why is there ALWAYS a loud talker in the mix?  Ambient noise of coffee grinders and espresso machines easily fade away, but the guy on the cell phone screaming to be heard is just ridiculous.  Alas, these people are ubiquitous.


21. The Commuters

Finally, there are the people who just want to make it through their commute without either falling asleep or slipping into road rage.  These are real reason coffee houses exist, as a public safety concern.  I don't think America could spiral out of control should anything happen to their morning caffeine injection.

Lucky for them, and for everyone on this list, it seems this coffee house thing is gonna stick!

(A side note: kudos to the person who invented the splash stick!  It's one of my favorite inventions!!)

Now, which profiles did I miss?