You know the routine: the sun is rising, your workday is soon to begin, and it’s time for coffee. It’s your second cup of the day, assuming you gulped down your first one at home or on your way to work. But then the big question: who will make it?
The one who stands up now and asks the big question has already been voted for colleague of the day, maybe even month. We see this specific situation at stores or offices. Not only at work but in many places, coffee connects us and ensures an amazing atmosphere.
There are a lot of examples where coffee is the connection between people. Think about the coffee stands at school, machines at work, or cafes with a nice terrace.
“At the coffee stand you meet new people, have a chat, and you forget your problems,” explains Amarens de Lange (57). She has experienced the power of coffee to connect new people in the best way possible. “In 1991 I started my new job in Amsterdam. Here I met a man who worked at the same department as me. Every workday we started the day off with a cup of coffee at 8.30.”
Besides workplace connections, there are countless other ways that coffee can bring people together. Even during the challenging time of Covid-19, coffee was the driving force behind a beautiful friendship. Nikki Schaap (20), a student of creative writing at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, recalls one such occasion. “I met someone during the first year of my study. Online classes made me believe we would never become close friends, although she was in the same project group as me.” Nikki said that they both felt a connection, but Covid threw a spanner in the works. “I am so happy we decided to drink a cup of coffee that year.”
Nikki remembers as if it were yesterday: “we started to call more and more, which ensured a closer connection.” Everything fell into place when the friends were placed in the same in-person class the following year. The Covid quarantine was over and the two saw each other every day, eventually making plans and sharing great times together. “Due to our coffee meetings, our bond became really strong. A friendship of which I never had thought would happen. Drinking coffee gives us a break and makes our problems go away for a little while. I started to enjoy the things I do have more and more, because we forget about the pressure in life, and we truly relax.”
Cafes are becoming a very popular meeting place for people. For some, like Nikki, they are places to enjoy quality time with friends, “but you also see more and more business people here. Either an appointment between two people, or – a trend you see a lot nowadays – solos working on their computer,” says a worker at Five Ways Coffee Roaster, a cafe located on Boerhaaveplein, close to Wibautstraat in Amsterdam East. “We see a lot of students who come here to work, which is understandable seeing our location. We believe coffee is a connector, that is why we decided to not allow computers on the weekend. We don’t want the meaning of a coffee store to go away, because the romance of a coffee bar is the togetherness.”
Amarens reminisces about her early morning coffee chats with a coworker all those years ago. “I was 27 when I started my new job,” recalls Amarens. “The company was a big ICT enterprise, so the pressure was high. I was lucky to meet Nico (29 at the time). He was in the same boat as I was. We clicked with each other because we both were new at the company.”
The couple began with a cup of coffee every day. At the coffee machine, they shared stories about everything from family to history. Amarens recalls how Nico helped her through tough times. “There was a period where I was not feeling great. For a couple of months, I shared everything with him. Because my grandfather was lying on his deathbed, I needed someone to talk to and he really was an outlet for me.” Now, 30 years later they have been married for 25 years and share two children. “Who would have believed that all of this would happen after a casual encounter. Nowadays we still start off the day by drinking a cup together. Coffee, I can’t live a day without.”