This week I am taking you to my downtown's famous coffee shop, J.P.'s
If you don't believe that they are famous, read this article.
I avoid coming here only because it is always so busy. When most downtowns around the country are in decline or slowly fighting their way back from the brink of abandonment. Our downtown is thriving and has been thriving since the early 1990's. Our thriving can be contributed to a local business man with an amazing vision and a fair amount of money to implement that vision. Unfortunately, this man was lost too early in his life to a fatal heart attack. Fortunately for our downtown, by the time that happened he had all the right people in place and his wife carried on his vision.
I arrived at the coffee shop at half past nine.
I knew the trickiest part of the whole adventure was going to be finding a table. I spied a small two seater mushed up against the wall amidst the main mass of people. I quickly made a bee line for the table and plunked my bag down on the table, not bothering to unpack anything. I grabbed my wallet from my bag and scooted into line since there was only one person ahead of me.
The barista that took my order had the best raspy voice I have heard outside of the singing competition show The Voice. I ordered a cinnamon twist. A step out from my usual muffin or scone. Though I did not deviate from my usual Chai Latte. Each coffee shop has a slightly different taste to their Chai's. This one was very creamy, not as sweet, but sweet enough.
As I waited at the end of the counter for my Chai, the booth right across from the counter was being vacated by a lone lady. I scurried back to my original table, scooped up my bag, thanking my good foresight for not having unpacked. In the blink of an eye I had claimed a prime location booth. This time unpacking my books, journal and pencils and spreading out as I waited for my Chai.
I am always amazed that so many people have nothing else to do on weekday morning that meet and hang out at a coffee shop. Although to be fair, a lot of the crowd in this coffee shop is made up of college students, the campus is only a block away. They are probably killing time before or between classes, or maybe meeting for a study group.
My attention was drawn to a lady picking up her drink at the end of the counter. It must have been her first time here. She said to the barista "Is it always busy like this?" The barista, a young college girl, said "Yes, especially in the morning. This is the busiest coffee shop I have ever been to."
There were definitely regulars here just like at my usual coffee shop. Miss Raspy greeted many customers by name and she knew many by sight and just said to them "remind me of your name again". I love that she asked each person if they wanted their drink in a glass cup or in a to-go cup. I prefer the to-go cup, it may not be as pretty but it keeps my drink hot longer. Then I don't feel as rushed to drink it. Miss Raspy called everybody "Hon" as she finished taking their order. A trait that I usually find annoying but from her it seemed endearing.
They run this coffee shop like a well oiled machine. Even though it was constantly busy, the wait to pick up drinks was never very long. I know that J.P.'s runs an amazing Barista School, and from what I saw in action while I was there, I would say if you make it through the school you will be an amazing barista.
I would highly recommend a visit to J.P.'s if you are ever in Holland. It is an experience not to be missed.
Next week's edition will be a travel edition since I will be leaving mid-week for Marquette to help college daughter pack up the end of another school year.
Until next week...