The sound of grinding beans, footsteps, a splash of water, the tearing off of paper tissue from a roll, porcelain clinks and metallic chinks, scraping spoons, puffs of steam.
Staff chat to each other informatively – pieces of data they need to know, such as the locations of utensils, the prices of goods, and confirmations of payment.
The music is folksy now, rather than jazzy. It’s always gentle – soft voices, plucked guitars and minor chords. They denote the pleasant melancholy of lost time.
The soft seat on which my soft buttocks are perched is a bench along one wall. Customers sit here, staring at their phones and the moral effect seems to be of a waiting room. But waiting for what? A bit more resolution, perhaps. After all, hanging out in coffee shops is an occupation for those with time on their hands.
Opposite me sit dozens of models of coffee machines. Most are chrome; some are black. Nozzles and handles are prominent. So many ways to grind beans, boil water and steam milk. Above them, boxes of tea, bags of beans and sweet syrups.
These sounds and sights are identical each time, along with the bittersweet smoothness of the coffee. It’s comforting above all; a womb compared to the dust, smell, stares and heat or cold of the street outside.
All of this has been duly recorded. What will be next?