I enjoy my coffee, especially mid-afternoon with a nice sweet snack. I'm enjoying a cup as we speak with a chocolate bar. Right after a work out. It's all about balance. :)
Coffee is a huge part of culture in Canada. It's plain by coffee shops called "Coffee Culture" and the numerous Tim Hortons locations found in almost every town and city. People need their daily dose of caffeine. It seems Starbucks in huge in the US, but here it seems Timmies rules. The closest Starbucks is like 45 minutes away, and thus I've only visited once.
Having said that, I must say I don't visit coffee shops very frequently. Usually no more than once a week, and then it's normally a Tim Hortons. I also don't go for the specialty coffees either cause I can hardly justify paying $4 or $5 for a drink. It can run a lot of money out of your pocket, a little bit at a time. I used to work in a coffee shop and it's actually kind of sad how much money people can come in and spend in a day on coffee. Somehow it has become a very acceptable addiction and people rarely speak of the money spent on it.
I do like visiting different places on occasion though. There is a new small one that opened up in our town last year called The Perc and I've been there a couple times. I wish I went there more often simply to support the good cause. What's so special about it? For one, they sell organic fair trade coffee, so I can thereby support smaller coffee growers who need the money more than the big guys. Places like Tim Hortons will not disclose where they get their beans. Also, this coffee shop offers employment opportunities to youth who are facing employment challenges. They even use 100% compostable cups, so it's even environmentally friendly (if you do compost them.) Their coffee is good and I can drink it feeling like I'm supporting a good cause. These kinds of small businesses need more public support than they get.
Last week, I visited Cravings and I enjoyed that experience as well, which also serves fair trade coffee. They have a great menu of drinks, light lunches, baked goods and chocolates. I could go crazy in there, like a kid in a candy store. The atmosphere is cozy and homey and there's cute giftware displayed for sale. You have to be willing to pay a little more at places like this, and I suppose that's why I don't go to them frequently, but they are nice.
So, if you like coffee, go out of your way if necessary once in awhile to support a smaller place that is actually doing some good. And as for a side note, the first time I visited one of the above places, I was in a hurry, running late for work, very distracted and nearly walked out without paying. If you're considering stealing, I advise you not to try it. Chances are you'll get caught before you get to the door. Embarrassing!