Through their picture windows, the café is one of the best places to watch the world go by. Whether it’s with a newspaper, a book, a laptop or a friend, for work or just for breakfast, there are many people whose morning or weekend routine is made complete by a trip to the local coffee shop. For me, the café – any café, really – is the ideal place to get out of the house and stave off the shameful monsters of writer’s block, they that seem to save their worst assaults for the four walls of home.
A few years ago, when I was traveling while writing a book, searching for the ideal café became something of a habit in every city. It was hard to find a place to sit in Italy, where customers would line the bars, down their espressos and leave, and much the same was true in Belgium where it was easier to have a beer at 10 AM than to find a café to idle in. Fortunately, in the area of Mitte in Berlin, Germany, the cafes go on block after block, all aiming for the perfect cup, the newest trend, the ideal setting for a certain kind of person.