I don’t have a coffee machine at home. There’s nothing stopping me – I could if I wanted to, and I don’t particularly object to them. It’s just never worked for me. If we’re going to imbibe, we visit the café.
Recently, while away from home, I went to my preferred holiday outlet. The staff had changed (post-Covid, of course). While perfectly functional, they were not into that apparently elusive menu item called hospitality. While the coffee was still excellent, there was something missing.
It made me wonder why I have coffee at all. Perhaps I carry a caffeine addiction – that is not uncommon – but I suspect there’s more to it than that. Why do I always go to the same place where they know my name, my order and, often, where I tend to sit? Why do I feel so chuffed at getting a hug from one of the baristas after being away for a month? Why, while keeping out of their way while the staff are trying to work, do I love a quick chat if the opportunity arises? Why did one staff member, much to my delighted surprise, go to an exhibition of mine?
It has never occurred to me before (quite possibly I’m years behind) but the word hospitality is built on the word hospital. In its best sense, a hospital is a place that cares for people, makes them well. Hospitality does the same thing. It nurtures; gives security; begins, middles or ends the day with warmth. You don’t have to know the staff for hospitality to be given. For some workers, it’s a gift they share with all customers. That’s why I buy.
I think the coffee is immaterial. It’s merely an excuse. I might, in fact, order a second just so I can hang around.