The Future of Coffee and the Third Place

Add lack of access to good coffee to the list of sacrifices required of deployed military service members..

So my supervisor (MAJ B) recently ordered a Keurig for our regional trans office in Afghanistan.. At first I was excited about getting away from the $20 coffeemaker, but my hopes would soon be crushed by the lack of good coffee it produced.

I don't know as much as I'd like to about quality coffee, but the bitter brew this 'revolutionary' machine kicked out was on par with the old coffee maker..

I'm curious to see what happened in the next 20 years with advances in technology and how they may impact the coffee house customer bases. I don't propose to have any answers, but what if someone came up with a machine for home that would make quality coffee, espresso, and foamed milk...? I haven't seen anything that can replace a talented barista at this point, at least not affordably, but what if such a machine existed, and was priced around $4-500? Would we see more and more commuters and other demographics who put a premium on convenience opt to press a button at home instead of stopping on the way to work?

Would there be a minimal impact on the customer base that enjoys the ambiance? Or would some allow the convenience to over-rule the opportunity to get out of the house?

Personally, I will always enjoy the feel of a good coffee shop ambiance, coupled with a great cup of coffee. There's nothing like it.. In college, I had a NEED for a 'Third Place', to get away from my room and the campus, but the options were the overcrowded and slightly pretentious SBux, the devoid of any hint of ambiance Dunkin Donuts, and an independent shop that to me felt like an overcrowded library without a soul. I'd be more than happy to pay $5 for a great cappuccino and a seat in a coffee house with a great ambiance.

With all these new products and processes that feature less work, less time, less effort, less thought, is all this 'progress' taking us away from the real treasures in life?

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