Before you get upset, don’t worry. I’m not about to tell you to take your kids out for a double espresso. But I do want to tell you that just because baby came, it doesn’t mean you can’t do (most of) the things you used to enjoy.
Remember how the coffee shop used to be the center of the universe? To me, being nerdy means being a voracious and passionate lover of the things we’re are into; there’s no halfway. And for many of us, really great coffee is pretty high on that list: we love it so much that it’s a cultural thing for us. The sound of the steam wand hitting the milk, the chocolately layers of the espresso shot, the bloom of the pour-over. Call us hipsters, it’s ok. We like what we like, and it makes us happy.
If this image doesn’t make you salivate just a little, we can’t be friends.
Really, the love of coffee shop culture is just another nerdy thing like LEGO or Marvel, so why not share our love of the corner cafe with our kids?
The Rise of the Kid-Friendly Coffee Shop
Nothing could be more natural than the evolution of a neighborhood. You move there for the nightlife and shops, and pretty soon you and all of your neighbors have become parents at virtually the same time. What’s there left for a savvy coffee shop to do than to cater to its clientele? In Toronto, kid-centered coffee shops are becoming quite the thing.
There are many others, but Lil’ Bean n’ Green is a great example of how to turn a coffee shop into a resource for local parents. Parents can pay $4 to leave kids in the super fun (and safe) play area while they stay on the grown-up side with their black gold.
These types of cafes are popping up in all kinds of coffee-culture friendly cities like Seattle and Minneapolis.
Another way to pre-infuse your kids with your infectious love of coffee is to bring the coffee shop into pretend play. Traci Yau of 45 Design has created a beautiful, meticulously designed and hand-crafted cafe for her adorable daughter, a crude version of which could be emulated by less crafty folks with boxes, cups and a bunch of creativity (are those espresso pucks underneath the rig?!?)
If you wanted to start out a little lighter, you could grab this play coffee maker as an addition to a pre-existing kitchen playset.
Looking for a messy outside activity? Just grab a few milk cartons, some soap, and a milk frother and put your own espresso making skills to work. Take your kids outside and make some soapy, dirty, awesomely realistic lattes like Jackie at Happy Hooligans did.
All the kid-targeted coffee shop stuff aside, your normal old coffee shop can still be a great place to take your kids for a relaxing afternoon. Let them pick out a snack and get them a hot chocolate or a flavored steamer. People go there to read, right? So pull out a book, snag a comfy chair to enjoy while you read and sip together with your whole family.
Based on this video, you don’t even need to get kids a play espresso machine, if they’re careful they may even be able to learn to make the real thing! (Not that I can really recommend that, because that thing is HOT.)