cafe reviews, writing

Optimum Cafe Conditions for Writing

I spend a surprising amount of time writing in cafes. I like the background white noise, the free heating/air-conditioning (depending on season), and the ability to be alone whilst not alone. The easy access to hot drinks is a nice bonus.

My working relationship with cafes isn’t a new thing. When I was a university student, I used to study in cafes in the breaks between lectures, spreading my flash-cards and notes out to cover an entire table and making one hot chocolate last for several hours. During my overseas experience in the United Kingdom, I outlined The Lord of Stariel in the Starbucks in Tooting Broadway, London, and wrote the first draft in various cafes around Oxford.

Consequently, I have a lot of Opinions about what makes for a productive cafe experience. My list of requirements, in order of priority, are:

  1. Large enough that you don’t feel guilty hogging a table for hours (and also so it’s not just you and the barista awkwardly hanging out together)
  2. Good table size & comfortable seat height
  3. No loud music or children
  4. Warm (I get cold easily)
  5. Long opening hours
  6. WiFi
  7. Good coffee
  8. Cheap and diverse cabinet food

Coming soon on the blog: reviews of Wellington cafes from a writing perspective.

This is from Ombra, Cuba St, which I would never try to write in as it’s more restaurant than cafe, but they do mochas with a SOLID STICK OF CHOCOLATE to swirl around and melt!!!! You’re welcome.

5 thoughts on “Optimum Cafe Conditions for Writing”

  1. I spend HUGE amounts of time writing in cafes! I love a lot of the same things as you–alone without being alone, access to hot drinks, etc–but I bring my headphones and listen to music. Usually soundtrack stuff like Pirates of the Carribean, Clash of the Titans, Doctor Who, etc; but often KPop and other more upbeat stuff, too.

    If I’m stuck or can’t get in the groove–I go to a cafe.


    1. Cafes are magical productive spaces! Those are some excellent soundtrack choices (My brain is now singing DOO-WEE-WOO from the Doctor Who opening credits), though I find my ears tend to switch off anyway when I’m concentrating.


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