Working From Coffee Shops: The Basics



Monday morning, it's raining and the traffic is horrendous. Instead of sitting in DC traffic for hours, working out of a local coffee shop can be a productive start to your day. The following is a list of basic needs every working-coffee-shop (WCS) must have.

Basic Needs

The WCS Trinity: wifi, outlets, and coffee.

The WCS Trinity: wifi, outlets, and coffee.


This is priority #1. Without a strong stable internet connection you are more useless than a Ferrari without wheels. Some WCS's make you jump through hoops to connect. Caffe Amouri (Vienna) makes you check-in on Facebook and Boccato (Arlington) gives you a wifi code after each purchase with a limited time allowance. Personally, I am not a big fan of these hurdles, but I do understand the need to deter any wifi squatters. So if you are working out of a WCS, be sure to be a good patron and making continual purchases.  


Layout includes seating, outlets, and arrangement of the WCS. 

Seating should be comfortable, but not luxurious. This is not your office chair or La-Z-Boy, this is a place to work. If you want to watch puppy videos , do it somewhere else. Plant yourself and when you get uncomfortable, either move to another WCS or make a purchase and stretch. 

The ideal coffee shop has outlets spread out around the room and in abundance. Standard outlets are the way to go, avoid the virus prone USB outlets. USB outlets are as bad as Dwight's de-sanitation stations.

The WCS arrangement is important, particularly the flow of patrons through it. There should be a direct line from door to counter for the morning rush to get their coffee and exit, with little disruption to those sitting. The seating should be space with enough aisle room that you can walk comfortable around without having to side shuffle, less is more here. 


The coffee should be solid, consistent, and served quickly. The coffee doesn't need to be heart-shaped lattes, but it should be able to hold its own. After all, a WCS is still a coffee shop. WCS's that take pride in their product is always a plus and being a regular you can explore their creative concoctions. Cafein (Chantilly) and De Clieu are both great places with deep menus to keep things interesting.


Coffee shops are a great way to get out of the home / office and continue to be productive. Make sure whatever coffee shop you come across covers these basic needs: wifi, layout, and good coffee. Everything else is a just an addon that makes the experience better, but you are there to work. So get to it!