Coffee, Conversation, and Community
by Lydia Berglar
March 2, 2021
If you glance around a local Chattanooga coffee shop on a typical Saturday morning, you might see roommates enjoying a relaxing brunch; freelancers and college students working away; cyclists and runners getting a post-workout coffee; and baristas chatting with locals about favorite brewing methods.
College students are well-known for frequenting coffee shops, and Covenant students are no exception. Covenant entrepreneurs also seem drawn to local coffee shops. From Ian Goodman ’96 founding Goodman Coffee in Chattanooga to roommates Edoardo Santi ’22 and Evan Zietlow ’22 running the Coffee Cartel on Covenant’s campus from their dorm room, coffee shops seem to strike the entrepreneurial spirit in numerous Scots.
So why do Scots love coffee shops? Maybe because coffee shops are nearly synonymous with conversation and community - two things that our community deeply value.
Penny Universities and Revolutionary Ideas
In the 1600’s, coffeehouses became known as “penny universities.” Oxford locals originated the phrase because “for the cost of a cup of coffee, you could gain access to intellectual discussions and, critically, sober debate.” Under Charles II, open discussion was not taken for granted - Charles feared revolution and attempted to stem free discourse, but meeting houses based around coffee instead of alcohol encouraged ideas and conversation. After a downward trend in the 18th century, coffee houses found new life in the Victorian era. Instead of meeting at pubs, the working class could meet over coffee, share local gossip, and socialize.
To this day, coffee shops are not only a place to grab caffeine and a pastry, but they also represent the sharing of ideas, relaxing in community, and conversing with friends - all of which are accessible to anyone who can afford $2.00 for a warm, comforting drink.
If you’re looking to kill some time while in Chattanooga, check out a local coffee shop. When you’re visiting Covenant’s campus, grab a cup of joe from The Blink and enjoy conversation with Covenant students. Times like these could become your college weekend go-tos, and you just might form lasting Covenant friendships over a fragrant cup of coffee.