A coffee house is a business that typically focuses on serving coffee and related products. It usually is thought of as a haven for people to sit and relax, which often is conducive to activities like talking to others, reading, writing, and surfing the Internet on a laptop. Customers of such an establishment typically drink coffee or other beverages while enjoying the often cozy, relaxing atmosphere.
Food served at a coffee house is usually limited to snacks rather than full meals. The menu often includes pastries, rolls, muffins, cookies, scones, and brownies. Some coffee houses have begun including breakfast and deli sandwiches, depending on how late in the day they stay open.
Drinks typically vary more than the food. Both regular and decaffeinated coffee are staples of the typical coffee house, but other hot and cold drinks also abound. Many such businesses also serve hot chocolate, hot tea, iced tea, smoothies, and ice-blended drinks. Different takes on typical coffee range from latte, espresso, iced coffee, and myriad flavors of coffee bean and creamer. One can also usually purchase a coffee mug or specialty coffee beans to take home.
Laptops are quite common at the typical coffee house because many in the United States now offer wireless Internet access. Some establishments offer free use of the Internet while others charge a per hour fee. Either way, it has become quite common for students and professionals alike to tote a laptop to the local coffee house, whether it's to get some work done or to unwind from a long day.
While the decorations for coffee houses might vary, typically they are both eclectic and inviting. The most popular ones are known for their big, soft couches and cozy armchairs. Most coffee houses also provide large and small tables to accommodate parties of any size, and the walls are typically scattered with interesting artwork or witty phrases.
Live music has also become a sign of a popular coffee house in the United States. In fact, some stay open into the night to showcase local bands. The music is often acoustic or jazz, which complements the relaxing environment for which most establishments strive. Live bands and other entertainment usually can be found at coffee houses closest to colleges or high schools as many young people who cannot legally drink tend to use such areas as gathering places.
Coffee houses around the world may vary, but they do exist in most countries. Some feature hookah, board games, and even alcohol. Though there are differences, the main purpose of coffee houses anywhere is to provide a gathering place for people to relax and to enjoy drinking beverages.