Houston, TX 77098
April 2004–Tonight is a dark and gloomy night filled with rush hour victims running to find a roof to stand beneath. While they run around, a friend and I are spending an evening at Diedrich’s Coffeehouse, to try the best we can to do some homework. As we walk alongside the coffeehouse we smell the warm roasting coffee beans waiting for us inside.
Most college students are coffee drinkers. Some need it to stay up, others need it to wake up while others just simply need it. Although it is much easier to pour some water into a coffee pot at home, many students go out to coffee houses seeking great tasting coffee from around the world, which is somehow more than they can get at home.
Tonight my friend Hema and I went to the counter to order and I felt so embarrassed when I asked my friend, “Where is the list of frappuccinos?”
She informed me that term was designed for use only at Starbuck’s. Thank goodness I had not made a fool of myself with the cashier! While ordering I noticed a poster promoting wireless internet service. I asked the cashier what I had to do to join these groups of people and begin my wireless internet service.
She said, “All you have to do is purchase a wireless card for your laptop and you’ll be set to use our wireless services.” I asked where I could find the wireless cards and conveniently she replied by saying they sold them right there.
Customer satisfaction is one thing at the top of the list for Diedrich’s coffee house on Westheimer. The staff is jittery, always willing to start up a conversation while you wait for your coffee, (that’s if the line is long). Although the staff is not likely to stay for more than a year or two, they are very friendly and know their coffee very well.
One worker said to me, “I got hired a month ago and then my boyfriend got hired about two weeks ago. They are always hiring here.”
Some do, however, stay for long periods of time making a frequently returning customer feel like he or she is returning to an old friends’ place to hangout and they might even call you by your name. One vivacious customer said he has been coming to Diedrich’s for three years all because of the warmth of the facility and its warm staff.
The worker fixing our coffee has been working at Diedrich’s for almost three years and she told me, “I don’t plan going anywhere until I graduate college.” She also took a moment to advice us on what cake to take with our coffee. Not much food is found here other than coffee cakes and sweets; however, we did find that they offer extra shots of espresso for a larger caffeine boost. Along with carrot and cheese cakes we try to decide on a variety of cookies and other coffee pastries. This reminds me of home because the pastries are not as marketed as in other places and they are cheaper just like the coffee.
Diedrich’s sets itself apart by offering cheaper prices on its coffee and pastries which makes it more affordable for us college students. My friend and I only spent eight dollars on two cups of coffee and a large slice of chocolate cake tonight. No one is outside sharing a table under the soft lighting next to the oak tree soaking in the rain tonight. Since it is rainy night, we have no trouble finding a table. We notice four different study groups around us taking part in interesting conversations about physics, statistics and many other subjects; its overwhelming. The coffee seems to be better than other times but I think maybe it’s the lousy weather outside giving it some help.
I open my anthropology book set on a small, round table my friend and I share and I begin to wonder how a coffee house in the Middle East might look. Does it contain tables and chairs? What about lounge chairs? Or does it have bright colored rugs with pillows lying on the floor around a short table? This is what is depicted in movies but is it what it really looks like?
Like every other coffee house, you will find a few small tables along with chairs and some lounge chairs all perfectly set to comfort, distinct art pieces and of course, coffee. I find myself looking outside to the street through the tall windows taking place of sheet rock. This corner also contains a bar along one of the walls. The rest of the walls are covered with perfectly placed red bricks. Many customers agree that this bar is the best place for studying at Diedrich’s but with the low volume of noise I have to say any place is as great as the bar. The décor of this coffee house gives a feel of home peacefulness and simplicity for the vents in the ceiling are visible and the door to the kitchen are always open.
While looking curiously at my coffee cup I noticed the Diedrich’s logo which was described in a couple of sentences as the Diedrich family logo placed on all Diedrich products to ensure the customer’s satisfaction. This might be why the kitchen door is always open and the walls wrap around, giving a warm feeling and why people from all around the world enjoy themselves here.
After putting down my cup of coffee I noticed a gentleman with a resting laptop at the bar in the window corner. I courteously asked if he would be kind enough to check out a website quickly. Hema thought I was crazy asking this total stranger to borrow his computer but I did it anyway. He smiled and said it would be ok. So I started my search at www.yahoo.com and I looked up Diedrich’s Coffee house and immediately I got a few hundred results. The one at the top of the list was http://www.diedrich.com/ I clicked on the link and I entered the website. Within the website was a list of the shops times and a full history of how Diedrich’s coffeehouses came to be. Who would have thought that this great coffee-tasting hangout would begin with a lovely young woman inheriting a coffee plantation in Costa Rica and continued my her sons and her grandsons who are the ones currently running all Diedrich’s coffee shops in California, Colorado and Houston.
I was impressed at the rich history of the Diedrich family and apparently so was the gentleman whose laptop I used. We introduced ourselves and I learned that he is from Russia . He also introduced me to a couple from India and another of his friend from Columbia who was walking in at that time. I dragged my friend out of her chair and I introduced her to the new coffee lovers I had just met and we sat down to chat for a few minutes. We talked about the coffeehouse and all the great contributions it has had to the neighborhood and to the college community as well as other issues such as high tuition costs. We made new friends but we had not yet accomplished to finish any homework.
By 9:30 PM and we had been at Diedrich’s for two and a half hours with no homework completed. We only have about two and a half hours before we will be dragged out of the coffee house so my friend suggested we get to work. I forgot it was mid-week and they close at midnight . I wish it were a Saturday when they close at1:00 AM or a Sunday when they close at 2:00 AM . These are great closing hours considering college students’ hectic class schedules and crazy work hours.
We finally managed to read a couple of anthropology chapters and I was able to begin my outline for an English paper. When midnight came along we were long gone. Another wonderful night full of coffee and homework; well, more coffee than homework but indeed it was a great night at Diedrich’s.
Unquestionably, if you are a coffee lover, Diedrich’s on Westheimer is a great place to visit. I have been living in Houston for only five months but I have been to a number of coffee houses and one of my favorite is Diedrich’s Coffee House on Westheimer. There are three locations in the city but this is the one closest to my house, and it is one of the best in the area. You will find great service, coffee and company. Here you will meet many types of people, from around the globe to fabulous locals. You will find the hardest studying undergrads and some young entrepreneurs, all sharing their love for coffee and hard work. Whether you make friends here or bring a friend, time will fly by. Its calm atmosphere takes you in making you unaware of the time, making you want to come back one more time, again and again.