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Top five people you see in coffee shops

Written by
Time Out London contributor

1 The wi-fi thief

The wi-fi thief is looked upon with casual indifference by most fellow coffee-slurpers but hated by the poor, long-suffering baristas. To most people, the thief is just some guy hunched over his laptop playing Minecraft until his eyes turn into a thousand tiny squares. But to the baristas, he's like a lodger you can't get rid of. He's a mate who came to stay for a night but is still on your couch a month later, not paying rent. He's like every barista's layabout teenage son, sponging off the parental coffee state. Just be thankful there are people about, otherwise things might get a little sticky.

2. The 'screenwriter'

The guy in the corner typing away on his laptop is relentlessly trying to maintain the façade that he's balls-deep in writing the bestest thing Aaron Sorkin never penned. He wants to impress you. He wants to intimidate you with his intellectual artistry. But in truth, the 'screenwriter' has just come off the blower to Ma after sheepishly asking for another rent bailout, while holding back the tears and desperately tapping Ctrl+F5 in the hope that if he refreshes his inbox the latest rejection letter will somehow delete itself.  

3. The can't-decider

You're rarely grumpier than when you're queueing for a coffee. So the last thing you want is to get stuck behind someone who can't decide between the pumpkin spice latte or the eggnog mochafuckaccino. 'Does that come with cinnamon? Can I get an extra shot? How much is the extra shot? Actually, maybe I'll have a tea. Can I get an extra shot in the tea?' When it's finally your turn, you make a point of loudly asking the barista for a 'LARGE BLACK COFFEE', just to prove to the can't-decider how easy life could be.

4. The addict

If the can't-decider is annoying, the addict is positively dangerous. Desperately jonesing for a caffeine fix, their fingers tap-tap-tap on the counter, hurrying you along. Be careful: if you don't quit your insufferable dillydallying and order a goddamn coffee, this guy is going to snap like Michael Douglas in 'Falling Down' and start making some serious demands. If you've never been tempted to whip out an Uzi while ordering a flat white, you're not a proper addict.

5. The snob

The coffee snob ranks caffeine-related issues at the same level as the abolition of poverty and the effects of climate change. The snob insists that the barista gives them a full account of the closest delta to where their provisionally ordered coffee bean was harvested, followed by a detailed breakdown of weather patterns, and a brief palmistry session conducted by a bloke named Merlin. Just donít let them hear you pronounce it 'expresso'.

By Sammy Robson, who had a lot of coffee while writing this.

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