Setting Thesaurus Entry: Coffee House

Sight

High counters, chrome espresso/frothing machines, blenders, metal thermometers, jugs of fresh foam, jugs of milk, coffee grinders sacks of coffee beans, coffee pots, mugs, paper cups, stir sticks, shakers of cinnamon & cocoa, chocolate shavings, bottles of coffee flavorings, sugar packets, tea bags, fake sweeteners, brown sugar, napkins, garbage bins, spilled sugar on the condiment trolley, bistro tables, wrought iron trendy chairs with padded seats, booths, newspapers, magazines, tip jar, cash registers, people with laptops & books, shopping bags/purses hanging from chairs, a snack case (filled with cookies, brownies, pastries, biscotti, yogurt and cakes, quiches, wraps), merchandise available to purchase (decorative mugs, tinned cookies, mints, gum chocolates, coffee grinders, bags of coffee or tea, coffee machines), big glass windows, high counters to sit at, long lines, travel mugs, a chalkboard with specials written on it, smoothies, teas, frozen coffees, caramel or chocolate drizzle, pillowy whipped cream, plates, cutlery, sandwiches and wraps, garbage left on tables, fake plants

Sounds

coffee in a grinder, employees calling out orders, the murmur of voices, laughter, dishes clattering, spoons clinking against the side of a mug, the thick whirr of a frothing machine, the scrape of metal on metal, the ding of a cash register, the jerking sound of the till tape being printed, the clink of coins in a tip jar, the slurp of coffee and foam, an 'mmm' noise in the throats of those taking their first sip, the crinkle of paper, foil bags of coffee being ripped open, ice grating in the blender, the hum of machines, a radio music station playing in the background, the jingle of a door being opened or closed, the flap and flutter of newspapers, the click of keys being typed, the swish of a mop against the floor, the thump of unfinished coffees being thrown in the trash

Smells

Fresh brewed coffee and ground beans, the acrid scent of espresso or burnt coffee, sweet warm caramel and chocolate, the tingle of spice (cinnamon, chai teas, mulled ciders), fresh-baked cookies and muffins and quiches, strong tea or fruity tea, mingling perfume scents, warm cookie dough or muffins baking, vanilla

Tastes

Sweet/bitter/rich/hearty/scalding/acrid/smooth/flavorful/chicory coffee, thick & sweet cafe au laits, melted chocolate, soft & warm cookies, hearty sandwiches with the zing of mustard or mayo, spicy soups, cold water, blended pulpy fruit and ice, tart unsweetened lemon tea or ice tea, cool minty tea, thick unsweetened foam, over-sweetened coffees, flavor shot syrup (vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, raspberry, chocolate, mint, etc)

Touch

A warm mug in the hands, scalding coffee or tea, warmth cascading down the throat, a gritty sweet cookie, licking crumbs or foam from the lips, gritty or sticky counters from spilled food and coffee, a sticky or slippery floor, steam misting the face and glasses, blowing on a hot drink, the icy relief of a smoothie in the throat/mouth, slopping coffee on the hand & pain on the skin, losing a 'chilled' feeling' at the first sip, cleaning hands or brushing lips with a paper napkin, burning the lips or tongue, crumbly bread or muffins, turning pages in a book or magazine, ink on the fingers from newsprint, smooth keyboard keys on the fingertips, leaning back in a cozy reading chair, the cold touch of porcelain or metal as you browse the store's merchandise, the hard metal back of a bistro chair, palm burn/tingling from holding heavy plastic store bags for to long, an icy water bottle or plastic iced coffee cup


Helpful hints:


--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:

Swapping all my heavy store bags to one hand, I plodded up to the door and pulled. The rich, stimulating rush of brewing coffee drew me in, brushing off the stress of a mall swarming with Christmas shoppers.

Example 2:

I gulped down the last of my black coffee and signalled for more. My gaze bounced from couples leaning towards each other at the chic bistro tables to the laughing groups of teenagers crowding the booths. My own table partner, an empty chair, silently encouraged me to get a life and leave so others could fill the table with conversation.


--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)

After my seventh espresso, my hands jittered on the table like an unbalanced washing machine.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

I groaned at the first sip of my chocolate-drizzled whipped mocha--ambrosia gifted from the hand of God Starbucks.

6 comments:

Marian said...

Great, now I want one of those chocolate-drizzled whipped cream mocha chocolattes or whatever they're called.

Thanks for the post. :) Lots of good sensory detail - I felt as though I was right there in the coffee shop. I dread the day you write about a crowded subway or a gynecologist's examination room.

PJ Hoover said...

Hope you gals are enjoying your Halloween treats!
And love the coffee shop. Love coffee.

C.R. Evers said...

ahhhh. . . one of my favorite places EVER! :0)

Christy

Angela said...

Thanks Marian! I love coffee too. I could live in one of these places, but I'd have to take out a morgage on my house to afford to drink the specialty coffee all the time...

PJ, the irony is, out of all the Halloween candy my kids collected, there was only one measly Crunchie bar. So not fair!!

But yes I claimed it, and ate it. Muhahahaa.

keri mikulski :) said...

I need to do this.. I'm constantly stuck with how to say the same thing in a different way with my writing.

Hope you had a great Halloween!

Angela said...

I did have a great Halloween, how about you?

You know, just writing up these Setting Thesaurus entries has really helped me think a bit wider of the possibilities of description. I don't just jump at the first think I think of to describe, I tend to root a bit deeper now. I hope it helps you the same way!

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