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8 Unique Cafes Every Coffee Lover Should Visit

8 Unique Cafes Every Coffee Lover Should Visit

There remains a vibrant café and coffee shop culture in the UK at present, with independent outlets providing exceptional value and rivaling the efforts of commercial brands such as Starbucks and Costa Coffee.

Café culture remains at its most prominent in the heartland of Europe, however, with nations such as France and Italy continuing to set the trends for others to follow. There is also a rising trend for quirky, independent cafés around the world, which are conceptually unique and offer an outstanding experience to visitors.

So let’s take a look at eight of the most unusual and unique cafes from around the world:

1. L’OisiveThé, Paris

It is only right that we start in Paris, spiritual home of café culture. The beguiling region of Butte au Cailles is also home to some particularly quaint resorts, with the L’OisiveThé providing a relevant case in point. Essentially a traditional tea house that also serves coffee and an array of delicious pastries, its charming interior offers an insight into a bygone age. Perhaps the single most fascinating aspect of this café is the fact that it also doubles as a yarn shop, which immediately infuses the building with color and a sense of vibrancy. There are even weekly knitting evenings for enthusiasts.

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    2. The Vintage Emporium, London

    The city of London is a veritable celebration of unusual sights and structures, so it stands to reason that it should be home to a fascinating café culture. The Vintage Emporium in Brick Lane is one that truly stands out, however, as its architecture and interior design elements have been borrowed straight from the Victorian era. Littered with historical relics and record players from the late 1800s, it is a peaceful and beautifully presented café that truly reflects traditional English values. The location also serves as an antique boutique, so there is even an opportunity to invest in some one-of-a-kind pieces for your home.

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      3. Snickarbacken 7, Stockholm

      If you are a fan of conceptual structures and cafés, you should find time to visit Snickerbacken 7 in Stockholm. Although it boasts a traditional coffee bar set-up, it is located at the front of an art gallery and concept store, hidden discreetly in a narrow alleyway. Stark and mysterious in equal measure, it provides a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and is ideal for those in search of solitude. It also has the benefit of serving some of the best coffee on the market, so there is additional appeal for connoisseurs throughout Sweden. Its design is borrowed from the classic back-street café, and its contrast with a vibrant city location makes for an interesting visitor experience.

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        4. The Grounds, Alexandria

        A few structures around the world have a diverse and unusual history, and the Grounds Café in Alexandria, Australia is one of them. Since serving as a warehouse and pie factory during the early 1900s, it has evolved into a beautifully designed, eclectic and picturesque café that serves extremely high-quality coffee. The café terrace opens onto a lush garden of heirloom vegetables and aromatic herbs, so guests can see fresh and organic ingredients being grown in their presence. The Grounds even boasts a coffee “research and testing center” next door, to ensure that internationally sourced beans are filtered into the most delicious beverages imaginable.

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          5. Balzac’s Roasters, Toronto

          Everything about Balzac’s Roasters is tinged with nostalgia, from its quaint Victorian-age architecture to the grand, Paris-inspired interior. From its origins as the Pump House in 1895, its interior has been completely redesigned to replicate the classic Parisian café aesthetic and create an intimate space for diners. With a giant Vaudeville chandelier casting its soft light from the center of the room, it is a grand and unique location that remains exceptionally popular among Toronto residents and international visitors alike. It is certainly  inspired by its French-Canadian roots, and has a strong connection within the local community.

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            6. Mahika Mano, Tokyo

            It seems that the trend for location-inspired cafés is becoming increasingly prominent, with Tokyo’s unique Mahika Mano providing a case in point. It is essentially an island-theme café, and has drawn its inspiration from the relaxing havens that exist throughout the Pacific Ocean. It has become a major curiosity for visitors, primarily thanks to its unique decor, hammock showroom and the kind of laid-back environment that would not be out of place in a sleep clinic. If you like to relax while savoring your coffee, there is no finer café in the world.

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              7. Café / Day, Shizuoka

              Also renowned for taking the concept café to an entirely new level, is Japan’s hugely popular Café / Day. This location offers a brilliant and unusual twist on a classic open-air design, as the owners have chosen to interface its interior aesthetic with street traffic. Confusing and terrifying in equal measure, it may not be the most relaxing location but its spectacularly innovative design has distinguished it as a must-see location for all international travelers. Inspired by the contemporary open-air design of central European cafés, Café / Day raises the bar in conceptual architecture.

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                8. The Urban Station, Buenos Aires

                The majority of mainstream coffee shops are now equipped with wireless broadband and accessible wall outlets, which is extremely convenient when you consider the rise of freelancing. The Urban Station in Buenos Aires has taken this concept to the next level by designing a café-office hybrid that enables customers to operate in a professionally laid-out work space. Including staple features such as Wi-Fi and electrical outlets, it also boasts large table spaces and comfortable chairs and a contemporary office design to boost productivity.

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                  Last Updated on January 21, 2020

                  The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                  The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                  Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

                  your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

                    Why You Need a Vision

                    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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                    How to Create Your Life Vision

                    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

                    What Do You Want?

                    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

                    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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                    Some tips to guide you:

                    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
                    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
                    • Give yourself permission to dream.
                    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
                    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

                    Some questions to start your exploration:

                    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
                    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
                    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
                    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
                    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
                    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
                    • What qualities would you like to develop?
                    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
                    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
                    • What would you most like to accomplish?
                    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

                    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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                    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

                    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

                    A few prompts to get you started:

                    • What will you have accomplished already?
                    • How will you feel about yourself?
                    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
                    • What does your ideal day look like?
                    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
                    • What would you be doing?
                    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
                    • How are you dressed?
                    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
                    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
                    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

                    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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                    Plan Backwards

                    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

                    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
                    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
                    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
                    • What important actions would you have had to take?
                    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
                    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
                    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
                    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
                    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

                    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

                    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

                    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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