There's a cafe up the road from our place where they're very serious about coffee. (Very. Serious.) If the term 'coffee shop' didn't sound so cutesy I'd call it a coffee shop because that's pretty much all they do: sell coffee, in its wet and hot, wet and cold, ground and unground forms. Sure they sell a few macaroons and the odd chocolate croissant but I suspect these items are more counter accessories than a major source of revenue.
So this cafe sells very good coffee which is, inherently, a very good thing.
By extension then, given the God-like status caffeine enjoys in my life, I consider the staff to be (inherently) very good people, and I would certainly have their babies and/or tweak their nipple rings if any were to ask.
But despite the centrality of these barista Gods to many of our lives, I worry they may not be altogether very happy people? In the year I've been frequenting this 'coffee shop' I have never seen any of these baristas crack a smile or share a familiar 'hello' with their devotees, nor (heavens!) engage in a spot of banter.
In fact, I was so desperate for an actual interaction with them last week that I mistook a barista chappy asking me how he could help me with how I *was* (existentially, I assumed). It was only when he looked away (embarrassed for both of us) that I realised he wasn't in the least concerned with how I was, just what form of coffee artistry was required of him. Ahem.
So my question is, can you be an expert coffee-maker and show your clientele the odd human kindness (a smile here, a 'see you next time' there), or does one preclude the other?