My latest Guardian article

I sometimes freelance for The Guardian about coffee related issues, and my latest rant, this time on laptop use and free Wi-Fi in cafes, is up HERE.

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Interestingly, in writing this, I contacted James and Anette at Square Mile to ask about whether this issue is active in London (considering I was writing for a UK publication). Here’s what James told me:

Wifi usage here hasn’t had the same impact on cafes in London that it has in the states.  Whether a cafe offers wifi has relatively little effect on its success and we have a lot fewer people sitting in a cafe working.  Maybe our British reserve makes us think work should be hidden away in an office.
We’ve generally been more ‘to have in’ than to take away as a nation, though that has somewhat changed in the last few years. You are as likely to find someone hogging a chair in Starbucks for 2 hours with a book as with a mac. This – I think – is a very good thing!  I certainly would actively discourage any serious cafes (who might ask my advice) from doing free wifi.  Space is too premium (like NY I guess) and it isn’t enough to draw people here into a cafe.
My piece for The Guardian ended up being about the places where Wi-Fi use and restrictions have made headlines lately, primarily New York and San Francisco. But I thought what James had to say was pretty interesting. I’ll be doing some on-the-ground research on this next June in London at the World Barista Championship!

About the Author

Sarah

Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.