Coffee Break at Palatte

Coffee Break at Palatte

Kate Kovachevich, Staff Writer

Not unlike every other overworked high schooler, trying to juggle school, work, and a social life usually leaves me tired, cranky, and antisocial. The fix? Simply enough, a cup of coffee. However, as surprising as it may seem coming from a 17-year old girl in Forest Hills, I am not always in the mood for Starbucks. Most times the rushed atmosphere of virtually every Starbucks leaves me more stressed than I was before I came in. This past semester, after spending four days of my week in downtown Grand Rapids, I made it my personal mission to find the perfect place to sit and take a break from the nonstop pace of my schedule.

Ducking into the first coffee shop I found to escape the rain one afternoon, I found myself shaking out my umbrella in PaLatté Coffee and Art. Plush mocha-colored armchairs were placed two by two, facing each other on one side of the room with bigger rustic wood tables and metal chairs on the other side, complimenting the faded wooden floor. The large windows facing Fulton St. were lined with fluorescent blue lights and cozy blue chairs were seated next to them. The walls were packed top to bottom with colorful art by local artists. Flowers and potted plants decorated each table, and despite the narrow layout of the shop, it emitted an effortlessly comfortable and calming zeitgeist.

Before picking a spot to settle in for a while, I spent a few minutes studying the art on the wall (interesting enough to even catch my eye, someone who does not know enough about art to thoroughly appreciate it). I finally gathered myself and approached the counter where the two baristas greeted me amiably. They remained patient as I debated seemingly endlessly whether to get a muffin or granola bar from the pastry case that had a variety of fresh desserts, and welcomed the barista’s suggestions. After ordering a 12oz vanilla latte and a granola bar, I handed the cashier a five-dollar bill. The barista immediately began to work on my drink while I picked a table and spread out my study materials. Within a couple minutes, my drink was ready, and I was ready to settle in for a couple hours of studying.

Despite staying in the shop for well over three hours, none of the staff made me feel as if I were an imposition. Customers came and went, some students also decorated the larger tables while smaller groups of people chatted quietly in the mocha-colored armchairs. From an avid coffee-drinker’s perspective, the coffee was neither too bitter nor too sweet; the price was average for a local coffee shop, ranging between two and five dollars. Overall, my experience at Palatté was pleasurable. I will be back, both as a place to study and as a place to catch up with friends.