Friends ran from 1994 to 2004 (and re-runs are probably still running right now). In that time we started to move away from the fixed seating canteen-style cafes and wanted this shabby-chic-and-sofas look.
Starbucks began nearly forty years ago and from their single store in Seattle they have expanded - some may say aggressively - to achieve what feels like worldwide domination of coffee shops.
But the rebellion is there as they now seem too corporate even though the company tell us they have strong ethics. I started to doubt that when it was reported during 9/11 that NYC fire-fighters and rescue crews were charged for water at a Starbucks. Yeah, apparently one Branch Manager did this but I haven't forgotten. Some may say I bear a grudge but I've never bought a drink at any Starbucks since.
Also as a tea drinker, rather than a coffee lover, I was further unimpressed when a tea consultant told me they'd been commissioned to look into improving the tea Starbucks serve but when the report was submitted the few pence more a cup was dismissed as they told the consultant their customers would continue to buy their tea whether it improved or not and that profits were more important.
Anyway, enough of them and back to the independent coffee shops. You know as soon as you enter whether the place is uber-trendy by the painfully hip and obscure music and the incredible list of coffee varieties (that no customer is brave enough to admit they don't understand).
It's hard to recognise staff as they don't wear uniforms (who wants to be corporate, man?) so instead have on band T-shirts and weird haircuts. Sometimes apron-wearing is included especially by the person manning the space age, 'Wallace and Gromit style invention' coffee machine.
These cafes all have power points and you are almost expected to plug in your phone to charge or get your laptop/iPad out and start working so why not take advantage of the free power on offer?
Seating is never small tables for two people here. No, it's all shared tables where you are encouraged to make new friends whether you like it or not. Or a 'bar' with stools where you either admire the 'magic' as coffee is made in front of your eyes or chat to the uber-trendy staff about the obscure music.
Interestingly, in our busy lives one of the few things we are willing to wait for is a cup of coffee. It is a sign of evolution that we've moved on from a spoonful of instant coffee drunk in under a minute but we may have expanded our coffee options a bit beyond most people.
And when did it become normal to have a hot drink while walking down the street? Can't we stop and enjoy the drink or wait till we do have time? And do paper cups really enhance the taste of those fancy coffee options? It doesn't help the tea so I'm sure the coffee drinkers must have the same issues so why do we spend so much on take-away hot drinks these days?