I'm not much of a coffee drinker, but I'm a sucker for a good cup of green or herbal tea. Occasionally, when away from the tea supply in my pantry, I'll treat myself to a visit to a coffee house to get one.
What we often think of as a late 20th century fad goes back a little further. Such places have long been havens for writers, artists, intellectuals, and others to sit and toss ideas back and forth. Many of the better known American Expatriate writers of the early 20th century including Ezra Pound and Ernest Hemingway spent time together in such places.
They remain favorite sites of study and conversation for students, teachers, profesors, and businesspeople. The most interesting ones, in my opinion, are the unique, locally owned ones. I must confess, however, that when I cannot find these, I have been known to patronize the occasional chain.
Starbucks is not the first (nor do I believe it will be the last) word in coffee houses.