[PODCAST Episode 293] You Need More Than Just Coffee for the Perfect Coffee Shop Vibe

The coffee shop playlist. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee. The soft clinking of ceramic mugs. There's a very specific vibe you get when you think of a coffee shop. There's also a social component to a coffee shop that fandom has used time and time again to explore the relationships between their favorite characters. What if the characters from Dragon Age: Inquisition worked at a coffee shop? Who would be the barista, who's the regular, what drama and romance might spark? We discuss this and more on this week's Waypoint Radio. You can read an excerpt and listen to the full episode below.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/qjdzpp/you-need-more-than-just-coffee-for-the-perfect-coffee-shop-vibe

Shout-outs to everybody who had a crush on Legato Bluesummers in middle school.

Been thinking a lot about how to pronounce barista since this morning.

I love coffee shops and lucky to be friends with many shop owners so discouraging to hear.

In case anyone’s looking for it i think this tweet has the video Gita was playing toward the end of the podcast.

Just play this every time Bernie goes anywhere pic.twitter.com/S7s6AWR78i

— Coach (@CoachSiteman) February 11, 2020

I used to like coffee shop AUs till I became a barista.

But the game has an endless coffee making mode, eh? Or as we call it: peak. Once you’ve had to do your third drink remake because a customer said it was too foamy, you stop liking to make coffee. Once you’ve come home at the end of the week to realize all your clothes have a awful smell of stale coffee, you stop liking coffee. Once you realize your manager doesn’t care about your wellbeing and will just give in to every corporate demand, you stop liking your coworkers. Coffee shops suck.


If anyone has choice Dragon Age Inquisition coffeeshop AU fic to share here, I would be very grateful. :slight_smile:

God, the blurb for this post gave me flashbacks to the hours I spent curating the best possible spotify playlist for my barista job. Trying to find the balance between approachable, interesting, not too experimental, and something I’m not worried of hating after a few weeks was all such a slog. Personally, I preferred one our bartender’s method of just opening every one of his shifts with “Unsatisfied” by The Replacements…it wasn’t a great job all around.

My favorite was always the ladies who told me I didn’t make their drip coffee hot enough. All I could do was point to the digital thermometer on the pot that said 200F and explain that water doesn’t get much hotter unless I brewed it in a pressure cooker, turned it into coffee steam, or violate a health code. Also I’d add your skin being stained by coffee grounds from all the espresso you clean off on a hot portafilter all day. God, coffee jobs do suck.


Our shop has curated playlists (it’s that company) but between roughly October 2019 and late January 2020 our app to control the stereo didn’t work and we were stuck on the Halloween playlist. We had to suffer day after day through your usual suspects: Ghostbusters theme, two versions of “I Put a Spell on You”, and all the other works, along with a bunch of oddly paranoia inducing songs like the Marilyn Manson cover of “Sweet Dreams are Made of These” and that fucking Oingo Boingo song from RPO. The only good song was Echo and the Bunnymen’s “The Killing Moon”!

The DA:I fandom were actually flower shop and tattoo parlor AU people. Though I guess, Bread Wolf Bake You was close… I went down a Solasvellan hole in 2015.

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Listen, if you want the greatest coffee shop AU, I think it’s still the legendary “I’ve Got Nothing To Do Today But Smile (The Only Living Boy In New York)” by gyzym. Inception was a thoroughly Okay movie but my god, the fandom. Ten out of ten.

It was fascinating to listen to Austin and Gita talk about those two games and what they want from a coffee shop game (I second Hustle Cat hard, it’s great). It made me realize that, like, four or five years ago, I made a design document for a visual novel with pretty much everything they want? A mysterious owner-benefactor who drives the overall plot, romance options on both sides of the counter, and some peak cozy drama. Maybe I should dig it up and dust it off? Hm.


Frankly, I just want the coffee shop AU that recognizes the first rule of being a barista: If they’re on the other side of the counter they are not your friend.

Ah, you’re into me but you don’t know how to say it? Showing up every day and making me make you a latte isn’t it. Go to a different store ya’ puke.


So I think a key thing to keep in mind with Coffee Talk that I was surprised was not brought up was that it was made in Indonesia. So, I don’t think the writer was ever going to be able to meet Waypoint expectations around discussions of race. Also to Austin saying the café set up was more like a bar, a lot of cafes are set up like that here, and spending quite a bit of time chatting to the barista is a normal thing to do, and yes there are stools at the counter. Also maybe look up developers first if it avoids things like the baileys convo? Because in the context of it being a non-western writer adding an s to a western name, it just kind of sounds mean?

In terms of the customer that writes short stories for the newspaper, and is working on a book, who has a boss that also owns a publishing house. All of this tracks with the way things are in Indonesia. The best newspaper, Kompas, also has a book publishing arm, and they publish short stories in the paper.

Parts of the conversation are just this doesn’t track with the way things work here in the USA, therefore I cannot possibly comprehend them

Anyway, despite the bland writing, this game is still important for the local industry here, I can’t really think of any other Indonesian game that has received as much coverage as this one. I’m hoping A Space for the Unbound does well when it comes out and that plus coffee talk shows the government here that game development is worth supporting.


This is really interesting and makes me curious about the decision to set the game in the United States rather than Indonesia. Sure it’s alternative-Seattle but that still comes with several implications about what the culture is like.

(Side note just thinking of Seattle cultural things: I could see a really good story-line in this style of game revolving around Seattle Freeze.)


I think it’s important to recognize that Coffee Talk is not a coffee shop sim - it’s a VA-11 like that chose a different theme that doesn’t match up as well with what its doing narrative and mechanics wise as the bar theme did. When you take it on those merits, a lot of decisions make way more sense.

I’m super impressed by the visuals from the demo I tried and I have the game on my to play list down the line, right now trying to get through Disco Elysium, the entire Serious Sam franchise, and EYE. From what I’m seeing from convos around it, my read on it as a cozier but trying much harder to be serious fantasy VA-11 was about right and that can be both good and bad.

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Fun fact: apparently cook serve delicious 2 was already in this weird future america setting, it’s just all relegated to the emails that I didn’t even know existed until someone told me about it.


Shout outs to the guy who made Cook, Serve, Delicious! He wrote a moving tribute to Ryan Davis for basically allowing him to continue being a game developer. I remember playing Ore no Ryomi (a fan parody of Ore no Ryori) way back in the day as freeware.

As for FFXIV, I’m still confused about what people think Austin won’t like about Stormblood. It’s about politics and building power under fascist regimes. What’s not to like? Any insights?

Structurally, it’s the weakest of the expansions. It more or less functions as two plots smashed together, making the Eastern arc feel secondary. Also, some would argue that Lyse isn’t a very well-written or believable character, but those people are wrong and I won’t hear anything to the contrary.

Personally, Stormblood was my favorite expansion until Shadowbringers. It’s messy compared to HW, but the way it actually tries to go for a story about colonization that recognizes you, the player, as an outsider to the conflict and thus makes a point of you only being a facilitator rather than an active leader really made it stand out for me. It has its issues, but I was happy with how it expressed its themes, and I personally think it’s the sort of story Austin would really dig.


Yeah Austin keeps alluding to people predicting it would go sour for him and I don’t really get that, especially for him. I liked it a lot more that HW that’s for sure, for both gameplay and story reasons.

Having been away from FFXIV for awhile during much of the post-Stormblood patches I had no idea the fanbase were so down in SB until pretty recently. I played it when it came out and everyone I talked to back then seem to love it, and I know I personally thought it was way better than HW. It never occurred to me that people might think HW was better.

HW was great when it came out, because it was such a notable leap in quality compared to ARR, but for me SB and ShB are pretty close to what HW was for ARR. Even if they stumble here and there, I feel like what they’ve doing for the last 2 expansions has been far more interesting to me than what they had been doing before.

I get what you’re saying bc in real life no one on the clock is your pal, but that kinda ignores the Point of the subgenre as a cozier take on reality. Even the more “realistic” takes on the story are rose colored. (Same could be said for Austin and Gita complaining about the journalism in Coffee Talk.)

Finished listening to this episode this morning and was friggin’ stoked to hear Gita shoutout my old neighborhood bar, Tiptop! Loved that place. Extremely good low key bar that I cannot recommend enough should you ever find yourself in bedstuy.