Book Review: Buzzing with inspiration in “Café Cool”

A medley of cafés and coffee shops that will make both caffeine aficionados and design devotees want to linger just a little longer.

Café Cool published by The Images Publishing Group (ISBN: 9781864709681)

Café Cool: Feel-Good Inspiring Designs, published by The Images Publishing Group, is the third book in a series by Robert Schneider (the other titles being Café Culture: For Lovers of Coffee and Good Design, and Coffee Culture: Hot Coffee + Cool Spaces) about the kinds of coffee shops you wish there were more of in your city or, better yet, around the corner from your apartment.

In this colourful romp through the world of modern caffeine sanctuaries, 39 instantly ‘grammable cafés and coffee shops and roasteries in 26 cities around the globe are featured, accompanied by generous photography spreads. With the primary requirement being exceptional coffee, of course, each selection screams contemporary chic, spotlighting indie coffee joints that pulse with community spirit and promise a brew-tiful experience. The owners and designers dish out commentary that is as rich as a freshly brewed espresso, capturing the essence and vibe of their creations.

Among the group are four noteworthy inclusions from Canada — Farouche Tremblant by Atelier L’Abri in Lac-Supérieur, QC; Milky’s Coffee by Batay-Csorba Architects and Fraser Greenberg, and Thor Espresso Bar by Phaedrus Studio, both in Toronto; and Nemesis Coffee by Perkins&Will in Vancouver — all of which have been covered by this magazine (with a couple even winning Best of Canada Awards along the way), so clearly we approve of Schneider’s selections.

This book is a love letter to the notion that, especially in the wake of the global pandemic, supporting and savouring quality coffee in beautifully designed cafés is more crucial than ever. It’s a celebration of those social anchors, the coffee shops that not only serve a great brew but also provide a much-needed dose of feel-good inspiration through their thoughtful and uplifting designs.

Farouche Tremblant, Lac-Supérieur, Québec, designed by Atelier L’Abri. 4,994 square feet, completed in 2022. (Photography: Raphaël Thibodeau)
Nemesis Coffee, Vancouver, designed by Perkins&Will. 2,110 square feet, completed in 2020. (Photography: Ema Peter)