Urban Grind: coffee as community building

I originally connected with Morgan from Urban Grind, through my writing for streeteditors, and he was my PARK(ing) Day inspiration and a man who I respect for being switched on to ideas about community building.
I’ve written to him before saying  –
“I love the community vibe you aim for, it reminds me of my best mate from Toronto Ayla who is a graphic designer and coffee nut (We were in new york and she would plan a day around coffee places to visit- I think that is her dream book too coffee travel book!).  I’ve talk to her about you, because a community hub vibe of Urban Grind is what I think she aspires too  – a place to also learn and interact.  If she ever came to Australia I knew I would have to show it to her.  I’d love to show her “Urban Grind 3.0″.  Amy from PARK(ing) was talking about food gardens for cafes – maybe the next urban grind needs chickens too”
I caught up with him at TEDx Brisbane, where he was providing coffees. He has recently closed the New Farm cafe, but still linked to the industry.  It got me thinking about coffee as place-making.
This is extract from an email –
“Hey actually – so I also had thought about “pop up- urban grind”,
So this idea of you having coffees at your house because you still have the machines – It sounds simple but feels kind of genius, like that “at home” vibe is what I got at your stores, so that an Urban Grind cafe  at your real physical home for friends and old customers seems natural (even thought you said you won’t charge- dude you could!)
Rach  joked about it – but totally that barter system (for house renovation materials), would so work too!  On that idea of barter – I found this about design skill trading in New York.  Grand Opening a store, I’ve streeteditored about before http://www.grandopening.org/store/trade_school/

And then that mention of “teaching Sheldon to make coffee” story made me think, if in fact you did teach your friends, they TOO could have “pop up Urban Grind” in their front yard for their neighbours
Like it could spread, eg could be at your house, then Sheldons house, then someone else house etc etc.     It creates a network, a community as such – the “home base” still being the flagship store – but the pop ups, you could rent out the machines/ or lease yourself as a service to be vitalizing neighbourhood streets and create conversations.
I’ve thought it before, but I wonder if someone has written/researched it for urban design theory – that coffee shops as the “new’ community public space.  You see it all the time, it’s one of the biggest known and encouraged land uses to spill into and activate public spaces.  I think Jan Gehl in Copenhagan even used number of cafe seats as a metric to measure success and growth (of pubic space) over time”
Morgan has had similar ideas before, and looks to be developing this idea further.  I’m excited about what he might do with it!!!

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