Pop Culture dictionary

hipster coffee shop

or hipster coffeeshop [hip-ster kof-ee shop]

What does hipster coffee shop mean?

hipster coffeeshop names a stereotypical, urban independent café serving high-end coffee drinks with an offbeat, minimalist, arty, or otherwise "cool" style. The phrase was at the center of a humorous meme in 2018 sparked by controversial right-wing figure Jacob Wohl.

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Where does hipster coffee shop come from?

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A word dating back to the 1930s, hipster identifies a type of young, trendy nonconformist or their tastes and aesthetics. The term was used to characterize coffee shops as early as the early 1990s, as independent coffee shops became increasingly ubiquitous in the Starbucks-dominated coffee landscape.

By the 2000s, the term hipster coffee shop rose with the boom of so-called third wave coffee, characterized by artisanal beans, lighter roasting profiles, farm-to-cup sourcing transparency, and meticulous brewing parameters.

Eric Parker / Flickr / Tedium

Hipster coffee shops, in the popular cultural imagination of the 2010s, may feature selectively sourced coffee and specialty offerings, such as pour-over coffees, single-origin espresso, and unconventional dairy alternatives (oat-milk lattes, anyone?). It is also likely to feature esoteric music and art, and crisp or eclectic interior design. And of course no hipster coffee shop would be complete without lots of fashionably clothed twenty- and thirty-somethings working on their laptops and/or journaling in their Moleskines, bike helmets dangling from their messenger bags.

2018 injected some fresh life into the hipster coffee shop thanks to right-wing conman and troll Jacob Well (infamous for attempting to frame Special Counsel Robert Mueller of sexual misconduct) tweeting about leaving various hipster coffee shops and discovering secretly conservative beliefs among its liberal clientele.

Examples of hipster coffee shop

Have the confidence of a mediocre hipster coffeeshop that doesn't offer free WiFi.
@arishish, August 2017
Sunset Park’s first hipster coffee shop recently opened — a new high-water mark in the so-called “up-and-coming” ‘hood where locals fear an influx of newcomers attracted to low rent and nearby Industry City’s cachet of cool will push out working-class families. But the prospect of holier-than-thou dumpster divers and adult coloring-book enthusiasts sipping brew roasted by a Portland company that moved to Brooklyn in 2009 doesn’t concern one Sunset Park native — he’s just glad to have a decent cup of Joe!
Dennis Lynch, The Brooklyn Paper, January 2016
ArabianDisco / Reddit
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Who uses hipster coffee shop?

The phrase hipster coffee shop is generally used to poke fun at young, often tattooed, urbanites and their lifestyle. Beware the beards and avocado toast.

Wohl’s hipster coffee shop tweets became the butt of jokes on Twitter, and people still frequently reference it on the platform. In these parody tweets, people use Wohl’s template of “fake things overheard at hipster coffee shops ” to make fun of Wohl, right-wing conspiracy theories, and internet culture more generally.

Popular media, however, may use the phrase to identify trendy, independent, artisanal cafés, say, in distinction to chains like Starbucks or Panera.

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of hipster coffee shop like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of hipster coffee shop that will help our users expand their word mastery.