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Coffee Shop AU Fic

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A fanfic where the characters meet or work at a coffee shop.

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
Pichu-kun on Jun 5th 2017 at 1:28:22 PM
Last Edited By:
Crossover-Enthusiast on Mar 1st 2018 at 8:31:02 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

"I never knew just what it was about this old coffee shop I love so much. All of the while it was you"
— "Falling In Love At The Coffee Shop", Landon Pigg

Originally known as the "Barista AU", this form of fanwork began life on Livejournal but has since become popular across the board in fandoms. It is especially popular on fanwork sites such as Archive of Our Own and Tumblr.

The origin of this AU is uncertain but it seems to have first popped up within the NSync and Backstreet Boys Real-Person Fic community in 2001. It spread amongst Stargate Atlantis fans, and ultimately other fandoms took note. The AU became especially prevalent starting in the early 2010s.

Coffee shops are known for a comfortable, casual urban feel that lend themselves well to all sorts of shenanigans. The default in this AU is that it's a shipping fic where one half of the pairing is a barista and the other half is a customer. This type of AU is popular due to it being a form of Meet Cute. Another popular form is for the coffee shop to be a Local Hangout where most of the cast either visit or work at. The third most common form is where both characters are baristas who work together. If a character loves coffee, then expect a lot of coffee shop AUs involving them.

The "Coffee Shop AU" is often seen as a counterpart to the High School A.U.. Due to writers drawing from life, teenagers will favor high school stories while young adults like coffee shop works. As a similar result, this AU often overlaps with the College AU fanwork. The characters either work at the coffee shop to help get through college or college students tend to frequent the coffee shop.

Sub-trope to Alternate Universe Fic and Curtain Fic.


Films — Animation

  • Café Liégeois is a Frozen fanfic where Anna meets her girlfriend Elsa while working at Starbucks. It doesn't actually focus on the coffee shop though, with it instead working as the backdrop for the start.


  • Amongst the bandom, Panic! at the Disco and My Chemical Romance fans are especially prone to this sort of AU. Panic! At The Disco's Jon Walker once worked as a barista prior to joining the band. My Chemical Romance fans know of Gerald Way's love of coffee, and thus he frequents coffee shops a lot in fanfics.


  • Hamilton: This is a Hamilton animatic with a coffee shop AU premise. It's specifically an Alex/Lafayette ship one.

Video Games

  • Kirby's Dream Cafe is a Kirby take on this. In it, Kirby's Dream Cafe is due to be demolished by Haltmann Works Company, who wish to turn it into a mall. Kirby and his friends have to stop them.
  • Widowmaker writes about herself and Tracer in one of these in this installment of the Overwatch AWNN series.

Western Animation

  • Steven Universe:
    Lapis: So what does happen in Empire City?
    Steven: Well, if you moved here you could get a cool apartment and be a single Gem taking on the big city. You'd have a fun job at a local coffee shop and come home to a wacky roommate...
    Lapis: I have no idea what you're talking about.

Feedback: 9 replies

Jun 5th 2017 at 1:42:18 PM

The two Frozen examples are missing their titles. Also, would this be related to the Curtain Fic, since they both seem to be on the light, character-focused side?

Jun 5th 2017 at 2:01:27 PM

^ Maybe? I can't really tell what a Curtain Fic actually is.

Nov 14th 2017 at 6:20:32 PM

Another spin on the ship fic is that they’re both baristas, and the fic is about their dynamic in the workplace. You can also mention that the cozy, urban atmosphere of a coffee shop lends itself well to all sorts of shenanigans.

Feb 27th 2018 at 12:50:39 AM

Feb 27th 2018 at 10:37:55 AM

I would call this just "Coffee Shop AU", the way the tittle got formatted made me read it as "Coffee Shop 'au Fic'", Gratuitous French implying a fictional, fancy coffee shop. That didn't convey the fanfic aspect at all.

That said, can this be broadened beyond fanfic? Would a plotline where characters Meet Cute in a coffee shop, not in a standalone fanwork count? What if this doesn't dominate the plotline, but is simply a way to introduce two characters?

Feb 27th 2018 at 2:26:50 PM

^ No, it's a fanfic trope.

Feb 27th 2018 at 9:17:40 PM

Capitalized "Gem" in the Steven Universe example and fixed the quotes. Also added a Zero Context Example markup to Just A Normal Coffee Shop.

Mar 1st 2018 at 8:31:02 PM

This probably needs more examples but I can't get myself to dig through coffee shop fics.