Drinking a cup of coffee is more than just ingesting a dark, toasty liquid. It's holding a cup in your hands, inhaling the steam as it wafts over the scalding beverage and mulling it around in your mouth before letting it warm you from the inside out.
Java enthusiasts have their own sacred rituals when it comes to coffee; no way is right or wrong.
But if you enjoy your coffee in a coffeehouse accompanied by a live band or vocal performer, that comforting cup of joe becomes only a small piece of a larger routine.
Here are just a few of the Sonoma County coffee shops where you can enjoy a side of creativity with your cappuccino:
A'Roma Roasters in Santa Rosa's Railroad Square is a place where you can find your mom and her knitting group sitting at a table directly next to a group of artfully decorated young hipsters.
During the day, it's the meeting place for a variety of folks. At night, the tables are cleared from the corner to make room for a microphone, amp and performers.
The coffeehouse generally invites musicians to perform on Friday and Saturday nights from 8 to 11 p.m., with genres ranging from folk to jazz and everything in between.
Tonight they welcome Brazilian jazz band Organix. On Saturday, acoustic pop band, Bee Rays, will take the mic.
A'Roma Roasters is at 95 Fifth St., Santa Rosa. Their website is aromaroasters.com
Aqus Caf?has endeared itself to many Petaluma coffee lovers looking for a place to unwind.
Its patio welcomes polite pooches and their humans who are looking for a quiet space to relax. Inside is cozy, the ambience warm and friendly.
Owner John Crowley has gone out of his way to keep the establishment part of the community, and his efforts have paid off. The result is a wide variety of entertainment throughout the week, including trivia, comedy, live music and more.
Tonight's entertainment is from the rock band, Dictator Tots from 7-9 p.m. On Saturday is old-time music from Brooke & The Caterpillars and New Old-Time Music from 7-9 p.m.
And on Sunday you can enjoy Gary Vogenson's Sunday Ramble from 2 to 4 p.m. Check their schedule for many more weekday events, as well, including cribbage games, a drum circle, and a group to learn how to speak Spanish.
Aqus Caf?is located at 189 H St., Petaluma.
More information can be found at their website, aquscafe.com
Tucked alongside Highway 12 in Sebastopol is a hidden gem of a java joint. The intimate Coffee Catz, with chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and community couches spread out across two rooms, invites customers to pause for a moment with coffee in hand.
The vibrant walls are decorated with local art, and it isn't unusual to happen across a book reading, musical performance or some other art form.
Though it's one of the few places that insist on cash only, you'll be glad you settled in at this coffeehouse.
This Saturday, the coffeehouse will be fully caffeinated with a Bluegrass Jam from 2 to 5 p.m. On Sunday, they welcome poets Jon and Sher Christian for a poetry reading from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., and folk ballads at 3 p.m. Early next week, they will also host their weekly Open Mic night and Science Buzz Caf? Coffee Catz is at 6761 Sebastopol Ave., Suite #300 in Sebastopol. Their website is coffeecatz.net.
Located along the main drag of Cotati, Redwood Caf?is the hub of all sorts of artists. The walls are adorned with local art, the menu features a few dishes named after local "celebrities," and a live performance is scheduled almost every day of the week.
Performers include local authors reading from their books, poetry readings, stand-up comedy, live music and trivia nights. The diner also opens its floor for open mic sessions or karaoke.
Tonight the caf?features Zydeco dancing with band Les Amis Zydeco from 9 p.m. to midnight. On Sunday is the Gold Coast Jazz Band from 4 to 7 p.m. And early next week, don't miss the Wine & Dine with Local Authors, starting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Crissi Langwell writes about families and entertainment for The Press Democrat. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.