Home coffee-making technology continues to progress at an astonishing pace, allowing average citizens to be amateur baristas in the comfort of their own homes. But at what cost to the human soul? Isn’t part of the fun of coffee the process of going out and buying it, just as an excuse to hang out somewhere cozy that isn’t home for a while? As Roger Ebert once put it, “Starbucks doesn’t really sell coffee—it sells escape from the office.” No K-cup in the world can compensate for that. Or maybe it can, with just a little help from the internet. Specifically, a useful site called Hipster Sound provides a very authentic coffee shop ambiance from a web browser with its storehouse of ever-available, prerecorded chatter. Just click the large play button on the homepage, and the low-level conversation noise begins. Conceivably, one could just leave this playing in the background for hours. Nothing wrong with that, theoretically.

Even better, Hipster Sound is highly customizable. From the main page, the user can choose from several fake coffee shop environments: “Busy Cafe,” “Quiet Resto,” or “Cafes De Paris.” The last is for those who want to hear coffee shop patrons babble on in French rather than English. And the options do not end there. In the upper left hand corner of the screen is a menu from which the user can choose other audio add-ons: “piano bar,” “open-air bistro,” “street corner cafe,” “cozy fireplace,” and “rainy terrace.” Visitors to the site can layer on as many of these extra sound effects as they choose at one time. Want this imaginary French bistro to be an open-air piano bar where patrons enjoy piano music outdoors in the rain, warmed by a crackling fire? Hipster Sound can make that very odd dream a virtual reality.

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[via Laughing Squid]