Coffee and pop culture has always had a close connection. Especially now in the 21st century, where we see our favourite movies and television shows make unending references to this magical brew of life. Whether it was Lorelai from Gilmore Girls who expressed a sentiment we all know too well - “Oh, I can’t stop drinking the coffee. I stop drinking the coffee, I stop doing the standing and walking and the words putting into sentence doing.” Or whether it's the classic Pulp Fiction where Quentin Tarantino, who when asked about his coffee, says - “I buy the gourmet expensive stuff 'cause when I drink it, I wanna taste it.” We may not notice, but coffee references are everywhere.
And well, if you haven’t been living under a rock all your life, you’ll be well-versed with the sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Wondering what this show has to do with coffee? Well, for starters - EVERYTHING! No other television series has epitomized its love for coffee as much as Friends! If you’re a fan who has devoured every single episode several times, you’ll definitely know what we are speaking of.
It’s hard to imagine the show without this place. We won’t lie. At first, it seemed like a regular coffee shop where the gang chilled and had a couple of laughs. But as the series progressed, we began to realize that Central Perk is so much more! It was the designated spot where all the friends hung out together and spent a large part of their free time. So much so that the place always felt like a second home to the characters. Their love for coffee led to some of the most memorable moments in the show occurring in this very coffee shop. Right from the very first scene of the pilot to the birth of Unagi to Ross and Rachel’s first kiss, Central Perk did indeed witness some major iconic moments.
If you love Friends and reading all this has happened to stir up some sweet old nostalgia for you, then you’ll definitely want to read further! Why, you may ask? Well, to revisit the top 5 things and moments that Central Perk gifted us over the course of 10 seasons! Let's take a look.
Yes, the prominent fixture in the cute coffee shop that the gang frequented - the orange couch! We bet if this sofa were shown to any fan in isolation, without any additional props or hints, it would 100% still be recognized. It's SO iconic. The couch is the go-to spot for the group to hang in Central Perk, so much so that they are rarely ever seen sitting in any other place! Have you, like us, also been suspicious of how nobody apart from them ever sat on the couch and how it was almost always vacant whenever they arrived? How we wish we were as lucky as them to have our favourite tables perpetually reserved for us at our local coffee shops.
One of the longest and funniest running gags throughout the show, Phoebe’s Smelly Cat gave us some great moments. One such iconic moment is when the whole gang joins Phoebe in singing the song at Central Perk. That’s right. In the same episode where Phoebe blesses us with her rock music video, we also get to watch all the characters sing along to the lyrics to Smelly Cat (minus poor Ross who had no lines left to sing!).
Joey Doesn’t Share Food!
Another classic dialogue that found its way to our hearts and a ton of Friends merch was this gem by Joey. Guess where he says it? Yes, in our very own Central Perk! The dialogue is mentioned for the first time (all the way back in the 10th season) in The One With The Birth Mother! Undoubtedly, this moment became an instant favourite and continues to be quoted by food-lovers, in the world over, till today!
A most delightful and heartwarming moment is when Phoebe marries Mike. Unfortunately (or fortunately), due to a giant blizzard, the wedding is pushed to happen right outside Central Perk in a beautiful snow-covered street. This event is especially touching because it was Central Perk itself where Joey had first “accidentally” run into Mike and proceeded to set him up with Phoebe for a date thereafter!
Speaking of Central Perk and not mentioning Gunther would be a crime. Gunther is the manager of the coffee shop. Although, his journey in the show is humorously shadowed by his unrequited love for Rachel along with his incessant longing to be a part of the group. Unfortunately, neither of the two work out for him, and he is never able to penetrate the inner circle. Sigh.
Today, the cultural impact of Friends, Central Perk, and ultimately, coffee is massive. There are several coffee chains and local cafes globally that have replicated Central Perk's layout and decor! The show even made fans want to catch up with their friends over coffee (just like the Friends gang). Needless to say, the impact that the show has had on our lives and coffee consumption is endless. Even the last lines of the very last episode of the series depict the characters deciding to get one last cup of coffee with Chandler sarcastically piping in to ask, “Where?”. If you were to ask us, we doubt there could have been a better ending than that.