Public Program Model 1: Coffee Klatch

Coffee Klatch


The coffee klatch is an intimate yet casual conversation among families, friends, neighbors, and citizens within a community. It may be held at a local coffeehouse or café or community center. A facilitator or leader should be identified to guide the discussion and make it possible for all participants to engage in the meaningful exchange of ideas.

Sample Agenda (60 minutes)

  • Start–10 minutes Introductions
  • 10–15 minutes Leader introduces discussion topic
  • 15–60 minutes All participants engage in conversation about that topic

Target Audience

The coffee klatch public program may be marketed to interested members of the general public within a specific community. Special focus might be placed on students, parents, teachers, lawyers, community or civic leaders, or those people who are frequent visitors to the particular location.

Continuing the Discussion

The coffee klatch model relies on engaged participants. There are opportunities to engage participants before, during, and after the conversation. Before the coffee klatch, consider using a website, email, or social media outlets to pose key questions to potential participants or publicize relevant hashtags. Participants might also read an article or book beforehand, in preparation for discussion. (See Selected Readings on pages 22–23 in this publication for ideas.) During the coffee klatch conversation, the facilitators should do their best to include everyone and not allow one or two individuals to dominate the discussion. After the discussion is over, consider directing everyone to a website or social media outlet to continue the discussion.


Civility and Free Expression in a Constitutional Democracy is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities under the Bridging Cultures initiative. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Bar Association, or any of its program partners.