the super bowl of coffee
Isn’t it amazing how cozy and comfortable a warm cup of coffee can make you feel? Or how fulfilling or energizing a coffee date can be? According to this crazy (and pretty outdated) list of coffee facts, 49 percent of coffee drinkers would rather give up their cell phone for a month than go without coffee. I mean… what?! While I know there is a national holiday for seemingly everything these days, it seems fitting that businesses, small and large, are celebrating National Coffee Day today. It’s like the Super Bowl or Christmas Day for the over-caffeinated.
Everywhere I go, I try to swing by a local place for a little pick-me-up. (Although, in full transparency, I'm a Starbucks gold card holder.) I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite places and what makes them special in my mind. In August I went coffee and caffeine free, and while I loved not having the sleepies that come following the caffeine buzz, I missed the routine of drinking coffee. A nice, hot cup can be cozy; an iced coffee on a hot day can be so refreshing. I’m now in the process of balancing out my caffeine and coffee intake so that I’m not a java monster but still get to enjoy it. *
So grab your mug and cozy up with your phone/iPad/computer/wherever you're reading this and get excited.
New York: This is a work in progress for me (and warrants a list of its own, TBH), but I have a few go-tos so far. Some are near my office and some are near our apartment; both are neighborhoods I’ve come to love.
If you want to feel hip and drink some great coffee, swing by Irving Farms. I personally love the Gramercy stop because the neighborhood is beautiful and everyone who works there is extremely friendly. Think “cool” but not-quite “hipster,” with a bunch of professionals getting their pick-me-up.
Tiny in size but big in flavor and “chill vibes,” Daily Provisions is a nice hidden gem near my office that makes me feel like a cool in-the-know person, even though my entire office swears by it, hah.
Fun fact: much of my blog’s content is written here. :)
This is as close to a “heritage house” that I think I might get here, but stay tuned. They have zebra wallpaper that is very fun.
Mellow Yellow’s feature article linked about nails it - it feels like you’re getting coffee in a friend’s living room. It’s a nice neighborhood staple.
Allentown, Pa.: While I don’t really have go-to places to sit and read/write/hang for coffee at home that aren’t, there are a few staples.
I mean, I don’t go to Wawa to hang or get cozy, but it sure is a great cup of coffee
Yes, there is a coffee shop inside the greatest place on earth
Washington, D.C.: I didn't branch out a ton that summer (there was a Starbucks basically in our building...) but I did find some true gems in the District.
I’ve realized this is a chain, but it’s a nice, consistent cup of coffee if we’re trying to go somewhere that isn’t Starbucks
Honestly, I could spend hours sitting and snacking in here. It’s in the heart of Georgetown, has the best cupcakes and coffee with cozy seating and (intentionally) no public wifi. You’re encouraged to bring a friend, a book or be open to finding some new people to chat with.
My former manager took me here on a walking meeting last summer and I LOVE it! It’s so cool and tiny, but was super busy every time I went in.
One of my sorority sisters showed me this place during my summer interning in Cincinnati! We went to Zumba in the park and then went for coffee here. It was packed on a Saturday morning.
I would often drive through here on my way to the office of my first internship - it was so cute, and reminded me a little bit of Heritage House.
Perhaps the underdog, I saved the best for last:
Tuscaloosa, Al.: Some of my favorite conversations, moments and struggles during college took place in a coffee shop. And, randomly enough, Tuscaloosa has evolved into a pretty cool local coffee scene.
Heritage House - a T-Town staple.
On Valentine’s Day, my friends and I went there to do homework, drink some coffee and treat ourselves to a piece of cookies and cream cake. When I accepted my job offer, I took the “announcement photo” after a homework date there. When my family came for parents weekend, we walked the river walk and stopped in for a pick-me-up. It was rare to walk into Heritage House and not see a familiar face, or feel a little bit more relaxed about things happening in life. I remember being upset in July when I realized I didn’t know when the next time I’d get to sit and drink a cafe au lait in Heritage House would be. The mis-matched chairs, wooden benches, on-point playlists and natural light provide the ultimate cozy and “perfect as-is” atmosphere.
Five Java - more of a hidden gem
I would go here when I can’t be as cozy as I am at Heritage House and need to focus. And, bonus: it’s open on Sundays! It’s a chill vibe that makes for a nice meeting or afternoon of reading/studying. Everyone goes here for brunch, but few stay for the coffee... so enjoy the underratedness.
O’Henry’s - a good workplace
There was a large chunk of time last fall when I spent time here every. single. day. I applied to my first post-grad job here. (spoiler: I didn’t get it.) I ran into some friends I hadn’t seen on campus in a long time. Always managed to get an outlet for my charger.
Monarch - the new cool kid on the block
Monarch opened toward the end of my time in Tuscaloosa, but I quickly loved it. It gave me “New York vibes.” The owners really pour their hearts into building this community, and it’s been so fun to see it come to life. (Plus, they have some really incredible pour-over coffee and avo toast.)
So while the "willingness to be wrong" thing is a major work in progress for me, I will certainly be armed with coffee today.
Where is your favorite coffee shop? What’s so special about it?
Hope you all have a wonderful National Coffee Day - Happy Friday!
P.S. - My friend Caitlin has a fun instagram account called @caits_cup_of_coffee, where she shares and rates coffee from around the world through her friends! Follow :)