Four Things That the Good Coffee Shops Have in Common

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Coffee is everything. It’s a huge staple in our diets. Our brains can’t run without it. It’s also a huge social thing. There is nothing more comforting to the soul than sitting down with a cherished friend at a local coffee shop and enjoying quality time.

But not every coffee experience is the best coffee experience. Because coffee is such a cornerstone in our society, every fast food joint in town is trying to get in on the cafe space (we don’t want to point any fingers but there’s a place with golden arches who’s really tarnishing the sacred cafe experience.) If you think that those cold brews that you can order through a drive thru are equal to the product of a coffee shop who treats it like an art, it’s because you’ve never had a “best coffee experience.”

If you aren’t sure you know the difference between a so-so coffee experience and the best coffee experience, we’ve put together a checklist that will answer that for you.

Four Signs You’ve Never Had a Real Coffee Experience

  1. The best coffee experience involves quality coffee.

    Okay, we get that this might come across a bit dumbed down. Of course drinking good coffee involves good coffee. But you can’t run until you can walk, and the quality of the coffee is a big piece in enjoying a great coffee experience. If you ask your barista (or fast food cashier, because that’s the world we live in) questions about their joe, such as where it is sourced and how it’s roasted, you want to hear the back story. You want the person who makes your coffee to know the benefits of cold brewing iced coffee and why you’d infuse nitrogen into it. If you get a blank face staring back at you or the response “Would you like fries with that?”, you are not in for the best coffee experience.

    In fact, even people who don’t enjoy the art of coffee (or even drink it at all) have better experiences at coffee establishments that take pride in the quality of their bean. When a coffee shop will give you any ol’ dirt water and call it coffee, they’re cutting corners. They don’t care about quality. Nothing they do is going to have that “it” factor that makes you love your experience.

  2. A great coffee experience involves quality eats.

    When you sit down with a hot dirty chai latte in your favorite coffee spot to reread Prisoner of Azkaban for the fifth time, you’re not going to not have a delicious pastry to go with it. A good coffee experience doesn’t involve a burger and fries. That offends the Gods of Coffee. You know you are at the right coffee shop when they offer quality bread and pastries from a quality bakery (preferably local).

    When you’re looking for your coffee spot, you should be just as choosy about the quality of the eats that they offer as you are about the quality of the coffee itself.
  3. A good coffee experience celebrates the simplicity of a good cup of coffee.

    One thing all of the imposters have in common is that their coffee is hidden under a mountain of syrup and whip cream and artificial flavors. This is because the drink itself comes from an instant mix and ain’t nothing to write home about. We aren’t suggesting that you can’t have your mocha frap with two pumps of mocha and a generous helping of whip cream, but that shouldn’t be all that your coffee spot knows how to do.

    When you are trying a new coffee spot, pay attention to the star of the menu. Is it the coffee or is it all the way that the coffee can be disguised to hide how terrible it is?

  4. A good coffee experience makes you feel like you’re in your second home.

    We left this last because it is important. The best coffee experience isn’t just about the coffee, it’s also about the experience. When you walk in your coffee shop, does it make you want to sit down and stay a while, or does it make you want to get what you came for and then get home? A good coffee experience should be better than being at home.

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