Showing posts with label counter culture coffee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label counter culture coffee. Show all posts

Monday, June 26, 2023

Blackwatch Cafe

Subject: Blackwatch Cafe
Location: Scranton, PA
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Many coffee shops exist in a minimalist, white-walled retail space with some minor charm, but sometimes a unique gem works its way into the mix. Such was a winter visit to Scranton to a stand-alone stone shop at a public park where I found what looked more at home in the Scottish highlands than northeast Pennsylvania. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

The Station on Kings

Subject: The Station on Kings
Location visited: Lewes, DE
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

Great coffee coupled with an excellent bakery, garden supplies and home goods is a winning combination that surprisingly few places have attempted, never mind mastered. One of the places doing a great job with said facets is located on the coast of Delaware, in a gorgeous establishment called The Station on Kings. 

Monday, December 17, 2018

Hammerhand Coffee

Subject: Hammerhand Coffee
Location: Liberty, MO
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Some of the prettiest small towns reside in the midwest. In traversing Missouri for example, I have found gems such as Boonville and St. Charles to be delightful stops outside of their more populous (though equally delightful) neighbors. On my last visit to the state while on my way west from St. Louis, I was fortunate to find both a gorgeous locale and a great coffee establishment to add to my list.

Monday, October 08, 2018

The Board and Brew

Subject: The Board and Brew
Location: College Park, MD
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

It often astounds me how few board game cafes I have come across in my travels. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough, but I can count on one hand the number of coffee shops and eateries that have boasted copies of Settlers of Catan and King of Tokyo, never mind full shelves of games unknown to even the nerdiest of poindexters. But fortune shined upon me one cloudy evening traveling through Maryland when I found a true diamond in the rough.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Malvern Buttery

Subject: Malvern Buttery
Location: Malvern, PA
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Since taking up beekeeping as a hobby, I have found that I do not mind driving around with swarms of bees in my car. Granted said bees are in contained boxes called "packages" so the danger of injury is limited to the box opening somehow, but nonetheless there is still something invigorating about high-risk insect chauffeuring. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

e-shot Cafe

Subject: e-shot Cafe
Location visited: Larchmont, NY
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Even though I am a huge fan of the automobile, trains are still my favorite way to get around a metropolitan area. Sadly when those trains get out into the suburbs, most towns do not possess a complimentary infrastructure, with the train station often being far from shops and cafes (usually to accommodate parking). Thus, to find a decent coffeehouse near a train station appears as rarely as an open seat during the morning commute. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Subject: Lorca
Location: Stamford, CT
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

If there's a state in which I started off on the wrong foot, it was Connecticut. As one of the first states to grace my youthful eyes, the land debuted as merely a glorified series of congested interstates. No sooner had I entered into Connecticut did I wish to be rid of it on the other side, destined for tourism in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and other points north. Now older and wiser, I have realized how many gems I have missed in the many towns of CT. To make up for lost time, I recently began retracing old road trips but using time-tested logic of seeking local dining establishments instead of truck stops and coffeehouses of repute versus caffeinated drive throughs.

Monday, October 02, 2017

The Spoke and Bird

Subject: The Spoke and Bird
Location: Chicago, IL
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

Having gone to McCormick Place in Chicago more times than I have eaten deep dish pizza, it has become a point of mine to find good coffee in reasonable walking distance from the giant halls that occupy much of my day when I visit Illinois. Over the years, Chicago's blooming coffee scene has made this hunt for quality coffee less and less daunting, with this past visit turning up a coffee shop a mere three blocks away. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Drip N Scoop

Subject: Drip N Scoop
Location: Ocean City, NJ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

I have seen many attempts to bring good coffee to the NJ coast and sadly, only a few enterprises have succeeded. Whether it's an affinity for over-roasted beans, cutting corners, a disregard for training/quality, or any combination of the three, I've seen it all at the Jersey shore. Thus, when a shop does things right, they deserve their praise due. 

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Factory Fuel Co.

Subject: Factory Fuel Co.
Location: Flemington, NJ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

Growing up in NJ, I have come to appreciate interstates and large highways. Sure some lack aesthetic beauty (especially in the northeast corner, near NYC), but with the amount of volume pumping through the veins and arteries of the state, I have become less concerned with the natural vistas when I am trying to get from Bordentown to Rahway in under an hour.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Condesa Coffee

Subject: Condesa Coffee
Location Visted: Old Fourth Ward, Atlanta, GA
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

For as much as I love the crisp air of winter and snow-covered mountain peaks, I definitely more enjoy sitting outside in a tshirt while sipping on a great cup of coffee. The warmth of Atlanta provides plenty of days for such activity, and coffeehouses like Condesa's O4W (Old Fourth Ward) location have tremendous patios for their agoraphilic patrons like myself.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Taproom Coffee and Beer

Subject: Taproom Coffee and Beer 
Location: Atlanta, GA
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

It seems that as the years march on, coffee and beer become better friends. For awhile, they only coexisted in the same house. Then some years ago, coffeehouses began featuring quality drafts offerings, mostly in localities where a liquor license didn't preclude such a team-up. Now with nitrogenated coffee (and tea) offerings popping up across the globe, it seems that the only thing separating coffee from beer are their chemical compositions.

Thursday, June 30, 2016


Subject: Cure
Location: Norfolk, VA
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

It's my habit often when visiting with friends on the weekend to seek out a good brunch and then a good coffeehouse. While the landscape is still improving, sadly few places know how to do brunch and great coffee, so to keep it simple I usually keep my coffee stops separate from my brunches.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

SIP Cafe and Coffee Bar

Subject: SIP Cafe and Coffee Bar
Location: Northampton, MA
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

There are few things that rival a beautiful, sunny drive through the hills and mountains of western Massachusetts. While the wilds still remain largely unexplored to me, I have had the pleasure of venturing into many of the towns around the area, with one of my favorite being Northampton. Its dapper shop-lined streets and surprising number of coffee establishments has consistently brought me in town whenever I'm passing through.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Early Bird Espresso and Mercantile

Subject: Early Bird Espresso and Mercantile
Location: Frenchtown, NJ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Right along Route 29 above Trenton exists some of New Jersey's prettiest scenery. Growing up within a 45 minute drive, I would love romping through Washington Crossing and patronizing towns like Lambertville with their antique stores, medieval weapon shops and local bistros. The area is also one of few spots in NJ with a long-standing quality coffee presence at Rojo's Roastery, a fact that kept Route 29 a common route for me. Fortunately, the slow growth of quality coffee has finally led to another tulip flowering about 15 miles north on 29 in Frenchtown, an outfit called Early Bird.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Cafe Volan

Subject: Cafe Volan
Location: Asbury Park, NJ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

There are two things all Jersey residents agree upon: a deep loathing for the NJ Turnpike and a noticeable respect for the musical heritage of Asbury Park. Once recognized only as a quiet beach resort, the town now tightly holds a landmark reputation for producing stellar rock acts. Today many triumphant musical acts still frequent its bars, and thankfully a similar thirst for excellence has finally spilled into the local coffee community, specifically at a joint called Cafe Volan.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Espresso a Mano

Subject: Espresso a Mano
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Despite its relatively close proximity, I don't make it to Pittsburgh as much as I would like. It's like an old college buddy that has a conflicting social schedule who lives too far away to visit without lodging. Fortunately, when the opportunity knocks to make a stop in the Iron City, I make sure to swoop in like an old chum (suddenly and without warning) for a brief respite.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015


Subject: Vespr
Location: Orlando, FL
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

It seems like every time I visit Orlando, the coffee scene gets better and better. My latest trip south took me to a shop in East Orlando that had quickly accrued a reputation for great coffee, a decently-sized establishment called Vespr.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Half and Half

Subject: Half and Half
Location: St. Louis, MO
WiFi?: Yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

It is no secret that everyone loves brunch. There's just something magical about the wondrous combinations and concoctions that become available on weekend late mornings. Sadly, not every brunch place is worth your dollar, and for my money, if I am plopping down to enjoy a hearty meal with a close kinship to breakfast, I want a place with great coffee.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Bloom Coffee and Tea

Subject: Bloom Coffee and Tea
Location: Northfield, NJ
WiFi?: Yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

*Update 2.27.19*
This place has long since closed and the area still has not found a suitable replacement :(.

The wonder of summer often conjures up glorious images of sandy beaches, cerulean skies and refreshing ocean water. I know the mental slideshow well, as I have spent many a summer visiting the gorgeous towns of the southern NJ coast. Yet for all the summer magic that the coast brings, it still largely lacks great coffee.