Category Archives: coffeehouse

Why are those my favorite Atlanta Coffee Shops?

Looking back to the Fall of 2010, when I wrote the post It’s a coffeehouse bonanza. How do I choose?, electrical outlets, Wi-Fi and beverage selection tastes all had their place. As with anything, over time, tastes change.

The coffee shop is still a second home for me when on the road and at home and over these last few years I’ve gotten a lot more particular about what kind of shops I visit and spend time in. It really got me thinking while at Star Provisions and at other coffee hot spots in the heart of Atlanta.

Star Provisions, Atlanta, Georgia

When on a road trip the number of electrical outlets a coffee shop has is important if I need to get work done. If I am just looking to charge my gadgets, now that I have a USB port in my car, a working cigarette lighter, and a portable pocket USB charger, a coffee shop could have them or not and it won’t alter my feelings on the place.

Wi-Fi in coffee shops seems to be a touchy subject these days. I could go either way on the matter. Sure there are times when I want to research upcoming destinations, checkout my social networks and surf the web on my laptop and doing so to some java is perfect. At the same time though you want to take the time to enjoy the coffee, the atmosphere, the conversation, the town or city you are in and having no Wi-Fi enables you to do just that.

Dancing Goats Coffee, Ponce City Market, Atlanta, Georgia, pour over, coffee

Inside the shop, the layout and type of seating has taken a backseat (no pun intended) to the general décor of the shop. High ceilings, artwork and the type of coffee equipment being used, all catches the eye more now. Sitting in front of the coffee machine at Café Intermezzo in Atlanta airport did the trick, not to mention all the conversation between strangers and fellow travelers at the bar.

Cafe Intermezzo, Atlanta, Georgia

As far as seating goes, I’m sure window seating will still catch the eye as well as outside seating opportunities and being able to take in the fresh air.

The front entrance of a coffee shop and the roaming opportunities that surround it are as important as ever to me. The entrance to a shop tells you something right away, whether it’s popular, kept up, unique, etc. When the shop is in a neighborhood, city or part of town that I have not been in the traveler in me wants to see exploration options. A walk with some of the shops brew to beautiful scenery will likely lead me to come back over-and-over again.

As soon as I saw the outside to Condesa Coffee in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood I was hooked. The Midtown skyline views that sat right outside the doors drew me in even more combined with their outstanding coffee.

Condesa Coffee, Atlanta, Georgia, skyline

When going to a coffee shop, I will always give their signature drink a look even if it’s a specialty drink or latte. These days though I am more inclined to experience the coffee itself. Sugar, milk, creamer, chocolate syrup, etc. all have their place, but watching a pour over being made right in front of you and smelling the beans and coffee in its natural state gives me goose bumps. Watching a Kenyan pour over being made at Dancing Goats Coffee Bar within Ponce City Market gave me such a feeling.

Dancing Goats, Ponce City Market, Atlanta, Georgia, pour over, coffee

I did go the signature drink route when at Octane Coffee in Grant Park. Their Ameri-cola, Atlanta’s own Coca-Cola combined with espresso shots, definitely did the trick on that morning.

Octane Coffee, Atlanta, Georgia, Ameri-cola

Doing a basic Google search always helps when looking for independent coffee shops to explore. I’ve found that Swarm (Foursquare), Yelp and asking the Twitter-verse are just as effective. In the states, the blue signs along the interstate in regards to coffee usually will highlight Starbucks, Tim Horton’s and the other big chains. They don’t catch the eye as much now-a-days.

If I do stop for a Waffle House coffee, there should at least be some loaded hash browns alongside. As far as Starbucks goes, I’m not going to lie, the Egg Nog and Pumpkin Spiced Lattes do draw me in from time-to-time, just not nearly as much as before. Tis the season. 🙂

No Google, no maps, no problem. The unplanned, random spot sometimes turns out to be the best. Drip Coffee in the small downtown of Hapeville was such a place. The off the beaten path coffee shop nestled between the downtown ATL and the airport had the eyes wide open as I hung out inside and captured the outside scene.

Drip Coffee, Hapeville, Georgia

Drip Coffee, Hapeville, Georgia

I’m sure a couple of years from now when I revisit this post my tastes in regards to coffee shops will have changed some. By continuing to check out the coffee scene in Atlanta and elsewhere I look forward to discovering the next thing that will give me goose bumps.

What do you look for when exploring coffee shops around home and in your travels?

Chicago: Bucktown’s Ipsento Coffee.

While in the Bucktown (Logan Square) neighborhood of Chicago recently, I was hanging out in a couple of coffee shops. I was tweeting about my whereabouts, posting pictures online (surprise, surprise) and interacting some with the locals. Some of the comments I received online and the questions I was asked face-to-face had nothing to do with where I was at, but where else I should go in the neighborhood, Ipsento Coffee.

So in the early morning the next day I returned to Bucktown and this is what I came up to along N. Western Avenue just north of N. Milwaukee Avenue.

Chicago, Bucktown, coffee shop, Ipsento Coffee

Lots of bikes, racks and outdoor seating in front of the entrance to Ipsento Coffee. It immediately reminded me of the setup in front of Four Barrel Coffee in San Francisco. 🙂

Chicago, Bucktown, coffee shop, Ipsento Coffee

Walking inside Ipsento Coffee the baristas were busy making individual coffee’s as the customers waited amongst the warm, cozy, retro and wood like atmosphere. I ordered my coffee and set up shop on one of the bar stools seen to the left.

Chicago, Bucktown, coffee shop, Ipsento Coffee

The baristas were knowledgeable and friendly asking new customers what their names were and talking to regulars about how things were going. The coffee shop definitely had that true neighborhood vibe. I soon had my coffee, a Nutella Latte made with beans roasted in-house, and laid it to rest on the wooden counter.

Chicago, Bucktown, coffee shop, Ipsento Coffee, Nutella Latte

My pre-sipping routine always involves capturing the caffeinated beverage in all its form. This coffee definitely passed the eye test. A fun backdrop, some latte art and a colorful mug with the coffee shop logo displaying front-and-center. All these things say a lot about the care Ipsento takes in making for a great coffee experience.

A Nutella Latte, @ipsentocoffee style! #Chicago #choosechicago #coffee

A post shared by Aaron Cruz (@elatlboy) on

Oh yeah, I did put the camera down to experience the Nutella Latte. Outstanding. It was recommended from more than one person. Note: I always post my coffee Instagram pictures after consumption has already begun so the coffee doesn’t get cool haha. 🙂

Chicago, Bucktown, coffee shop, Ipsento Coffee, Nutella Latte

Chicago, Bucktown, coffee shop, Ipsento Coffee

Loved the retro Pepsi storage containers that were used as shelves through out. I enjoyed the rest of my latte while reading the paper, brainstorming my future Chicago roamings and using Ipsento Coffee as my #coffice, home base for that early morning. I’m so glad I listened to all the feedback I received the previous day.

If you are ever in Chicago and especially around the Bucktown neighborhood, make Ipsento Coffee your coffee destination. 🙂

Chicago, Bucktown, coffee shop, Ipsento Coffee

Some additional information:

  • Get there early to grab a seat.
  • You can learn Coffee 101, classes offered up on what Ipsento has learned in their coffee travels.
  • 6 AM! Looking for that very early cup of coffee before work? They open up earlier than others in the area.
  • Quieter seating options are available in the back, away from the hustle and bustle of the counter/entrance area.
  • Get the Ipsento Latte! I didn’t have a chance too. Tell me what you think?
  • Check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

What’s a neighborhood in a city you frequent or have come across in your travels that has a great coffee shop, cafe scene?

Scoping Out the Future Flatlands Coffee.

While driving and hanging out in northwestern Ohio recently, I decided to walk around downtown Bowling Green and checkout the future home of a third-wave coffee shop.

Downtown Bowling Green, Ohio

Right on Main Street in-between a gaming store and a tattoo parlor in the heart of a college town…

Flatlands Coffee, Bowling Green, Ohio

…will sit Flatlands Coffee.

Flatlands Coffee, Bowling Green, Ohio

As I have chronicled before, they are right in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign. I am backing Flatlands Coffee because I see the passion and knowledge Ben and Crissy have for coffee, a unique coffee shop design and experience and for helping to bring a welcoming and warm spot to their hometown.

Flatlands Coffee, Bowling Green, Ohio

Photo courtesy of Flatlands Coffee

I was getting goosebumps approaching the vacant building, where no coffee is even being served yet.

Flatlands Coffee, Bowling Green, Ohio

They will be offering up coffee from several brewing methods, at the same time staying away from the specialty drinks you see in a lot of coffee shops. A monthly “specialty” drink will be offered designed to complement a coffees flavor, not hide it. As an example they could serve a fruity Ethiopian as espresso and add sparkling water, cherry juice and a strawberry slice. My mouth is watering just writing this.

Flatlands Coffee, Bowling Green, Ohio

Photo courtesy of Flatlands Coffee

Another thing that raised my eyebrows is that they will offer the customer coffee from numerous roasters along with seasonal offerings. You’ll also be able to buy and take home co-branded, wonderfully designed packages of your favorites, something you don’t see everyday.

Flatlands Coffee, Bowling Green, Ohio

Photo courtesy of Flatlands Coffee

Checkout their Kickstarter campaign, video and my previous post and if you like what you see they are offering some pretty cool, coffeelicious rewards for helping. Next time I walk by that building in Bowling Green I will be going inside. 🙂

You can also find Flatlands Coffee on Twitter and Facebook.

“The” Chicago Coffee for Me.

Chicago has a thriving independent, non-chain coffee shop scene. Every time I’m in the Windy City lots of coffee exploration of course takes place. Each new trip brings new coffee experiences with one exception…

The Wormhole Coffee, Wicker Park, Chicago, coffee shop

…The Wormhole Coffee in Wicker Park. I always find time to walk into the sci-fi themed coffeehouse and order “The” coffee drink for me in Chicago. One Peanut Butter Koopa Troopa coming up.

The Wormhole Coffee, Wicker Park, Chicago, coffee shop

I’m enjoying one as I write this post. So good. There is a DeLorean parked in the back of the shop. Does that mean Marty McFly and Dr. Emmett Brown are here?!

What is “The” coffee drink for you in Chicago? In the city you live near?

A Flatlands Coffee Experience Is On Its Way.

Previous, I wrote about Flatlands Coffee and their Kickstarter campaign to open up a third wave coffee shop in downtown Bowling Green, Ohio.

They didn’t quite reach their goal, but by no means was that the end. Ben and his wife Cassy share a passion and knowledge of coffee and along with some re-marketing, branding and the experience they gained the first time, they just relaunched their campaign.

Their goal is to open up a multi-roaster coffee shop, hand-crafting each cup of coffee, along with participating in the coffee industry through on-site brewing competitions and more.

You can find them on Facebook and Twitter. Also, checkout their new Kickstarter page to see more of what they are all about and how you can help.

I’m looking forward to getting out on the open road to Bowling Green and experiencing the coffee, atmosphere and everything else that Flatlands Coffee will have to offer. 🙂 To more great coffee! Go get em guys!