Ever since I realized I would eventually have to open my own coffeehouse (or feel as if I'd cheated fate), I've made a point to visit every privately owned coffee venue I could find. (I also read blogs about coffee - check out V. Furnas' blog post Have a Cup of Joe). I've kept a notebook of ideas, drawn up potential floor plans, agonized over names, stolen a menu or two, and discussed and rediscussed opening and closing hours, the types of art and music I will showcase, and any extracurricular events. I'm going to have coffee from Laos and a Pottery-Barn meets Free People look, hold literature readings and play old movies once a month on a projector, and host Thanksgiving dinner for any college kids who couldn't make it home. Of course, all this depends on financing, but who knows? Maybe I'll win the lottery. And also hire someone to teach me how to "keep books."
At any rate, I thought I'd make a list of a few of the coffeehouses I've visited (in no particular order). Please share your favorites (near or far) and I'll do my best to visit them someday!
Cool Beans Coffee Roasters - Marietta, GA - The best coffee in Atlanta. I think.
Hiram Coffee House - Hiram, GA - Historical building, neat decor, great menu. Good breakfast nook.
The Crimson Moon Cafe - Dahlonega, GA - This place has a terrific light roast. Try to go when Tom and Julie are performing.
L&L Beanery - Blue Ridge, GA - My last band actually played here. This is a fun spot to visit.
Grinds & Glazes - Blairsville, GA - Doughnuts, coffee, and friendly employees.
The Channel - Greenville, SC - Tm and I actually volunteered here a couple years ago. I learned how to make a few specialty drinks and Tim ran the sound system. This venue is run by an amazing couple who are also using it for ministry purposes in downtown Greenville. Great coffee, food, and music!
The Dripolator Coffeehouse - Black Mountain or Asheville, NC - I've actually only been to the Black Mountain venue, but I'm sure they're equally good! Artsy atmosphere, hippie customers, and if I recall correctly, terrific muffins.
Greensage Coffeehouse - Asheville, NC - This cafe also has an excellent light roast (I'm kind of picky). Also a really good spot for tea-lovers!
Malaprops - Asheville, NC - A cafe/coffeehouse inside a book store! What more could you want?
Quotations Cafe - OR - Brighter Day Coffee - Brevard, NC - I love visiting Brevard and these are my two favorite spots to get coffee when there.
Bucks Coffee Cafe - Highlands, NC - Set in the southern tip of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this is the perfect spot to relax, read a book, or take a hike - but coffee first.
Cork & Bean - Bryson City, NC - Coffee or wine, or both! Why not.
Black Bear Coffee Company - Hendersonville, NC - Yes, I did actually spend an entire years-worth of weekends just visiting small towns in North Carolina for the express purpose of drinking their coffee.
Shenandoah Joe Coffee Roasters - Charlottesville, VA - Funky setting and some of the best coffee in VA.
Williams Fresh Cafe - Waterloo, Canada - This is actually a chain and I've only been to the one in Waterloo, but I could live in this place. I don't think I've ever been happier with atmosphere or coffee, including Tim Hortons.
East Coast Coffee - (it's better, really). We stopped at several amazing little coffeehouses on our roadtrip up the East Coast. I can't remember any names or specific locations right now, but it's totally worth doing!
Chains - Although I always prefer something local, if I must choose a chain I like The Atlanta Bread Company, Einstein Bros Bagels, Jittery Joes, Dunkin' Doughnuts, or Caribou Coffee for coffee, Starbucks for oatmeal and atmosphere (gross coffee, though), and my kitchen for Maxwell House. Plus I've found I hate it when they give me coffee in a porcelain mug. My apologies to the environment, but I want a to-go cup that nobody else has ever used before, with a sleeve, lid, and everything. Coffee Snob Much? You bet. I am Cathy Coffee, mister, the bastard offspring of Mrs. Folger and Juan Valdez.
You didn't think I could possibly conclude without referencing Lorelai, did you now?