Buy Local, Be Caffeinated

19 Aug

I don’t just love coffee. I lust after coffee.

Breakfast : husband :: Coffee : ridiculously hot guy that I see on the sly

I love it so much that it’s worthy of it’s own analogy. When I brew at home I use Peet’s French Roast almost exclusively. I like my coffee like I like my men: dark and rich.

Now that we’ve covered almost every coffee cliché in the book, let’s move on to my afternoon. X and her friend Will were meeting for coffee at about the same time that I was getting off work. I (somewhat politely) asked X if she wouldn’t mind my crashing their coffee date and she was more than happy to let me join. I had heard through the grapevine that they were getting their drink on at Hope and Union.

Hope and Union

Neighborhood coffee at its finest

It’s so neighborhoody that they don’t even have their logo or a sign with their name on it anywhere near the front of the building. It’s one of those places that you just kind of stumble into if you happen to see the “coffee” out front. That’s exactly what I did when they first opened. “Coffee? Why yes, I do believe so.” That was the exact conversation I had in my head my first trip there. And with good reason. LOOK at what their barista John served me.

Mason Jar Mocha

Mason Jar Mocha

I’m fairly confident that the glass should say baller mason instead. Because it’s mad baller that I got my “for here coffee” in a glass. Let’s dive in for a closer look.

Up Close Mocha

Who knew soy could be sooo delicious

WHAT. Yes it set me back almost $5 for the drink which is a little steep for everyday; I have to pay a premium for the soy and I fully understand that. But sweet cream of wheat it was glorious. Just a hint of semi-sweet chocolate syrup lingering at the bottom that mixed in just perfectly with the rest of my drink. A classy and stimulating beverage that inspired me to run home and write about it just as quickly as my stubby fingers can fly across the keys.

I’ll say what you’re kind of wanting to say yourself: I strongly dislike Starbucks. It honestly doesn’t matter what I get there, if I ever order a drink that calls for some form of espresso or coffee it tastes acidy and burned. Maybe I imagine this but I feel like my stomach does a backflip about an hour later if ever I partake in a ‘Bucks beverage. All tummy issues aside, I’m going to get on my soapbox for a moment. Apologies in advance, darlings.

I was listening to NPR recently and there was an economist theorizing about the American consumerist economy. Roughly 70% of the economy in our country is accounted for by consumer spending. Don’t believe me?

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e772ac50-bd09-11e0-bdb1-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1VW0JbPy4

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/10/29/gdp_numbers_consumer_spending/

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/aug/16/business/la-fi-consumer-spending-20110816

I’m not going to bore you with more links about our depraved economy, but I will say this: We see this every day on a smaller scale when it relates to local businesses. I have some advice for those of you worried about our economic state. Start small. Buy a coffee. Buy three. Buy local. Support your local coffee shop instead of the behemoth chain that’s sitting at a major intersection. I mean, why would you go to Starbucks when you could enjoy the free wi-fi (yes, there are some things that are still free in this world) at an adorable place like Hope and Union?

Barista Counter

Barista Counter

Kickass windows

Let in all that natural light

Hallway to up front

Tons of seating options

Reading nook

Comfy reading nook

I ask myself from time to time why anyone would ever go to a big chain coffee shop when there are places that are far more inviting, have exponentially greater character and are just right off the beaten path. Another thing that really just put me over the edge and solidified why I like the place:

Water carafe

An actual glass carafe

X was super thirsty and asked the barista for a bottled water. He handed her a carafe and an actual glass for her water. The whole thing. For free. I know a lot of coffee shops offer free water; this is not exactly a novel idea. But to offer free water in a classy, unexpected, old-school way is a cut above. Seriously, who decided on this? Who sat down and said “Let’s not charge for bottled water, let’s give our customers a chilled glass bottle with a homey mason jar glass instead of charging them $3 for a bottle of water that will taste exactly the same as tap water”? I want to hug that person. You want to keep repeat business? Offer things that should be free for free. Don’t rip off the person the first time they ask you for something and then expect them to come back, ahem MIDTOWN BAR AND GRILL, knowing that there will be more people willing to pay because they don’t know any better. Yet.

I honestly feel like Hope and Union is flourishing despite our crappy economic times. They have taken the advantageous route and made lemonade from the proverbial lemon. They embody the whole argument of why one should buy local instead of succumbing to the man. And it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.

Hope and Union Coffee Co on Urbanspoon

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