Independent coffee shops change up daily grind
Caffeine lovers who are tired of making the same trips to Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts, day in and day out, are in luck. The Orlando coffee scene has been growing steadily over the past few years, making way for independent shops that offer exciting flavors and bizarre techniques.
These coffee houses not only offer unique brews and entertainment, they also provide an atmosphere for studying, relaxing or catching up with friends.
The Central Florida Future has compiled a list of Orlando coffee shops that will help to break up the monotony of mornings:
929 W. Fairbanks Ave.
Austin's Coffee is one of the more popular coffee shops in the Orlando area. This store is open 24/7 and has created a loyal fan base throughout the years. Customers can sit in booths or couches indoors or choose to watch the cars go by in the patio area. Frozen drinks help to combat the stifling summer heat, and the menu also offers food if hunger strikes. In terms of entertainment, board games line the back wall for fun during the day, while musicians, poets and stand-up comedians take hold of the night.
706 W. Smith St.
This College Park establishment is all about giving thanks where it's due. This shop is non-profit and accepts donations in lieu of having set prices on its menu. The money earned goes directly back to the Guatemalan and Nicaraguan farmers who grow the coffee. Its website states that when customers "assign a value to their coffee, they become more conscious of where their money is going and are invited to consider the impact it makes." Credo also works a lot with Orlando charities and has taken part in cleaning up the city and giving back to the community.
Drunken Monkey Coffee Bar
444 N. Bumby Ave.
Drunken Monkey is another well-established Orlando coffee shop. It is located across the street from The Plaza Live and a few blocks away from Pom Pom's Tea House and Sandwicheria. Much of the food served here is vegan and vegetarian and it seems to be one of the only places in Orlando that sells Anzac cookies — a sweet, coconut-favored biscuit from Australia and New Zealand. Friday is comedy night, where local stand-up comedians take the "stage."
1221 N. Mills Ave.
This new addition to the Orlando coffee scene describes itself as a half-furniture store, half-coffee shop. Its airy and open interior is decorated with succulents, old-timey pieces and white and gold embellishments. The brick-and-mortar store is mainly coffee oriented, featuring drinks such as the flat white, cortado and mazagran — a coffee drink mixed with lemon juice. Owner Travis Reed runs the furniture portion of his business on Propagation's Etsy page.
Reed hopes to hold some events in his shop, noting that the projector screen in the back of the store has the potential to start a movie night.
626 N. Alafaya Trail
Vespr, located in Waterford Lakes, is a UCF favorite. It has all the classic coffee and tea drinks, and then some. Vespr features interesting choices such as the lavender latte and the Dick Tracy, a bacon-infused espresso. The shop changes out its coffee bean sources almost every month, only renewing if one is particularly appealing. This month's beans come from Brazil, Kenya and Colombia, with each consisting of its own unique flavors within the bean. In addition, the coffee shop occasionally turns into a venue, hosting musicians and other entertainers, said barista Mike Clevenger. These events are held sparingly though, about every other month, he said.
Noelle Campbell is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @Noellecampz or email her at NoelleC@CentralFloridaFuture.com.