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When it comes to coffee shops, it’s easy to say that Starbucks or Caribou Coffee are the top dogs. They have about a million locations, you can get a handcrafted beverage made any way you want it, and you can expect great service no matter which location you turn to.
You might, in fact, be a Starbucks regular. They know your drink, they know what breakfast sandwich you order, and the baristas there probably know a good bit of your life story. When you travel you probably use your app to locate the nearest Starbucks to make sure that no matter where you are, you get caffeinated the precisely the way you like.
4 Reasons Why You Should Give Family Owned Coffee Shops a Try
But all that corporate sameness means that you are leaving a lot of valuable coffeehouse territory unexplored. Family owned coffee shops are a welcome relief to the meticulously uniform Starbucks shops. They offer eclectic atmospheres, incredible coffee beverages, and lots of great amenities like free Wi-Fi. There are actually lots of great reasons to hit up family owned coffee shops, and here are 4 of them.
1. They’re Authentic
Family owned coffee shops are generally not saddled with mass-producing coffee beverages for lines of customers that zig-zag down the block. That means that when you order a handcrafted beverage it’s truly handcrafted. You end up with espresso shots that are pulled by hand, and not by machine. You get cups of coffee that are brewed individually, on the spot, and just for you.
What you get is a more authentic beverage. You might not be able to get a true cappuccino anywhere outside of Italy, but family owned coffee shops can come pretty close.
It’s also common to find coffee houses that roast their own beans right on site, which means that you get the freshest beans, and you get to try unique flavor combinations that will only reinforce your love of all things coffee.
2. The Baked Goods Are on Point
When a coffee shop is owned and operated by a dedicated family versus a corporate entity you end up with baked goods and savory treats that are prepared fresh and not frozen.
Whether they are made on-site, or delivered by a neighboring bakery, you get food that’s fresh, local, and far from ordinary. It means you get to enjoy food that is region-specific, and it makes traveling all the more fun. What’s the point of eating the same blueberry scone regardless of where you are in the country, or the world?
3. They Form a Touchstone of the Community
If you want to get the pulse of the place you are visiting, just head to the local coffee shop to get the latest on all the community events, and find out all the best places to visit and experience.
Local coffee shops are often littered with flyers, business cards, and ads for everything you could possibly need. They make it easy to find out what’s hip in town, and they are often the site of some of the best happenings.
It’s not hard to find an open mic night happening at a family owned coffee shop, or a book club, or a study group. They’re great places to meet new people, and their informal atmosphere’s often foster communication and a little light small talk.
4. They Have Fun with Their Beverages
Family owned coffee shops have to work pretty hard to get attention and attract business. They can’t rely on a brand to sell their experience, so they have to come up with fun ways to generate customers.
One of those ways is to think up creative and even outlandish drinks. When you visit a local coffee shop you’ll probably have to spend several minutes perusing the colorful chalkboard menu to find the perfect drink. You’ll probably have to ask the barista what some of the drinks are, and you’ll probably be surprised by some of the flavor combinations.
Sure, you can order a vanilla latte if you want, but wouldn’t you rather try something with a zany name like a molasses mud pie mocha? These drink creations don’t have to undergo months of testing. They don’t have to pass through focus groups and executive boards. Mom and pop coffee shops simply have the freedom to put on the menu whatever fun creation pops into their heads, and you get to benefit from their creativity.
Get an Authentic Experience Every Time
Supporting family owned coffee shops is a worthwhile pursuit. You’ll get to soak up a little local color, support an establishment that supports the community it serves, and you’ll get incredible pastries and lots of fun drinks while you’re at it.