The Local Coffee Shop

UPDATE: First of all, huge THANK YOU to WordPress for featuring this post in Freshly Pressed!!  The response has been amazing – Many of you shared your favorite place to grab a cuppa, so I took the time to compile them here for everyone to peruse – Enjoy!

I could come up with a list a mile long of all the things I miss about living in the northeast.

But today I’m especially feeling the absence of local and independent coffee shops here in Miami.

Maybe I’m just not looking hard enough or searching in the right places (If any of my readers can steer me in the right direction, please leave a comment!) – But back home it seemed like you couldn’t swing your arms without hitting a cozy little cafe ready to welcome you with a fresh-brewed cup.

After my sister’s graduation, I sought out one of my favorite coffee joints from my undergraduate years.

It felt nice to just sit and relax there for a little while – I remembered the many hours I spent at their tables, tutoring other students and studying for my own classes …

A few more of my favorites places:

So what’s your favorite coffee shop?



    • Coffee places here are dominated by Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts – There’s just really something warm and inviting that independent cafes have that those chains don’t – Thanks for sharing!

    • It must depend on where you are in southern California; L.A. is littered with Starbucks and Coffee Bean outlets, and there are local proprietors if you take the time to look for them. I really like Barclay’s in Northridge and Venice Coffee in Mar Vista. Unfortunately, I can’t speak to Miami–but a quick Google search for “coffee Miami” brought up some independent places in the first links. Maybe one of those would be what you’re looking for.

      • I’m in the San Bernardino valley area. There is a Starbucks and a Coffee bean out in Rancho Cucamonga, but I’ll have to look and see if there are any of the quaint cozy independently owned types around.

  1. oh how i miss the one of my fav. coffee shops in greenwich village .. i have never found a coffee shop that i could spend hours in, here, in CA ..

  2. The more we share and write posts like this the more we join mindfulness and start avoiding the homogenization which is imposed on us. I felt a beautiful secret revealed from the wonderful pictures and the well written post, as though smiling at me –
    Small is Big!!
    Thank You,

  3. We live in Northern Ontario – the Country Style is located in the Tavern/Breakfast Hangout/Chinese Food Place. Not really cozy like that.
    So our favourite independent coffee hangout is our front porch. Great coffee {tea for me}, great muffins, wonderful conversation and a lovely view :) It works!

  4. This is lovely! And so heartfelt! I feel exactly the same way. There are so few gorgeous cafes to just sit in and love. Some but nothing compared with the cafe culture that is very dominant in other towns and countries which I grew up with. We go Berlin for a cafe fix today! There has to be a million on each block – or seems like. Your photos are beautiful too; they capture the solace and your heart:)

  5. In this side of the world, still Starbucks…it has perfectly fused together great ambience, good coffee, good people and pleasant service. Funny how coffee shops/ cafes have that common thing of making someone who walks through their door feeling cozy and comforted, in many ways.

  6. The UK is also being steadily overrun by Starbucks, Costa Coffee and their ilk. We have a cultural tendency towards teashops over here. My current fave is The Butterfly and the Pig in Glasgow.

  7. Oooh how I miss those coffee shops! I spent hours reading, writing in my journal, drinking loads of coffee and generally just pondering my future. Years later, I have basically given up looking. No such shop in Hells Kitchen, NYC, although I believe Brooklyn may offer it as we remember it. I don’t set foot in a Starbucks, so I basically read at home now. :-/

  8. I love the quaint independent coffee shops. While on a work conference in Newfoundland, there was an amazing one across the street from the hotel. My only regret – not enough time to sit and relax, soaking it in! It was a beautiful little shop!

  9. Yes, the same shop which you can see around the world, eventh in my place is far away from you in Bangkok. It is easy to find Starbuck in any corners. It is a world small and just a metter of Caffeine.
    A place to sit and relax with your friends that is coffee shops.

  10. I am blessed to live in a small town that has a few small independent coffee shops. These places have become very dear to my heart. As I always say, coffee shops are bars for people who get things done. Great Post

  11. Delancey Street Bagels ( is one of my favorite coffee shops near Philadelphia. I was disappointed when they left Bala Cynwyd, because it was closer to my area. It was the perfect location for Sunday morning coffee, reading, and peace! I always try to locate the quaint, local coffee shop when I vacation. It adds to my travel experience!

  12. Can’t tell you my favourite coffee shop, but I can tell you my favourite coffee. It’s a chilli chocolate mocha, home made as no one else does them and they should, then I’d have a favourite coffee shop! Has to be real chocolate full of real cocoa. x

  13. I’ve lived in Florida for eight years now and I am right there with yah. There are many things I miss from the North, good pizza being one of them : ). You should try stopping by some of the Cuban cafes. It won’t have the same cozy feel you’re looking for, but they do have some amazing coffee and food.

  14. Adelle’s Coffee House ( in Dover, NH is my favorite coffee shop in the whole wide world. I’ve traveled in India, Tibet, China, and lived in Brooklyn in the past two years and no place I’ve encountered rivals Adelle’s. Loved your post, hope you find a good local coffee haunt soon. I don’t think I could live in a place without one! best, e.v.

  15. I really enjoy the character of local coffee shops. To me, they’re like independent bookstores — they have a flavor all their own, and that adds to the personality of a neighborhood of shops. I liked your photos, too — that brick wall is cool.

  16. Unless you live in a community that embraces small businesses it is next to impossible to find a local coffee shop. I know in suburban VA it is hard to find one.

  17. Absolutely true. These coffee shops are irreplaceable, I’m lucky to still be situated in the Northeast ;) I would say look at web sites like Yelp, they have tons of recos and reveal places that you might have not spotted. Good luck in your search!

  18. I’ll be lucky if my local coffee shop is as decorative as yours right here… It’s like, they’re saying… ‘w just sell coffee’, period end of story.

  19. We just have a Dunkin Donuts here in my town in southern Delaware. Right now I’m wishing I lived a lot farther north so I could check out the two Delaware coffee shops you listed!

  20. it is the clink and chank of a coffee shop that is as important as the tuning up waves of voices on a shallow beach and the snare-only of the background music which never seems to reach the chorus

  21. I love coffee shops. I started exploring them when I studied abroad in Oxford, and now I’ve been trying to find comparable ones in Austin, TX and Houston, TX. So far I love Monkey’s Nest in Austin (a little more hippie-esque, but great iced teas) and Agora and Te House of Tea in Houston.

  22. Congratulatons on being “Freshly Pressed,” and thanks for posting this article. Reminds me that I am definitley not alone in my appreciation of a good cup of coffee and a good book. We also have a lot of Starbucks shops where I live, but, personally, I do not like Starbucks coffee or their atmosphere. We just acquired a new coffee shop in my home town in Southern Illinois. A couple of doctors bought a building that was originally a movie theater from the late 40’s through the early 60’s. They completely renovated it, designed it in a retro 50’s theater style, with all the accompanying motif, including huge photos of the great stars of that generation hanging on all the walls. Food is very good. Atmosphere and service are equally so. The coffee is excellent. So far, the people from this “small-town” area are so appreciative of this place that they have had to increase their hours of business. Considering your love of the “personal” coffee house, have you ever thought about opening one of your own? It’s those people who genuinely LOVE what personal coffee shops offer who do the best job of running them.

  23. Growing up in Austin, I’ve been spoiled with good coffee shops. I was recently in Ocean City, and was so shocked that I couldn’t find any in town!

  24. i can sympathise with you! ever since ive been in the uk (just over a year now), all i seem to see are starbucks, costa, coffee republic chain shops.
    they have no life in them, no warmth, no feeling, that you get in independent coffee or tea shops.
    that would be another of my dreams…to set up and run a nice coffee shop….but it would ahve to be real busy amd making money! have you ever wondered how small coffee shops make their money? i mean, people like me just buy a coffee or two and stit there for hours and hours..!

  25. I’m lucky that we have lots of independent coffee places here. There are a few Starbucks in plazas and at the mall, but the independents still outnumber them. My fave is the Bean Scene.

  26. Thanks for the post! I’m in South America right now and definitely miss these types of cafés.

    In response to those complaining about Southern Cali, I agree, there definitely aren’t enough in SoCal/West LA but when I need to study, want to chill out, or meet up with a friend or project partner, I typically hit up Amandine (, Literati (, Cacao (, Emil’s Pastry Shop (, or enjoy a nice beverage at some of the smaller Farmer’s Markets.

    I’ll also sometimes go to Profeta ( in Westwood (though it’s super pricey!), Boba Loca in Westwood (, or La Monarca in Santa Monica (
    I know there’s a few on my list to go to in Culver City eventually too…

    Once a few years back, I went to a neat place called The Gypsy Den ( in Santa Ana/OC.

    And, when I’m back home in Syracuse, NY, I always make it a point to go to places like Roji’s Tea Lounge ( and Recess Coffee House & Roastery (Syracuse, This time around on my visit home, I’ll plan on finally going to Second Story (

  27. Reading this whilst sitting at Sweet27 in Baltimore, MD. Drinking an iced coffee. Not only is the coffee shop independent with in-store crafted, gluten-free cupcakes. The coffee itself is provided by Zeke’s. A Baltimore coffee roaster. All local.

  28. Down here in Austin new coffee shops are still popping up. The best new one is Strange Brew – 5326 Manchaca Rd – it’s open 24/7, and dogs are allowed on the patio.
    My default-because-it’s-been-around-so-long coffee shop is Mozart’s – 3825 Lake Austin Blvd Expect long lines on the weekends year round because this is top most suggested places in tourism brochures, but it’s worth the wait.
    I always go to the Empire Cafe in Houston, TX when I’m in town because they make the most accurate cappuccino I’ve had in the States – 1732 Westheimer Rd.

  29. Congratualtions on being Freshly Pressed. That sounds like a coffee term. I am a died in the wool coffee snob. Mine has to be fresh, strong and rich. Sadly many of the local coffee shops don’t get that while Starbucks and Caribou do. We have a chain here in Minnesota, Dunn Bros. They roast their own coffee on site. They are a chain and a franchise but they do it pretty well.

  30. I don’t spend much time in coffee shops these days, but when I was in my 20s, my favorite coffee shop was Cinema Paradiso in Lower Queen Anne, Seattle. I also enjoyed going to the Grand Illusion, also in Seattle. Starbucks was never on my list of favs since I prefer independent coffee shops and houses.

  31. In Seattle, there’s Caffe Vita (in Capitol Hill) & Cafe Umbria (in Pioneer Square), that are wonderful coffee shops which I like to go. There are way too many Starbuck’s, Tully’s and Seattle’s Best. The coffee isn’t that good. However, the new re-branding of some Starbuck’s are nice places to study and you forget you are sitting in a Starbuck’s –> Roy Street Cafe & 15th Avenue Cafe.

  32. A good coffee shops feels comfortable as soon as you go in. It’s an independent home away from home. The smells, the art, the baked goods — together it makes you feel inspired, creative and content.

  33. Not in the U.S unfortunately so reading this will probably be the same for you as it was for me reading about a coffee shop I can’t get to! There’s a little italian place (in London), where they serve great coffee. It’s run by an italian woman who doesn’t speak any english, and her mother cooks pasta in the kitchen. They only serve pasta and coffee . Infact i’m not even sure it has a name to it. Infact, I could just be visiting their home. I’ll never know.

  34. Definitely the coffee shop owned by my friend’s parents, The Debary Coffeehouse. I keep her company there pretty often and you’re right, there is something so cozy and welcoming about independent shops you don’t find in chain stores, especially when you’re escaping the Florida heat.

  35. Kaldi’s Coffee House in New Orleans. It was the first coffee house that I spent significant time in and why these type of coffee shops are my favorite places to spark my creativity. I just love post that take me back. I don’t even think it is there anymore. I lived there back in 1992.

  36. There is a tinyyy coffee shop near me, hidden off the main streets of the city, in a tiny alcove, no sign, no hint that its there. Get inside and its straight out of a french film and Cath Kitson catalogue. Full of little intricate details, old vintage pictures, homemade cotton flowers, hats on hooks, little kitsch signs and momentos, old teapots and mistmatched chairs. Its absolutely perfect. Its that place you go to and sit and wonder why they aren’t everywhere, how chains ever took over with their same interiors and perfectly recreated spaces across the country. :) Love this post, it made me reminisce :)

  37. I would prefer independent coffee shops over Starbucks, etc…. Supporting small business owners is something we all should try to do.

  38. Pingback: Your Favorite Coffee Shops | What. No Mints?

  39. I have to hold my hands up and admit that while I have tried some local independent coffee shops, my favourite is actually my local Starbucks… I think it’s locality to the seafront and small size means it feels very much non chain-like, the welcome from the staff is always warm and friendly, and they make a great sugar-free-vanilla latte… and they let me laze on the comfy sofa as long as I want to too! this is very important when i’m struggling with a blog entry!

  40. i love nothing more then an intimate day with a book and cup of coffee. one of my favorite places is caribou coffee. they have such an open and inviting environment on top of some kick ass coffee coolers!

  41. I live in NYC, it is filled with independent coffee shops. I spend pretty much all my time in coffee shops. People need to keep going, I love my Starbucks, but there is a certain feel to sitting in something different and new, and cozy. So support !

  42. Pingback: Best of 2012 | What. No Mints?

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