Do you love cafés as much as I do? I think these neighborhood establishments are one of the few European concepts we do well in the U.S. There is something so wonderfully romantic about meeting a friend to spend an hour amused by a single cup of coffee, and a pastry if you feel so inclined. The constant hum of conversation, the occasional rattle of coffee beans filling a bag, the loud hiss of milk being steamed… It’s a soundtrack on it’s own.
While Small Point was my default last year, this year’s shop of choice is Coffee Exchange. They have wooed me with their cappuccinos, spiced cider, and house roasted coffee beans.
This place is special, it’s the real deal. Coffee Exchange is the type of place where the locals frequent, where students spend any hour of the day hunched over their textbooks and computers and where adults come on weekend mornings to meet up with friends and relish in their freedom from work, all for the promise of quality caffeine. What I most appreciate is the staff, everyone there is wonderfully friendly. Even when the line stretches out the door, you can still expect a smile.
On to the most significant aspect of Coffee Exchange, they roast their own beans. I haven’t tried every roast… the list must contain at least 20 variations, but my devotion lies with the Ugandan Peaberry. These are tiny whole beans french roasted, and they brew an unbelievable coffee. First of all, I’m a picky coffee drinker. If it’s sunday morning, and I’m at a diner for breakfast, I will settle for any brown-tinted, charcoal tasting water. So long as I can load it up with milk and a bit of sugar. Think of that concoction like a brunch cocktail. But when I’m jonesing for coffee, I expect something that’s damn tasty and doesn’t need to be masked by dairy or overwhelmed by sweetness. This Ugandan Peaberry provides exactly that, it’s complex and engaging, and requires nothing but a mug.
If you’re in the area, stop by for a drink and be sure to pick up some beans for home, I promise you will not be sorry.
p.s. If you are interested in what arrives on your plate when you eat out, it’s important to read this. Seeing as how the food industry is not as honest as you think it is, becoming an educated consumer ensures that you get your money’s worth. On a lighter note, the argument on coffee’s benefits vs. negative effects seems to go back and forth endlessly, but this more recent article is telling me to drink all the cappuccinos and the Ugandan Peaberry coffee my heart desires!