In recent months I have become a coffee addict. It was a combination of completing two degrees, making plans for the future – occasionally having those plans fail, and living with my pot-a-day sister that did the trick and increased my caffeine consumption tenfold.
I used to dabble in the land of the java-junkies – but only if my coffee was hidden underneath a froth of milk and pounds of syrup. Don’t get me wrong – my favorite drink in the whole world is still the Honey Bee Latte from Black Dog on the Square (If you’re ever in Tallahassee, FL – look it up), but I have recently toned it down and have taken to drinking black coffee, most mornings.
On the days I am not crawling to the Keurig, I have taken it upon myself to venture out – with my trusty and knowledgeable Barista sister, to find the best coffee shops in South Florida. I have dubbed this adventure the Great South Florida Coffee Tour and it is possibly one of the best schemes I have ever thought up – at the very least it is the most official.
Having lived in Tallahassee for four years, I found myself spoiled by having so many great college coffee shops within walking distance, some of them twenty-four hours, all (rightfully) boasting about how they have the best organic vegan treats. When I had to head back home I clung to memories of apple bars, nitro brews, and the cute personal teapots I had left behind as I was faced with what I thought were the only two options I had: Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. While both shops have their merits and are great when you need coffee “like right now” – I missed the idea of setting up shop, of spending an early morning or a long afternoon working, my coffee in an actual mug, listening to something other than elevator jazz.
Thankfully, I am not one to pick convenience over quality, and I am definitely cool with scrolling through every review on Yelp to find the best my location has to offer. So without further ado, here are the first five stops on the Great South Florida Coffee Tour (with the hope that it will expand through the rest of Florida, the South, THE WORLD)!
The following list is in chronological order of when my sister and I visited these shops. We don’t rank coffee shops, we only caffeinate and appreciate.
1. Warsaw Coffee Company – Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Okay, so our visit here was more than a few weeks ago, and it definitely happened before I gave birth to the GSFCT, BUT I believe that every great epic has an even greater origin and Warsaw is it.
Industrial, stylish, and pretty massive for a coffee shop (think brewery-style, but for coffee), Warsaw looks more like it should be found in SoHo instead of SoFlo. There’s an equal ratio of outside to inside seating and their menu offers more than just your standard: drip, espresso, and assorted pastries. Warsaw is the place where I caved in for the overnight oats fad and lemme tell you, it was a great decision. Mixed-berry overnight oats with a lavender latte? UM HELL YEAH. Finally, I had found something to rival my Tallahassee haunts. On the first full day of my final college spring break, I was full, warm, and felt trendy AF as I sat and sipped from real & very large mugs with my sis. It was a very good morning.
2. Lady and the Mug – Coral Springs, FL
This is my signature hang-out. A five-minute drive from my house, Lady and the Mug saved me when I moved down south. Like I said before, we don’t have a lot of coffee options in my town and before Lady and the Mug, all of those options gave me a paper cup with my name missed spelled on it. Few things turn me off more than not being offered a real mug in a coffee shop – it is just the principle of the gesture, it says “Here, we care enough to wash this out later. Please stay a while.” Luckily, LATM (a Yelp find that had JUST opened) is not short on mugs nor hospitality. Featuring the smoothest Nitro brew, a host of yummy organic tarts and treats, and the cutest indoor swing set you have NEVER SEEN BEFORE, Lady and the Mug is charm personified.
I have tried almost the whole menu and I have to say that my favorites include: the Vanilla Nitro, the Pour Over made with your choice of exotic coffees, the killer blueberry tart, and any latte – ANY. Seriously, get one, even if you just want to witness some of the most adorable latte art around.
Everyone at Lady and the Mug is friendly, the vibe is super homey, warm, and quite honestly I always feel like I am sitting on someone else’s Pinterest board – which is never a bad feeling to have, quite the opposite, in fact.
3. The Alchemist – Wilton Manors, FL
The Alchemist the closest I have gotten to feeling like I am back in Tallahassee. Hidden in a Wilton Manors art park, The Alchemist is aptly named because I am pretty sure that their signature iced coffee is the actual Elixir of Life, or at the very least it is pure gold. Made with 24 Hour cold brew, brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, and whole milk, it is probably doing my waistline no favors, but who cares about that when your heart is crying tears of joy?
Besides the kickass coffee, The Alchemist caters to both sweet and savory cravings. When my sister and I went, I had a Caprese slicer that may have lifted me to Enlightenment and my sister’s Mocha Chip Waffle is pretty high up on my list of best waffles, ever (just behind the Liege waffle from BToo in D.C.).
We sat outside, next to their overflowing community garden and the equally delicious French Creperie next door, drinking early morning magic.
4. BREW Urban Cafe – Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Oh, Brew, what can I about this place except that the first time I walked in I almost cried – VERY LITERALLY. I lost my breath for a second because Brew is one of the most beautiful spaces I have ever encountered. A colossal bookcase spanning the length of the bar and stretching from floor to ceiling. A garage door at the side, open, flooding old armchairs and couches in light.*
*You know the feeling you have of inhaling deeply, mornings, when you see dust floating by a window? Take that feeling and apply it to your mental image of Brew.
Brew is part of an idea agency known as C&I Studios in FATVillage. With photo shoots happening on the reg next door and a giant silver trailer that has been converted into a pop-up shop, Brew is a creative dreamspace.
Also: they, like Warsaw, have a killer lavender latte.
5. Stache Drinking Den + Coffee Bar – Downtown Ft. Lauderdale, FL
It took two trips to Stache to have us in awe – but that is only because the first time we trekked to downtown Ft. Lauderdale the infamous speakeasy (and daytime coffee bar) was closed for 4th of July festivities. Fortunately, we made plans to head back a week later and were not disappointed.
Stache is a club and coffee bar styled like a prohibition-era speakeasy. When we arrived the lights were dim – even at 10:00am, and everything seemed slightly worn. Amid vintage couches and parody portraits of the Founding Fathers, Stache has what is probably the most impressive bar I have ever seen. Two stories of liquor nestled behind an oak counter, high top tables dotting what later becomes a dance floor.
But, we did not go to Stache for the alcohol, so we pivoted and walked over to the coffee bar hidden in the back of the space.
Panther Coffee is the roaster of choice at Stache, and it is definitely the right one. I got a standard drip while my sister opted for the french press. It was quiet, even for mid-morning on a Thursday. It’s hard to believe that a few hours before this space was raging, even harder to believe that just outside the doors it’s Florida, mid-2017.
Thank you for reading! Let us know what you think and if you have suggestions for our next stop on the Great South Florida Coffee Tour.