Tampa's 10 most interesting coffee shops
Looking to get away from chain coffee shops? The Tampa area is packed full of interesting, alternative places to get your caffeine fix. From the funky and laid back, to modern spots for serious coffee connoisseurs, get a taste of these 10 local favorites. 1. Felicitous Coffee & Tea House: Every great university has a great, funky, off-campus coffee house. Felicitous fills that role nicely for the University of South Florida with lots of hangout space and copious amounts of caffeine and Wi-Fi. 2. Café Kili: Founded in Temple Terrace by Rose Waruinge, the daughter of a Kenyan coffee farmer, this African-themed shop roasts its own beans in small batches and hosts community events. Huffington Post in September named it among the 10 best coffee houses in the U.S. 3. Checo's Restaurant & Deli: Wash down roast pork, black beans and yellow rice or enjoy some Cuban toast with a tall cup of café con leche.4. Sacred Grounds: A favorite of night-owl coffee lovers, Sacred Grounds is known for its casual vibe and its LGBT-friendly atmosphere. Also, the milk used in coffee drinks is hormone-free. 5. Buddy Brew: Coffee roasting was a garage hobby for commercial realtor David Ward. When the economy went south, he and wife Susan turned the hobby into this coffee store. With its casual, urban feel, serious coffee baristas and giant roaster in the room, Buddy Brew quickly took off as a South Tampa coffee spot. Be sure to try the science-is-fun vacu-pot of brew. 6. Jet City Espresso: Former Seattle resident Jessica Glover turned a corner of her Hyde Park home into an intimate coffee shop featuring blended drinks, teas, smoothies and baked goods in addition to Seattle's Best coffee. You'll likely run into customers from the nearby yoga studio. They like coffee, too. 7. Buddy Brew at Oxford Exchange: When Blake Casper wanted a coffee bar for his Oxford Exchange project, he turned to Buddy Brew. The coffee bar not only serves the adjoining restaurant, it also offers cups of cortada, cappuccino and other java using state-of-the-art tools found almost nowhere in the U.S. 8. Kahwa Espresso Bar at Element: In 2006, Raphael Perrier helped found Kahwa Coffee Roasters in St. Petersburg, eventually starting two coffee bars downtown. In the past six months, Perrier has opened two more, this time in downtown Tampa; a sleek espresso bar on the bottom floor of Tampa's Element high-rise condo tower and in the cube of the Rivergate Tower (the "beer can building") along the Hillsborough River. Both are dynamic spots to refuel a caffeine addiction. The one in the lobby of The Cube feels like drinking coffee in a Stanley Kubrick film. 9. El Molino: Carlos Menendez started Naviera Coffee Mills in 1921, named in honor of the shipping line that brought him to America. He worked in a cigar factory during the day and roasted coffee at night, making deliveries by bicycle each morning. The family still roasts coffee four generations later. You can sip their coffee and watch the mills at work through a window in their shop. 10. El Paraiso: This Latin sandwich shop is a great neighborhood coffee stop either on the way to east Tampa or heading into Ybor City. One café con leche with sugar should be enough to keep you awake until the year 2014.
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