Huntsville Coffee Tour: Gold Sprint Coffee

Welcome back to the Huntsville Coffee Tour. We are really enjoying our time on the tour and it will be extended through Autumn and into the Winter season as well. Honestly – coffee is an evergreen commodity to us, here at hippiegrrl.com, so any new places we can fill up on caffeine that open during our time in Huntsville will be tested and reviewed. They might not be a part of the ‘official’ coffee tour, but we are looking forward to any new coffee/tea/cocoa places that pop up.

This time around we are focused on Gold Sprint Coffee, the newest location for caffeination in Huntsville. Gold Sprint has some really great concoctions and they also offer bike repair services. Although we don’t ride bikes (right now) we think this is a really cool offering that no other coffeehouse in the area offers to patrons. My favourite drink, so far, is the Caramel Rosemary Iced Latte. The food menu is small, but robust with both breakfast and lunch items available. They also offer pastries from local bakeries that go well with their drinks. The cannoli toast is my personal favourite and the avocado toast also hits the spot. If you are in the Lowe Mill area, you need to check out Gold Sprint Coffee. And now – here are our ratings:

  • Beverage Score = 8
  • Ambiance Score = 15
  • Location/Hours = 10
  • Price =   10
  • Staff/Service = 35
  • Social Media = 30
  • Total = 108
  • Rating = 65%

The score above puts them in tied position with Offbeat Coffee Studio for first place and ahead of Honest Coffee Roasters! It is great to see these newer locations really bumping up the quality of coffee and eats in the Hunstville area. When we moved here (August 2018) our favourite place for coffee was Honest, but these 2 new locations are truly giving them a run for their money.

If you are interested in the overall information, along with rules and rating system for the Huntsville Coffee Tour, please take a look at the first post in this series: Huntsville Coffee Tour. Peace and happy caffeinating!

Coffee Cup In Sunlight

Huntsville Coffee Tour: Offbeat Coffee Studio

For this second review on the Huntsville Coffee Tour, we visited Offbeat Coffee Studio, located in Campus No. 805, right next to Straight to Ale. Tucked into a corner of this old school, Offbeat offers not only coffee but also records for sale to satisfy the resurgence of vinyl collectors.

The name is apropos as they offer a few different concoctions that one might consider offbeat in nature such as shots of espresso over giant marshmallows or cereal milk to use in coffee and espresso-based drinks. Yes – I said cereal milk! Ask for the daily cereal milk flavours when you visit – you will not be disappointed. My favourite is Lucky Charms, but Cinnamon Toast Crunch would probably do well in a latte too.

We visit Offbeat often, so you would think they have a leg up in this rating system, but we are trying to keep our bias to a minimum. Trying. On that note – let’s see their scores…

  • Beverage Score = 8
  • Ambiance Score = 15
  • Location/Hours = 15
  • Price = 15
  • Staff/Service = 30
  • Social Media = 25
  • Total = 108
  • Rating = 65%

For more information about the scoring system, please read our intro article, Huntsville Coffee Tour and check out the competition in our post on Honest Coffee Roasters. Have a wonderful Sunday and keep on caffeinating!

Peace, Chantale aka hippiegrrl

Huntsville Coffee Tour: Honest Coffee Roasters

Welcome back to the Huntsville Coffee Tour! The first location that we visited for the Huntsville Coffee tour was Honest Coffee Roasters. They provide excellent coffee and a pleasant atmosphere to hang out for a little while. When I was working part-time last year I spent a lot of my afternoons on my personal computer at Honest and they were always very welcoming. Being a busy location, though, has its downside. Sometimes it is impossible to get a seat inside. Luckily there are many locations for excellent coffee in the Huntsville area and in this series we are rating them all. For a refresher on the rating system, please see this previous post, Huntsville Coffee Tour. And now, here are the results for Honest Coffee Roasters:

  • Beverages = 8
  • Atmosphere = 10
  • Location/Hours = 10
  • Price = 15
  • Staff/Service = 20
  • Social Media = 20
  • Total = 83 out of a possible 165
  • Rating = 50.3%

Being the first location to get a rating, this doesn’t seem awful. We don’t believe that any of the coffeehouses in Huntsville will get 100%, but it remains to be seen if 50.3% is a good score. Once we have more scores in we will see!

And now for a detour into my thoughts on coffeehouse culture, in general, in 2019…

One of the things that I really miss about coffeehouses in Buffalo (in the 90s) was the social interaction that occurred within those walls. Political and cultural discussions were plentiful. Drinking copious amounts of caffeine and smoking real cigarettes indoors while playing mancala and discussing the news of the day was standard. Nothing compares to that time in history and I realize that. This is why I’m not comparing the coffeehouses of Huntsville to other cities or other times in coffeehouse culture history.

The 90s in most cities was a very different scene than we see today. Technology has changed the way we interact in public spaces. The proliferation of WiFi and the welcoming of individual tech by coffeehouses has given each patron the ability to exist in public space without interacting with other humans. This severely shifts the culture of what coffeehouses were meant to be. For the current generation, this is a welcome outcome, but for a GenXer, it can be super rough to integrate into this new way of being in public. Although – I am typing this in a coffeehouse right now, with my headphones on, so it seems that I have made the transition pretty well. I still yearn for the days of interacting with the baristas and arguing with professors stopping in for their cups of java between classes. I miss the times sitting on couches and just chatting with someone I never would have talked to otherwise. That time is gone, but we can look back with fondness.

Peace and happy caffeinating!

Chantale aka hippiegrrl

If you are interested in reading more about the Buffalo, NY coffee scene in the 90s, check out my articles on genXreactions.com:

Buffalo, Then (Part One)
Buffalo, Then (Part Two)

Huntsville Coffee Tour

It has been 10 months since we moved to Huntsville and I have yet to tell you about the coffee culture down here. If you know me in real life, or simply from this site, you know how much I love the java, so it didn’t take me long to visit all the spots around town, once I got my bearings.

The winter was quite rainy and so there were many occasions to sit inside, with a latte (or chai or black coffee) and read a book. My ratings, therefore incorporate several variables. Being a social scientist at heart, you know I had to have a few scales and some stats to back up my scoring.

On that note, here is the key I will be using to score each location:

  • Beverages:
    • Not good = 0 points
    • Semi-good = 2 points
    • Good = 5 points
    • Excellent = 8 points
    • Superiour = 10 points
  • Ambiance:
    • Cozy seating = 5 points
    • Stellar sound system = 5 points
    • General vibe is favourable = 10 points
  • Location/Hours:
    • Easily accessible by car/mass transit = 5 points
    • Extended hours (nights/weekends) = 5 points
    • Open on Sundays = 5 points
  • Price:
    • Variable price structure = 5 points
    • Espresso drinks are under $5 = 5 points
    • Offer a low priced, drip coffee option = 5 points
    • Donates a portion of proceeds to a cause = 10 points
  • Staff/Service:
    • Staff is friendly and upbeat = 5 points
    • Staff is knowledgeable = 5 points
    • Staff is not condescending = 5 points
    • Service is quick, relative to the beverage being created = 5 points
    • Table service = 5 points
    • Recycling available = 5 points
    • Reusable containers = 5 points
  • Social Media:
    • Strong social media presence = 25 points
      • Updates Instagram/Twitter/Facebook frequently with interesting content
    • Mediocre social media presence = 10 points
      • Updates at least one social media site weekly
    • Has a website = 5 points
    • Website link does not go to Facebook = 5 points

And now for the locations…

  • Alchemy Coffee
  • Flint River Coffee
  • Gold Sprint Coffee
  • Honest Coffee Roasters
  • Offbeat Coffee Studio
  • Old Town Coffee
  • Sugar Belle

In the coming months, I will be revisiting each of the coffeehouses for scoring and post a review after each visit. This is a summer endeavour, so I am hoping that these coffeehouses really deliver during these next few months! I have a front runner in mind, but at this point it could really be any cafe that takes away the top ranking. There won’t be actual prizes, but bragging rights are a win. So, get ready for some great coffee and come back often to see which coffeehouses I have visited and my take on each location. If nothing else, I will be heavily caffeinated and get A LOT of writing done, right?!

Peace, love, and caffeination,

hippiegrrl

All the coffee

The coffeehouse industry in Buffalo is thriving and I am thoroughly missing it. Since we moved to Huntsville (in early August 2018) 3 new coffeehouses have opened in Buffalo. The Intersection (formerly Cafe Taza), Overwinter, and Roots Coffee and Tea all appear to be super cool spots to hang out on a cold evening and enjoy a cup of coffee with friends.

There are also the old standbys – Public Espresso, Sweetness 7, Caffe Aroma, Undergrounds, and Em Tea Coffee Cup. Each location with its own style and sense of what coffee should be. Public focuses on the hipster market, while Sweetness keeps the atmosphere very hippie. Undergrounds offers an extensive menu of sandwiches along with great coffee and Em Tea Coffee Cup is the perfect place to get a quick lunch any day of the week.

Aroma is the oldest of those listed (and holds a special place in my heart having been a regular customer there since the 90s) and has the most consistent shot of REAL Italian espresso in the city of Buffalo. The fact that you can have a glass of wine or a shot of Bailey’s in your Irish Creme Latte is reason enough to brave the evening crowds at Aroma after taking in a concert at Kleinhans or Rockwell Hall. Top that with a bit of homemade Tiramisu and your evening is complete!

Remedy House and Tipico are both wonderful spots if you are looking for an excellent pour over in the city. Both are located on the West side and offer coziness along with comfortable spots to work in relative seclusion. Tipico boasts some of the best toasts in town, my personal favourite being the walnut, honey, and chevre on the daily bread. Remedy House offers pastries on a rotating basis from local bakeries, most especially the Five Points Bakery located across the way from their corner location.

The spot that really makes me miss Buffalo, though, is Grindhaus. The owner is ever welcoming and provides the Allentown community with a wealth of vegetarian lunch options, along with excellent pour over and the best lemonades in town. If I could have a VLT and a blueberry lemonade for lunch every day, I would be in heaven. There is absolutely nothing like it in Huntsville and, honestly, nothing else like it in Buffalo. The open and inclusive atmosphere caters to groups as well and makes for a wonderful environment for meeting and planning the revolution!

When I return, to visit, Grindhaus will most definitely be one of my stops and I will probably be there a few times during my stay. There is just something so nostalgic and relaxing about this little spot on Allen street. Seriously – if you live in or near Buffalo, and you have not been to Grindhaus, make the trip. You will NOT be disappointed!

These are my favourites, what are yours? Please let me know in the comments.

Peace and happy caffeinating!

Chantale

from the archive: Coffee and Books

Here at hippiegrrl.com, there have been some changes over the past few months. I am exploring new ways to use this 15-year-old site and, in the process, have spruced up the place a bit. I hope you like the new look. The next step is, most likely, to move to a blogging platform for ease of use.

I realize that, over the years, I have always coded the site from scratch (in notepad), but the day has come to move to an easier option. Don’t get me wrong, I still adore coding, but I feel like my coding skills can be put to better use creating templates for the WordPress application and updating my installed blogs on the platform. To this end, hippiegrrl.com has been moved to a website platform and will temporarily be a space for writing and sussing out ideas.

So – after all that build up – the next hippiegrrl adventure involves books, coffee, and music playlists. Whether that adventure will remain at hippiegrrl.com or be on a new domain remains to be seen, but for the time being we are here and the writing shall commence shortly. I am feverishly reading books to review and will be updating with pictures and music that relate to reading and caffeine soon. It feels like it is going to be fun and I hope that you will continue to check back often to see where hippiegrrl.com goes.

In the meantime, please be sure to visit the other sites in the hippiegrrl universe for fresh content:
genXreactions
hippiegrrl explains it all
not just girls
hatred be gone
hippiegrrl redux