What would you do without good coffee? Adulting would be obsolete. Chores wouldn't be completed. Jobs would be lost. Kids would have angry parents. And so on.
Today is National Coffee Day, so let's celebrate it right. As a professional coffee gulper, I am going to help you find the best shops in St. Louis. There's a time where the half-burnt pot at the work station has to do, but September 29th is not that day, so follow along here as I list the five best coffee shops in the city.
5) Tim Horton's Cafe and Bakery, The Pre-work Fix
Do you want that reliable diner coffee taste, but with an extra kick in the butt? Go to Tim's. There's a drive through off Olive and Tucker, a pitstop at Lafayette and 55/44, or the Big Bend/Manchester location. Don't get a twenty ounce tank. Get a small coffee with two shots of espresso. Less trips to the bathroom and an extra arch in your morning grin.
4) Hartford Coffee, the Morning Gear shift
After you have polished off the hot cup of Canadian hockey player lava, head over to Tower Grove South and grab a 16 ounce Iced Americano. It's not 40 degrees outside yet, so feel free to drop some cool temps down the throat to balance things out. A perfect Americano has a backyard fire pit aftertaste to it with a bitter finish. If you have to, drop an extra sugar in there, but drink this beverage as straight as possible.
*Located at 3974 Hartford Street, 63116
3) Sump Coffee, the post lunch refuel
Throw down the Blues City Deli sandwich and then head over to Sump for a strong cup of coffee. Instead of drinking a disgusting 5 hour energy capsule, get serious with dirty water. It's healthier. You'll see a bald man with a long ginger beard named Scott. He may look like an extra from the Sons of Anarchy, but in reality he has the voice of an angel and is a sweet man. You'll look behind the counter and see what looks like a science lab experiment happening with coffee. Beakers, test glasses, and pouring seminars. Don't be intimidated by the menu. Just ask for the Kenya blend. Scott will describe it like Mick Jagger describing the writing process behind Gimme Shelter, but when you drink it, the strength will make the rest of the work day seem like a piece of cake.
*Located at 3700 South Jefferson Avenue, 63118
2) La Cosecha Coffee Roasters, the afternoon mood boost
The Maplewood gents roast their coffee right behind the counter. There's pour overs and serious business going on like Sump, but there's a more relaxed vibe here. One of the owner's is a Royals fan, but that blue is still better than Chicago blue, so go in between 2-4 p.m. for half-priced happy hour, and get a two dollar Cafe Latte. I know what you are thinking: death by a thousand bubbles of foam. But these people do it right, and if you are extra nice, they will drop some honey and vanilla in there. It will almost feel like the weekend.
*Located at 7360 Manchester Road, 63113
1) Shaw's Coffee, the finishing touch
Leave the coffee, take the macciatto. Your final National Coffee Day stop will happen on The Hill, the place where Yogi Berra called home and Frank Cusumano will eat his last meal. You'll walk in, duck out of the way of the huge plants, and ask the lady at the counter for a tall macchiato. This isn't your college campus preppy Starbucks macchiato, with four pumps of caramel and a dab of soy. This is espresso AND foam. Nothing else. It only takes two to make this drink tango. The real deal, minus Arnold. The good stuff. It will come in a small fancy cup sitting on a plate. Head over to a window seat. Relax. Sip. Do not drink. Sip slowly. Savor it. Certain drinks are walks, not marathons.
*Located at 5147 Shaw Avenue, 63110
That's it. Put that coffee down. Coffee is for closers, and you closed the door completely shut. The weekend won't know what to do with you. There could be an urge to run home. Just walk. Forget the free cups of coffee at Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts. Check these places out.
The above five drinks will cost you a grand total of 16 dollars. In other words, two drinks at Starbucks.
Take my word for it. I know my coffee.