(Mirror) Let’s face it; there are two types of people; coffee snobs and everyone else. If you are a coffee snob you already have your favorite place where they brew your cup of Joe to exactly the right temperature, roast their own beans and do gawd knows what else to set themselves apart.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are those folks who buy generic coffee, brew a pot and heat up leftovers in the microwave. I, and most readers, fall somewhere in the middle. I certainly enjoy a good cup of strong, cold brew coffee, and I can appreciate the care and work put into making the perfect cup, but I balk at spending more than $5 for a single shot of espresso. Truth be told, I’m perfectly happy with a cup of 7-11 Colombian brew (as long as it’s fresh), as I am with a gourmet cup of black gold.
Whether you’re an aficionado or just want to kick back and get your morning jolt of energy, here are a few local spots to check out. Let’s start with those that are serious about brewing the perfect cup:
SwitchBox Coffee Roasters
3446 NE 12th Ave., Oakland Park
SwitchBox Coffee Roasters co-founders Brian Protsman and his wife, Miriam, opened their coffee shop and roasting facility in Oakland Park in 2016. Since then it has become a hub for those who are particular about their brew. There’s even a small slow brew bar that gives customers a chance to order their brew via a variety of pour-over brewing methods. The beans, sourced from micro-lots from hand-selected farms in South and Central America and East and South Africa, are roasted on premises. Single-origin coffees change seasonally.
Wells Coffee Company
737 NE Second Ave., Fort Lauderdale
Truly a millennial tale, Wells started with a Kickstarter campaign. They bought a roaster, then affiliated with a Boca cafe and, in 2016, acquired their own expanded space in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Of course, the pour-over method is preferred at this Flagler Village location. Be sure to check out the house-made horchata and cold brew coffee on tap.
2430 NE 13th Ave., Wilton Manors
Although better known for its funky, hippie vibe, the folks at The Alchemist are downright serious when it comes to brewing coffee. Cold brew is the preferred method here. After the beans are roasted on-site, they are cold steeped for 24 hours. Try the house version; mixed with brown sugar and sweetened condensed milk for a rich, creamy flavor and poured into a giant glass dispenser where it infuses further. The barista then hand-shakes the brew with coffee ice cubes and serves it in a chilled mason jar.
Warsaw Coffee Company
815 NE 13th St., Fort Lauderdale
Although it’s given up a lot of its square footage to the on-site restaurant Milk & Honey, Warsaw still reigns as one of the area’s coffee-centric headquarters. It features
North Carolina Counter Culture Coffee. While there are those who insist on the Lalita pour-over, most folks are just as happy with a plain old cup of Joe or the usual options, such as; Americanos, macchiatos, cappuccinos, and lattes. The cold brew is available by the bottle to take home.
Brew Urban Cafe
537 NW 1st Ave., Fort Lauderdale
With as many owners as Brew has had (it opened in 2000 as“Two Street Coffee,” then it was sold and rebranded as Brew Urban Café and since then there have been several different owners) you might think it’s more an investment than a coffee-lover’s dream. But, it’s the baristas, many of whom have been since with the company since shortly after its opening, that keep the focus on the Joe. The coffee is locally roasted by Wells Coffee Company (see info above).
Colada Cuban Cafe
525 N. Federal, Fort Lauderdale
For many in South Florida, coffee means Cuban coffee, rich and dark and strong (just like I prefer my men). Colada’s website gives you an idea of what they think about the brew. The splash page proclaims, “Coffee is always a good idea!” And its “manifesto” states, “Coffee doesn’t have to be expensive to be good.” Colada is an off-shoot of the popular family-owned Miramar Bakery in Hollywood and as such, serves up savory and sweet authentic Cuban cuisine to accompany that coffee.
3020 N. Federal, Fort Lauderdale
Climb a steep stairway to the second floor of an unassuming strip mall and you’ll find a funky little coffeeshop with an adjacent performance space where you can catch everything from a séance to a poetry reading. The combo coffeehouse/used bookstore doesn’t worry so much about where the coffee is sourced, but it is a gathering place for artists who enjoy the light fare; gourmet tater tots (in more than 40 combinations), cookies, pound cakes and pies. Undergrounds is like going to Grandma's minus the mothballs.
Stork’s Bakery & Coffee House
2505 NE 15th Ave., Wilton Manors
OK, so the focus is more on the terrific pastries than the coffee, but you can get a good cup of brew here, as well as a terrific pastry or full meal.
2230 Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors
What can you say about this place that hasn’t already been said? It’s a hangout for many in the community, an alternative to the bars for those in recovery. The coffee is decent and the service is quick and i even friendly, sometimes. There’s no website, but you can check them out on Facebook!