It’s not all about the beans

By Katelyn Stevens, Camden HS (Camden, South Carolina)

Just to clear the air, I am not a coffee drinker. I do not thrive off a cup of coffee in the morning. It’s never something I want to make a quick trip for. Ever. Coffee rules the land in America, but I’ve never once been tempted.

Located all over the world we have the popular, chain coffee shops such as Krispy Kreme, Dunkin Donuts, and Starbucks, but there’s more than meets the eye in independent coffee shops that cater to everyone, even a coffee hater like me.

The underground, not necessarily the most well-known coffee shops in Columbia, South Carolina, include Cool Beans, Drip, and Curiosity, which reign in popularity for locals.

Their customers are just as loyal to them, flaunting their customer loyalty cards, wearing t-shirts, and using their reusable mugs as others are to Starbucks. The local, underground coffee shops are great representations of exceptional businesses that are not always in the spotlight but should be.

In a recent visit to the best local coffee shop of 2018, Cool Beans, I can say definitively that this non-coffee drinker will be back.

”We always think that Cool Beans is a home away home,” owner Merie “Kitty” Mirosavich said.

Customers and locals might be lucky enough to visit on a Wednesday night and get to indulge in “Mind Gravy.” Mind Gravy is Cool Beans’ open mic night. Anyone can stop in, whether you’re a student of USC or just someone walking along the streets and hear the music, poetry, and other spoken word opportunities to support local artists.

In addition to the local talent roasting in Cool Beans, they also have the best cinnamon rolls I’ve encountered. They warm it up for you as well! All the goodies are homemade as well. Many other non-coffee drinkers should get a taste of their lemonade or smoothies accompanied by their best selling dish: black bean wrap

Along with Cool Beans, I visited Curiosity Coffee Bar on  2327 Main St, Columbia, South Carolina. If you’re a dog owner or just a puppy lover, this is the place to be. Bring your dogs and help yourself to a cup of coffee filled in a plant-based cup. All the cups, forks, knives, and straws are all plant-based. If you’re not going to go for the coffee, like me, definitely go for the dogs.

DOG CAPTION- CJI story
Jessica Sheldon is in Curiosity Coffee Bar with her dog, Esmeralda. Curiosity Coffee Bar allows customers to bring their pets into their business. “I came here because their Instagram had some really great looking baked goods and coffee on it and I needed to give them a try…and also that I could bring my dog,”Jessica Sheldon said.

Don’t get me wrong dogs are amazing, but while you’re petting a dog be sure to order. I suggest their blueberry muffins. Get it heated and it’ll be scrumptious.

Last but not least, Indah Coffee Company located at 2238 Sumter St, Columbia, South Carolina, serves up exotic drinks in a unique industrial and modern historical building, and you instantly fall in love.

”We wanted to keep the rich history from the 40s,” owner Nick Hauser said.

The lights dangling and the sunshine shining in through the panel windows provides mesmerizing views.

Not only does Indah offer their authenticity as soon you walk in the door, they’re also a small business that roasts their own beans. Food and Wine Magazine named Indah the best in South Carolina, due to their heavy sourcing of beans from Ethiopia and El Salvador. Multiple customers like Maggie Herring like to go to Indah as a distraction from work. Everyone needs a distraction every now and then, so customers should get comfortable under the “stars” at Indah Coffee Co.

I tasted my first scone in Indah, blueberry. It was heated up for me graciously by the barista. If you’ve never had a scone, go to Indah, get it heated, and it’ll taste like, if not better, a “Bo-Berry” biscuit from Bojangles.

“Coffee has a powerful meaning to bring people together,” Hauser said.

The next time you have to meet with a group of people, you can turn down a cup of coffee, but don’t miss out on the significant ideas brewing in local coffee shops.

[For more, visit the coffee shop group’s official Twitter account.]

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