Who has the best caffeine fix: franchises or local shops?


Coffea provides coffee, culture



There is something new brewing at Coffea Roasterie and, if you’ll excuse the terrible pun, it isn’t just their coffee.

However, coffee is a terrific place to begin when discussing Sioux Falls’ best coffee shop. They take the time and effort to roast their own beans, which is a charming but superfluous touch when compared to how delicious their coffee tastes on its own terms.

For those who enjoy it, coffee becomes something akin to wine with the tiny nuances of certain ingredients combining to become their own rich, bold flavor.  Coffea appeals to this “coffee snob” mentality, but that is only a small part of its full repertoire.

While lattés have become slightly less fashionable in recent years due to their higher calorie content, they still remain a high-demand item, and I have been informed by multiple acquaintances that Coffea’s baristas can make a mean hazelnut latté to match the most saccharine-saturated corporate coffee shop imitation. (Yes, I am speaking of Starbucks, whose straight black coffee is actually pretty terrible, which, in the context of coffee shops, is the equivalent of a house built upon a faulty foundation).

Last but not least is Coffea’s tea selection, which is both highly varied and of generally high quality.  Speaking as someone who is not quite a “tea snob,” but definitely a connoisseur, I am always happy to see the presence of the oft-forgotten Darjeeling on any menu.

This short, comprehensive review of Coffea’s beverage selection was still forced to exclude several other facets of their full package, including espresso-based drinks (Americano, Cappuccino, etc.) and baked goods (bread, cookies, and scones to name a few), all of which are par excellence.

However, people do not go to a coffee shop simply because of their menu. Instead, they will go because of the “atmosphere,” which more than likely gives them some “good vibes.”  This atmosphere or environment is often more crucial than one would originally think. It is likely what prevents most of those above the age of 35 from entering the hipster extraordinaire Sioux Falls coffee shop: Black Sheep.

However, when one walks into Coffea, they may be just as likely to spot a young, hipster college student as they would a meeting of middle aged, yuppie Church ladies.

Additionally, a wide variety of people falling between these two extremes may also be spotted, everyone peacefully coexisting as they do homework, chat or just relax.  It then becomes clear; Coffea has nonchalantly created the universal coffee shop where the “vibe” of one personality type or age group is kind and polite and does not disrupt the usually opposing vibe of another person or group.

Considering the large amount of overemphasized reasons we are given to despise one another, and a place that promotes cultural harmony and can whip up a delicious cup of tea should be given plenty of lip service.


Starbucks offers variety, food



So, you like coffee. Lots of other people like coffee too, and naturally there’s a variety of places where you can go to get your coffee fix. Which one should you go to? Starbucks.  Why? For a number of reasons, all of which I can verify from personal experience.

The first thing to consider is the quality of the products Starbucks offers, because no one likes coffee that tastes like hot, bitter tears. Thanks to their diverse drink menu, I’ve consumed their hot and iced coffees, hot and iced teas, and drinks that are neither coffee nor tea. I cannot think of one time where I’ve been disappointed in these drinks’ taste or temperature. Impressive, no?

If you’re fixing to have something to eat, Starbucks also offers hot sandwiches (served all day), oatmeal and sweet bakery items like dessert breads and brownies. My most recent visit to Starbucks was for a meal. I ordered a grande iced hazelnut macchiato, a bacon, egg and gouda sandwich, and a cake pop. Everything was delicious. My drink was equal parts nutty and light.My sandwich was crunchy and savory, and my cake pop melted in my mouth.

The dining experience that one has the potential to have is accentuated by the second thing to consider when judging Starbucks: the atmosphere.

The Starbucks chain has perfected the layout of their stores. People can chat, read, study and do whatever they want comfortably. The wooden chairs and tables are simple and sturdy. The leather booths and chairs soothe the skin like leather should. The seating arrangements are spaced out in such a way that there’s little chance of you elbowing a fellow customer in the face. The lighting isn’t too bright but isn’t too soft. The music that plays over the speakers doesn’t assault your ears, but instead gently slides into them like warm honey.

All of this is good and fine, but what, you ask, can one take away from Starbucks when your venti-sized paper cup is empty and you have to leave? The merch, my friend.

Starbucks merchandise is the third reason why you should make this place a destination. I have a weakness for reusable travel mugs and tumblers. The three Starbucks-brand travel mugs I have tell my fellow classmates on campus, “Yes, I like to enjoy hot and cold drinks while I book it across campus in style.”

What is it that’s so irresistible about the mermaid in the Starbucks logo? Her coy smile? Her green eyes? As I sit in class and sip my Starbucks-brand tea, I think: “This is all for you, babe.” “No,” she answers back. “It’s for you. My purpose on this planet is to create the best caffeinated products at your disposal that’ll assist you in facing your day with alertness and confidence.”

I think that the secret behind her smile is that she knows Starbucks is the best place for coffee, for atmosphere and for coffee merchandise. Go on, reader. Be in on the secret.