One of my favorite things to do when I visit a new city is find a local, independent coffee shop and try their signature drink, ideally something I can't find anywhere else. Sometimes I ask a barista for a tip. Other times I check out the wall menu and hope for the best. But if you're like me and enjoy coffee and other specialty drinks, and you're either visiting the Eastern Shore (Spanish Fort, Daphne and Fairhope, Alabama) or you live here and want to try something new, here are a few recommendations.
I love this place because of its incredibly creative menu, especially around holidays (for instance, they have a month-long Christmas in July menu). I couldn't just pick one drink!
Hot drink: Nutella latte
Yep, you guessed it. Liquid nutella = amazing.
Cold drink: Coco Loco "Soul" Brew
A blend of dark chocolate and coconut in cold brew form. The perfect combination between sweet and reenergizing. (Ask for light ice.)
Serda's Coffee Co.
Daphne, AL (also in Mobile)
A full cafe, with delicious light fare (my favorite are the Sriracha shrimp tacos). They have trivia nights, a productive atmosphere and the best gelato around. This is my go-to place when it's time to eat but I'm still in need of some caffeine.
Just the right amount of caffeine kick on a summer day.
Tip: If you buy an iced drink, ask for coffee cubes!
This place is wonderfully minimalist and is the
perfect hipster aesthetic. It is the place to go for refined coffee tasters, with drip coffee, pour-overs, and international blends. Personally, my tastebuds aren't strong enough yet to drink coffee black nor sentient enough to detect the nuances in regional flavor, so I stick with lattes.
You wouldn't think it's good, but it is. A little sweet with an intriguing flavor that complements the taste of smooth espresso well.
Warehouse Bakery & Donuts
The Warehouse is a place I still think about longingly from 800 miles away during the school year in Virginia. I've seen local live music, eaten the best homemade key lime pie donuts and chugged a few too many cold brews here. The bakery/restaurant/coffee shop/venue very often busy, stays open late until 9p on the weekends, and the atmosphere is a perfect place to meet up with friends.
Cold brew + chocolate milk
The simplicity is necessary because of its wonderfully strong taste. Ask for light ice. And buy the brown bottle of cold brew concentrate on your way out the garage doors to enjoy at home.
Latte Da at Page and Palette
Page and Palette is a Fairhope necessity. I feel like I grew up with the bookstore and Latte Da coffee shop's evolution. Its recent renovation with Book Cellar (a bar and seating area) in the back and newly expanded book sections really open the place up, while the "staff-pick" sticky notes on the bookshelves still feel homey.
Southern Pecan Toddy
If you're into really strong espresso, try this one. I'm usually a wimp when it comes to strong coffee, but the flavor infused in this cold brew blends so well I just have to keep sipping.
The Coffee Loft
This place has my favorite atmosphere out of all the others: the comfiest couches, best music, full with people without being loud. It smells wonderful in here. And it's another place that I feel like I've gone to my whole life: I would find a small table to color at while my mom would have Bible study every week in the back corner, and I have a weirdly nostalgic attachment to their peach smoothies because of it. Also, the dandelion mural: perfect (although overused) photo opportunity.
A spiced chai with mocha flavor and cayenne pepper. Ask for a shot of espresso.
Photos by Hannah Denham