Perfect Favorite Coffee Shop

Yes, I Have A Favorite Coffee Shop, and Yes, It Is Very Important To Me

Coffee's not a fad, Mom. It's a lifestyle.


So, my favorite coffee shop in Charlottesville isn't even a coffee shop... it's the Starbucks within Barnes and Noble. Coming from a small town that only recently got its first coffee shop, the number of coffee shops in Charlottesville (which, according to Google, is well over 15) is overwhelming, to say the least. While I haven't been to every coffee shop yet, here are some factors that were essential when I determined that Starbucks is my personal favorite.

1. Good coffee/tea/whatever you order

I mean, for the most part, this is the reason that one goes to the coffee shop in the first place. If it doesn't have a drink that you like, it probably isn't worthy of being your favorite.

2. Good prices

If you're like me, you frequent your favorite coffee shop A LOT (like, you are a regular, they know your name and order A LOT). Therefore, they're getting a lot of your moolah. It helps if they are relatively cheap or have a good deal system like getting a tenth drink free, Hooked deals, etc. Also, don't be afraid to ask about their refill policies... they are life (and money) savers!

3. Free Wifi

This day in age, every coffee shop should have Wifi. But like, if its during the school year, I'll be doing school work. If it's the summer time, I have other work to do (or online shopping) that requires Wifi.

4. Comfortable seating

When I go to coffee shops, I can be there for hours. It is an outing, let me tell you. I get to Starbucks at 9 and leave near 4 most summer days. I plop down on the benches next to my fellow regulars and I get down to work or reading or whatever tickles my fancy. And if I'm going to be at a place for 7 hours, it better be comfy.

5. Good atmosphere

For me, a coffee shop is more than just coffee... it is an experience. Am I relaxed? Am I productive? I need an environment conducive for working with decent music, reasonable noise levels, and a certain charm to it.

6. Nice employees

For the love of all things are good, employees are so important. I like having a conversation with the baristas. I like that they care enough to remember my name and order (For instance, today, I got a vanilla latte instead of my regular vanilla coffee because I had a coupon, and they literally commented on the change and I had to explain why I deviated). Nice, affable employees add a bit of social interaction to the otherwise singular outing for me.

7. Easy parking

Okay, this one may just be a me thing, but parking gives me anxiety, so I like finding places with ample parking. I don't want the enjoyment of the coffee shop to be tainted by driving around trying to find street parking... no thank you.

8. An understandable menu

I am by no means a coffee connoisseur... I don't know the differences in roasts. I don't know the difference between lattes and cappuccinos and americanos. I am a noob, and I don't like not knowing... so I freak out. I like menus that somewhat explain what the heck the differences are. I like places where I can make it froofy and not feel judged. Basically, when I do occasionally I don't want to stress out about what to get, but I also want to like what I get because coffee is expensive.

So, when looking at these important factors in a coffee shop, do you have a place that checks off all the boxes? You, my friend, have "your" coffee shop. It's a lovely thing. Embrace it.

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.

Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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My Strange Obsession: Bibibop Addition

I am obsessed with Bibibop.


I am obsessed with Bibibop.

Sounds strange, right? But it's true.

For those of you who have never had the opportunity to experience Bibibop, Bibibop is an Asian Grill set up similar to Chipotle. You're able to go down the line of food, choosing a base (always go with the purple rice), hot toppings (they all slap), protein (the tofu is to die for), some cold toppings (a great way to try kale for the first time), and a sauce (if you don't get the Yum Yum sauce, you're weird.)

And, let me tell you, the final product is always delicious.

I hadn't been introduced to Bibibop until this past year, but once I tried it for the first time, I never looked back. Now I am constantly craving the taste of the Yum Yum sauce. I usually hit up Bibibop once every two weeks, but if I was rich, I would probably eat it every other day.

Though, admittedly, the prices are pretty good. And they celebrate meatless Mondays with 20% off to anyone who doesn't get meat in their bowl.

Plus, it's pretty healthy. Unlike most restaurants, like Chipotle, where your somewhat healthy meal can instantly become bad for you with the addition of something on the menu, Bibibop's entire menu provides nutritional value and offers gluten-free and vegan options.

Basically, Bibibop is the most underrated and most delicious restaurant in the world, which is why my obsession with it runs so deep. Although I would usually admit that obsessions are unhealthy, I think this one might be okay.

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