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Today is a day that I hold dear to my heart. It is a day where my skin is clearer, my credit score is higher, the Tuscaloosa traffic is less migraine-inducing and I have not a care in the world. It’s my favorite holiday.

Today is International Coffee Day.

Now, the folks around the WVUA 23 offices kind of know me as the girl who always has a fresh cup of Joe in her hand. I have a drawer in our office devoted to K-cups, creamers, a couple of mugs from my house and all the flavor-enhancing accessories one could dream of having. My officemates and I would routinely take a walk to the Bryant Drive Starbucks when we needed a break from all the newsin’ we were doing. My two summer coworkers (who double as two of my closest friends) know my coffee orders by heart. Yes, orders plural, because I get different things at different shops. They know them all. And at the end of the summer, I even dug up all my bank statements and calculated how much money I spent on coffee from May 1 to Aug. 31. Spoiler: it was about $500. Don’t judge me; my mom did already.

I guess it’s safe to say I’m nothing without my coffee addiction. I live on this stuff.

So, in honor of this joyous holiday, I have been tasked to write a story about some local spots around town and my thoughts on them. This list is, of course, by no means conclusive and it is in no particular order. But, I will do my best to highlight all the coffee shops I personally frequent (which is a lot) so hopefully, you can find your next favorite spot by the end of this article. So, strap in, grab a snack and a cup of coffee, and read on!

All the best coffee that can only be found in the Druid City


Heritage House Coffee and Tea
Ideal Order: iced Bama Blitz and a lemon poppy seed muffin

Heritage House is such an aesthetically-pleasing place to grab a cup of coffee and get things done. With a variety of seating options that range from comfortable couches that only pair well with a good book and tables and chairs made for grinding out some homework, HH is every productive person’s dream. I rarely actually come in and sit for a spell as usually, I’m running from one place to the next, but the speedy (and so, so friendly) service gets me in and out in no time.


Monarch Espresso Bar
Ideal Order: iced caramel latte

Monarch is a new love of mine. The location is primo for a quick, refreshing walk around Government Plaza, and if you’re the “party don’t stop” type, you certainly can pack up your schoolwork at 10 p.m. and take the short walk to Alcove for an after-work drink (of the non-coffee variety, if you know what I mean). My order from Monarch is pretty basic, but that’s because it’s a coffee shop that doesn’t need any frills to be successful. Whether it’s for a date, a productivity binge or just to chill after a long day of classes, Monarch is the place to be.


Joyful Java food truck
Ideal Order: iced Nutella latte

Iced. Nutella. Latte. There’s nothing left to say here.

No matter where you are, these spots will always be there for you


Ideal Order: iced caramel coffee with cream and sugar and a wake-up wrap

Let me tell you, it is nearly impossible to go to Dunkin and not snag a couple of munchkins with my coffee order. But, when I’m in a hurry, the breakfast is sublime. Dunkin is the epitome of the word “convenient:” with a swift drive-thru (if you’re visiting the downtown or McFarland Boulevard locations) and a simple menu, I can leave with a large coffee and two egg-and-cheese-in-tortillas and be sitting in my art class by 9 a.m. Plus, a $6 order at Dunkin gets me way more than a $6 order at Starbucks, and those are just facts. But, I must confess, Dunkin coffee hits differently than any of the other spots on this list. I don’t know why, but sometimes I get a little too awake after I’ve chugged one of these bad boys. So, if you’re extra sensitive to caffeine, proceed with caution (or just order a smaller size).


Ideal Order: iced caramel macchiato with an extra shot of espresso and an eggs and cheese protein box

Ahh, Starbucks. Perhaps the most basic of all the coffee shops on this list. But, simply put, Starbucks is always, always, always there for you when you need her. With six locations in town and God knows how many surrounding the immediate Tuscaloosa area, I can always count on a Starbucks being nearby. Plus, I would not be complete without my reusable cup and straw. With a lovely staff to greet me (some of whom I’m on a first-name basis) at any of the UA campus locations, I’m always pleased when I walk out with a little cup of bliss in the form of a caramel macchiato. Plus, the Ferguson Center Starbucks has some FIRE playlists to jam out to when the line gets a bit too long for my taste. Either way, I’m always guaranteed a friendly face, some nice conversation, a secure spot to study if needed, and a tried-and-true cup of Joe.

There’s no better coffee than what I make in my very own kitchen


Office Coffee
Ideal Order: Cafe Bustelo coffee with two half-and-half creamers and a dash of caramel

This is the only hot coffee I will have on this list, probably. But, I have the perfect concoction of coffee and accessories that help me make it through the long hours at the office. Most notable about this is the mugs I use – I got all my “office” mugs for free from various fundraisers and pop-ups around UA’s campus. So, what a win that is! Anyway, there’s nothing quite like filling our office with a downright intoxicating aroma of Cafe Bustelo coffee. It’s my favorite brand of coffee that I can buy in a K-cup, and with a little bit of sweet caramel and creamy half-and-half to top it off, I always finish my shifts on top. Plus, with this setup, I save a few dollars here and there by foregoing a $6 trip to Starbucks down the street.


Home Coffee
Ideal Order: Target-brand creme brulee coffee with a dash of caramel creamer, over ice

Picture it: It’s Saturday morning, my one day to sleep in. I wake up whenever the heck I want to, stumble into my kitchen and, almost as if it is muscle memory, brew a cup of coffee and pour it over ice. My roommate and I are fancy, too – we have ice cube trays that produce MASSIVE cubes. I’m talking one inch-by-one inch monsters. These babies do not melt easily, that’s for sure. They serve as the perfect landing place for a cup of coffee brewed so strong that you can almost chew it. With a little splash of caramel (yeah, I love caramel) creamer on top, this cup of coffee is by far my favorite of this list. It takes all of four minutes to make, I can do it in my pajamas and I only have to walk 30 steps from my bed to get it. And, it’s absolutely scrumptious. Paired with one of our many, many mugs that take up about half of our kitchen cabinets and a metal straw (save the turtles!) to boot, this cup of coffee smells, tastes and feels like a great day at home.

Whatever your tastes may be, I genuinely hope International Coffee Day was as good to you as it was to me. Always remember: brew it strong, drink it quick and use reusable vessels when you can. Happy International Coffee Day!

Categories: Local News