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CUP OF CAFFEINE

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The Tandem yellow coffee cup that could

 

Tandem Creperie and Coffeehouse knows how to do breakfast right. It offers the full package:  cute atmosphere, delicious breakfast, fantastic coffee and exemplary service. When you want the perfect way to start your day, this is the place!

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Tandem‘s simple yet eye-catching decor

Although coffee is the focus of this story, it would be criminal not to mention the breakfast menu.  One word comes to mind, AMAZING. Fancy yourself the “foodie” or just the average joe looking for a savory or sweet way to start the day, at Tandem’s it is impossible not to enjoy your meal of freshly made crepes. The selection of fillings is sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. And service? From point of order to plate served, it is quick and friendly. So whether you are crunched for time or ready to relax and start your day, Tandem can accommodate you!

Back to the amazing coffee…

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Smell that freshness. Photo Credit // Margaret Clifton

Tandem buys their coffee locally from a company called Counter Culture Coffee in Durbin, North Carolina. The coffee flavor is strong and the richness of the freshly roasted coffee is delicious. As discussed in my blog post on local coffee shops, buying locally roasted coffee not only keeps local money, local but the freshness of the coffee is incomparable.

The latte itself is perfectly crafted with a swirled cream design on top. This perfection is due to the elaborate process the baristas at Tandem utilize. Everything is measured out to the exact amount and each worker is well informed of the process. They truly work in “tandem”! It’s actually amazing to watch them from the counter area!

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“I love going to Tandem because it is so much fun to sit at the counter watching them make the lattes” -Missy Clifton // Photo Credit

Tandem has the perfect trifecta of atmosphere, food, and coffee which is exactly why you must take a visit for yourself. Enjoy everything Tandem has to offer!

Here is my last visit:

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Greenville’s Best: Coffee+Breakfast

Coffee shops in Greenville are numerous but some take some skill to find. Many, such as Biscuit Head or Tandem, draw customers to the door by sheer aroma of breakfast goodies. Other stores, such as Methodical Coffee or Coffee Underground, focus more on a spectacular cup of coffee.

Over the past month, I have sampled three stores to discover which coffee shop has the best cup of coffee.

*NOTE due to lack of time and the fact I am a near broke college student, I was not able to sample EVERY store. This is just an opinion on my favorite three! Please explore other Greenville spots and message me with your own reviews!

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The absolute truth…however, that breakfast might be the most important meal of the day // Photo Credit

Location #1 – Biscuit Head

Biscuit Head prides themselves on working with only premiere local vendors. They currently buy their coffee from a company called Bean Werks, located in Asheville (Biscuit Head has three locations, two of which are in Asheville).

Bean Werks utilizes a custom roasting technique (discussed in Coffee and Community post) and has created several signature blends. These locally roasted coffee beans have created quite a following and continually draw in new coffee explorers looking for something different!

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And the brunching begins! Photo credit // Margaret Clifton

Walking past a Biscuit Head is pretty hard if you’re hungry; the smell of good food permeates the air. They offer a satisfying Southern breakfast (I personally recommend the Moon Fries as a side) and cozy atmosphere.  Biscuit Head also serves a stellar latte.

Instead of a traditional cup or mug, they serve their latte in a very peculiar, tall glass. However, the iconic latte foam bubbles are at the top and the smell of sweet coffee steams from the cup. Biscuit Head creates a more airy foam with a drizzled design and their latte flavor is not as strong as I typically enjoy. Also for those that don’t care for an overabundance of cream, this is a great option. It seems this slightly different flavor  appeals to many… and from the looks of orders on the packed tables, plenty of people love this brew!

Location #2 – Tandem

Tandem, like Biscuit Head, serves a spectacular breakfast and cup of coffee. Tandem offers a unique breakfast of crepes whereas Biscuit Head leans on the classic southern breakfast (biscuits, bacon and southern goodness).  Tandem also prides itself on their ability to make a fantastic latte. Their technique is so fascinating to watch as the workers are completely in sync.

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Slideshow Photo Credit // Margaret Clifton

The latte is served in Tandem’s iconic yellow mugs with a fantastic foam design on the top. The flavor, from the locally roasted beans of Counter Culture Coffee, appeals to a wide range of tastes. Although it is considered strong,  the foamy cream perfectly balances the flavor making an enjoyable sweet drink. Add vanilla for an extra punch!

Location #3 – Due South

Due South is not exactly in Greenville…but close! This coffee shop is located in Taylors, SC in an old mill warehouse with an abundance of character. This coffee shop not only has a unique location but a unique specialty. Due South roasts their own coffee beans IN SHOP for a signature flavor. Their tagline is “Tailored in Taylors”.

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Due South’s cool location with an even cooler vibe // Photo Credit

I ordered a regular latte (no additional flavoring aka vanilla) and could really make the distinction! Their signature blend isn’t over powered with thick cream and so the flavor really comes through. I enjoyed it immensely and think that it is worth a visit for any coffee connoisseur. Even if you’re not that discriminating it’s a great place to relax, have a group meeting or do your homework… all in just a short drive.

Why Greenville should love our local coffee shops

As a kid, I used to go to an organic farm weekly with my mother to pick fresh produce for our family’s use. Talking to the owners of the farm and seeing the hard work that was involved in providing us safe and fresh options for our consumption really impressed upon me the importance of buying local. Freshness, nutritional value and controlled production practices are important advantages …  and not only does buying local help our farmers, it helps our economies.

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Buying local supports your local community // Photo Credit

 


Coffee beans do not grow locallybut they are roasted locally !

Instead of thinking locally grown coffee, think more locally roasted coffee. Roasting is the process by which coffee beans are transformed physically and chemically from a green coffee bean to a light, medium, or dark roasted bean.

In contrast with industrially roasted beans, locally roasted beans are fresher and are more flavorful. This is why many local coffee shops choose to roast their own beans right in the shop!

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The colors of the bean roasted rainbow // Photo Credit

 


Local vs. Corporate

Coffee is one of the top traded commodities in the world and a top choice of beverage ESPECIALLY in the morning. Personally, I think the perfect way to start any day is by drinking a hand crafted frothy vanilla latte out of a generous mug while seated in a cozy and welcoming coffee shop. I feel good about supporting the businesses, their employees and the Greenville economy.  On those days where time is seriously not a luxury, I actually feel guilty finding myself in the drive thru of Starbucks responding to the words, “May I take your order?” (Desperate times call for desperate measures.)

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Photo Credit // Local Coffee

Competition between gourmet, local coffee shops and the popular chains Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts is tough. Both of these behemoths spend unimaginable amounts of money on clever marketing campaigns to create brand awareness and increase traffic into their well recognized stores.

Although, these major corporations have a pretty good grip on the grab and go markets, local stores are finding small ways to break through consumers loyalty. They are focusing on crafting their own  “identity” with these characteristics:

  • Quality over quantity! – Locally roasting techniques resulting in unique flavors of beans… and a fresher taste!
  • Stick to the basics! – Although, a citrus mocha latte sounds interesting… not many people really want to throw down the money to experiment with exotic drinks.  Local coffee shops focus more on the traditional Italian drinks and have created an identity known for expertly creating these classic drinks.
  • Coziness is key! – While every Starbucks around the world has roughly the same  look and feel, local coffee shops are all uniquely decorated and designed. They  want their customers to enjoy a more “homie” atmosphere that encourages them to sit back and stay awhile.

 

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    Photo Credits – Top Left // Margaret Clifton, Top Right // Julia Piotrowski, Bottom Left Local Coffee, Middle Top Latte, Middle Bottom Latte, Bottom Right // Margaret Clifton

Coffee and Community

For many a coffee shop is considered a ‘second home’. It is a place where people come to chat with friends, finish up some work, or enjoy a cup of coffee. Whether you are the regular patron or a newbie to the coffee shop community, a homie feeling is always found in a coffee shop.

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Coffee with friends is the best! Photo credit // Julia Piotrowski

Home? In a coffee shop?

Yes, home, I promise! It seems silly to think that a public place could feel ‘homie’ in any sort of way. If the comfy couches, strong aroma of coffee, and friendly staff was not enough to charm you into relaxation, then look around. Look at the community of people that have all come to the same coffee shop as you. Notice how each individual is completely themselves. Notice how they are okay with putting their feet up on that ottoman or reclining in that sofa. Notice how everyone is completely relaxed without a care in the world.

Its actually amazing that complete strangers are not afraid to laugh out loud, cross their legs in a chair, or conduct a business call in this public space.  You can find relaxation in the fact that you are totally welcome to act yourself and be at peace. In a coffee shop there is a community of people that feel this same sense of serenity and geniality in the fine establishment called a coffee shop.

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Fresh Squeezed orange juice or coffee? Photo Credit // Margaret Clifton

Co(ffee)mmunity

Coffee shops provide a unique snapshot of the local community. Although, you see individuals on a daily basis in grocery stores, parks, or libraries, it is in a coffee shop that you truly see who is thriving in your community. Our days are filled with the hustle and bustle of daily life which makes it difficult to stop and focus on the individuals around us. The intimate setting of a coffee shops permits us this time to take a deep breath and focus on the people who surround us. So, try smiling at your neighbor who is flipping through the his newspaper or make conversation with the mother whose child is happily drinking a hot chocolate. You never know who you might meet.

 

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