By Allison Antram, Managing Editor
Coffee is an art form. It requires a level of education and precision that has evolved into its own kind of culture and is celebrated by latte lovers, the caffeine dependent and coffee snobs alike. The love of this beverage and the culture that surrounds it has translated to coffee shops in abundance, with a dedication to quality wrapped up in the right environments to make them the complete picture of caffeinated glory. Exemplary of this is Lexington’s own coffee scene.
In the interest of finding the absolute best, Spencer Smith and I (the Collegian’s resident coffee enthusiasts) embarked on a mission to thoroughly evaluate the coffee culture Lexington has to offer. We evaluated each based on their plain coffee, a specialty latte and overall environment. The following were our favorites, which we felt were the best with regard to the overall quality of coffee and space.
1. The Roastery (Daily Offerings)
Simple, hip and high-quality. While this shop is the newest, the Roastery caters to a sophisticated coffee culture and brings a rawness of space and flavor that is sure to satisfy the snobbiest coffee lover or grow an appreciation in the less-experienced. The excellent coffee is accompanied by a stylish, open environment which provides an excellent study space in the middle of downtown Lexington.
2. Cup of Commonwealth
This hole-in-the-wall space is marked by a teal door and abundant character. Not only are they dedicated to making a great cup of coffee, they have a passion for making coffee culture a community-builder. Though seating is a little limited, this welcoming, friendly environment (extensive Pay-It-Forward wall included) caters to a variety of tastes and provides the opportunity to learn more about coffee.
3. Coffee Times
Easily accessible from Nicholasville Road and perhaps one of the most unique shops, Coffee Times offers an extensive menu full of variety and flavor, accompanied by a plethora of coffee merchandise. The shop’s eccentric environment is characterized by an impressive offering of coffee supplies and a variety of unique décor and products. Their specialty latte was our favorite, and the liveliness of space and flavors makes it worth checking out, particularly for those with sweeter tastes.
4. Third Street Stuff
This shop by far has the most interesting environment, resembling a child’s coloring book in a style we’re dubbing “edgy eccentric.” Third Street Stuff provides a unique study space that is a true Asbury escape, not to mention some great coffee. Particularly if you enjoy sweeter lattes and artistic environment, this interesting shop is a must-visit.
5. North Lime Coffee & Donuts
While they are better known for their donuts, North Lime actually offers a pretty impressive dedication to quality coffee. With two different locations, the best donuts in Lexington and coffee that complements them perfectly, North Lime is a great spot for breakfast (and even better for on-the-go). The next time you need a donut fix, be sure to try their coffee as well.
Closing thoughts: If duplicating this experiment be sure to consume very limited amounts of caffeine at a time (trust us). We would also like to give honorable mention to Coffea and Common Grounds, both of which offer great study spaces and decent coffee, but we did not feel were the best. What we ultimately found was that each possesses its own kind of character and excellence; we love them all because they each have something unique to offer, it simply depends what you’re looking for.