Best Coffeeshops in Austin

Having spent most of my four years in Austin staring out a window of a coffeeshop, I’ve decided to turn that wasted time into something productive by compiling this list.

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Below are a handful of coffeeshops that I’ve picked in no particular order. They aren’t necessarily the ‘best’ (misleading title, right?) but they’re ones that I’ve been to at least three times, each time for at least an hour and a half.

Disclaimer: These reviews will have little to do with coffee because all coffee literally tastes the same to me. I unfortunately do not have a nuanced or developed palate – but I guess that means I can appreciate all coffee? If this bothers you because you are a coffee snob then feel free to stop reading.

SUMMER MOON: My favorite coffeeshop.

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When to go: This is where I would go to spend a summer day journaling or pretending to read. I call it my favorite coffeeshop, but the truth is I don’t go that often because it feels weird to go without a friend. I’ve never actually gone by myself. It’s super cute and cozy though!
When not to go: If you don’t feel like dealing with a difficult parking situation. Or if you don’t like those bathrooms that are not actually in the building. I also wouldn’t go here to cram for a test.
What to order: Half wintermoon is amazing. Or whatever it’s called.

MONKEY  NEST - My usual go-to coffeeshop.

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When to go: It’s a good place to go if you feel overcome with existentialist dread and need to be in a lively place with other people who are sitting by themselves. It’s also good if you need to study or meet up with people. There’s a quiet room in the back if you need it but I usually sit in the main area because there are lots of windows and people around. There’s also good parking. Oh! And there’s Happy Hour for sandwiches M-F 4-7pm.
When not to go: When you’ve spent 16 hours there over the course of two days and you feel weird going back.
What to order: Chocolate Chimp or Nutty Irishman. The Spicy Monkey Mocha if you want to spend half an hour choking and coughing.

DOMINICAN JOE- My other usual go to coffeeshop.

When to go: Like Monkeynest, It’s also a good place to go when experiencing fear and anxiety. Good lighting and happy people (kind of dark at night though). Good parking.
When not to go: If you’re going to meet up with someone, keep in mind that the people around you can hear literally every word that you say. I usually don’t mind because the concept of a private conversation is lost on me anyways, but it could bother some people.
What to order: Dirty Chai is interesting.

BENNU- The bane of my existence.

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Me and Kathy in this awful place.

When to go: You should only need to go to Bennu if you begin cramming for a test after 11pm and there’s nowhere else to go.
When not to go: Besides the reason stated above, there is absolutely no good reason to ever be here. And I don’t feel bad about saying that since it’s always so stuffed with people. Since finishing school I have not entered that building, and the thought of ever going back makes me want to cry. But one time I left my credit card there and when I went back to get it they were really nice about it.
What to order: Iced Bennu is popular.

 

CHERRYWOOD- I like this place.

1393318_10152052237932474_240682322_nWhen to go: It’s really pretty outside! But since it’s Texas it’s only nice to sit outside in the fall/winter/spring. I think there is an actual cherrywood tree outside. But I can’t be sure since I don’t actually know what a cherrywood tree is. They also have good food. And they’re open until midnight.
When not to go: It’s kind of dark inside at night. And the parking isn’t great. This also isn’t the most ideal place to study for a test.
What to order: Iced Chai? Idk. The hot chocolate is way too sweet though.

 

 

STARBUCKS- Sorry.

When to go: Okay I know this puts the validity of this entire post in jeopardy but I don’t care. Starbucks is always awesome. CHRISTMAS CUPS.
When not to go: I think I might need to cut back. I’m a gold card member but I’m going to stop using the Starbucks rewards system. I didn’t realize I had a problem until we saw Starbucks in Turkey for the first time and I started hyperventilating was almost crying tears of joy. Such happiness should not be felt over the presence of an overpriced coffee chain.
What to order: Iced tea is the cheapest.

Honorable Mentions:

Cenote has beer

Cenote has beer

Vintage Heart – The coffee comes in mason jars! But I feel like I have to whisper when I’m there.
Genuine Joe – Meh.
Epoch (on Anderson) – Smells weird.
Epoch (near Koenig) – No.
Thunderbird (on Koenig) – No outlets
Thunderbird (on Manor) – Pretty outside
Cenote – It’s nice to sit outside. They have good food.
Mozart’s – Christmas lights!! And there’s a lake.
Caffe Medici (on Guad) – What’s with the chairs
Flightpath – Meh.
Pacha – Claustrophobia
Stinson’s - Creepily empty all the time

 

I hope you’ve found this helpful. You probably haven’t, though, because everything I’ve said is incredibly subjective. Oh well.

Sailboats

I’m frustrated with my last post, but I’m not going to delete it.

I wrote it while sitting on our couch in the living room. It was around 11 and I was sitting on the couch and Samantha was sitting at the table and we were both trying to write, but I was also trying to catch up on the day’s social media and find out what the weather would be like for the next ten days. After a little while Samantha was finished and I had written only two lines, so I tried to focus and actually write.

Every time I try to write something, a silent but very bothersome version of myself materializes beside me and begins to read over my shoulder as I type. I can’t see her, but I can sense as she reads every line and every word – tapping her finger on her chin as I type. She won’t say anything, but sometimes I will type something I think is clever and she will read it and scoff – do you actually think that’s funny? – the scoff will say. Sometimes she will yawn or roll her eyes and I find myself holding my breath with my fingers furiously backspacing and typing until finally she cocks her head to the side and shrugs.

It’s all very frustrating because she doesn’t leave until I decide to do something else, like when I get up to get a drink of water or when I open up Facebook in a new tab. Whenever I was writing my last post I could sense she didn’t like it. When I was finished writing she raised her eyebrows and kind of shook her head – and even though she couldn’t speak I tried arguing with her. I made summer goals! I told people I wanted to blog regularly! She just shrugged and I clicked publish.

But she was right. The post wasn’t ready.

And that’s the frustrating thing about words. Sometimes you’re trying to make a point – but the words you choose are too heavy-footed and clomp around knocking things over – or maybe they’re too light and feathery and they flit around in the air giggling and not taking anything seriously. Sometimes I’ll have an idea in my head, like a sailboat or something, and I say to myself – okay all I have to do is take this sailboat out of my head and transfer it onto this page in front of me – but then I start writing and what comes out is not a sailboat but a tree or a worm or a pair of sunglasses.

I think writing is important because there are some stories that need to be told. The woman I was talking about in my last post has a story that needs to be told. As I sat in that room listening to her, tears were streaming down my face and my hand was shaking as I was writing in my journal - this woman truly loves Jesus – I wrote.

But when I tried to write about it the words didn’t come out the way I wanted, and I didn’t know how to fix that. Neither did the silent but critical version of myself sitting beside me. That’s okay, maybe I’ll try again another day.

Even if He does not

About a month ago my friends and I met a group of people who moved their families halfway across the world to share Jesus with people who have never heard the Gospel. They’ve been there fifteen years, but it hasn’t looked like all the stories I’ve heard or the books I’ve read. They haven’t actually seen anyone put their faith in Jesus yet.

Is Jesus still worth it when you don’t see the fruit you assumed you would?

“There are so many people that books were not written about – and that’s probably going to be me.”

When one of the women in the group said those words, my throat tightened.

“You may go and live somewhere for fifty years and no one remembers you, but then someone comes after you and they see movements of people coming to Christ! And that may be your life – perhaps you’ll be one of the stones that are laid down for others to walk over – that might be your role.’

Then I realized something about myself – My heart rejected the idea of being a stepping stone. Because I wanted other things.

I realized that what I wanted was to be a success.

I realized that what I wanted was to do amazing things so that one day I could write a book about it – a book that people would read and say ‘I want to be like her!’

I realized that what I wanted was to have people say about me – “because of her, my life has never been the same”.

I realized that what I wanted was to be a hero – to be great. “Great”.

I thought that what I wanted to do was live for Jesus, but it never occurred to me that even if I made all the big sacrifices, I still might not ever be a hero. I think I thought that if my gestures were grand enough – that somehow God would owe it to me – to give me greatness.

As if God would owe that to me. I like the story of Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego as they were talking to the king before getting thrown into the fire -

“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” – Daniel 3:17-18

But even if He does not

Those words scare me. These are recent realizations, so I don’t really know what to say now. My future posts will probably be about unicycles or Ariana Grande. Be excited.

 

 

“summer goals”

Not included on this list: Anything that has been on one of my Summer Goals/New Years Resolutions/Birthday Goals lists in the past. For example: Get in shape, Read more books, and Figure out my life will not be included on this list. Because clearly those things are not achievable. .

Summer Goals:

Blog Regularly. I promise! Maybe.

Wear sunscreen. 50-year-old me will be grateful.

Always say ‘Hi’. Usually if I see someone I know and he/she does not see me, 9/10 times I will avoid said person. This should probably change.

Figure out my favorite flower. I think it might be daisies. In Turkey I saw a lot of girls wearing these daisy wreaths in their hair and I almost bought one for myself – but I didn’t.

Train myself to like non-teenpop music. My brother accidentally left one of his CDs in my car when I was driving to Austin. I really tried my best to listen to it, but I just couldn’t. Since I spend a decent amount of time driving to and from work every day, I will force myself to listen to this CD until I like it.

Declutter my life. More on this later, possibly. For now this will include getting rid of most of my wardrobe and watching less TV.

 

Sorry if you expected these goals to be inspiring or something.

 

Bridges

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Halfway around the world my friends are scattered in different countries across Europe and Asia, seeing different things, meeting new people, and probably eating amazing food.

Also halfway across the world, my glasses are probably sitting on someone’s desk. Along with my earrings. My towel is probably still hanging outside the last hostel we stayed in, unless someone decided to take it. I  have a habit of leaving behind a trail of my belongings.

The above picture is of a bridge in Frankfurt. After a 9 hour layover in Frankfurt, a city of silent inhabitants and overpriced croissants, we boarded our next flight,on which all of my friends promptly fell asleep.

I watched them for a little bit, hoping someone would wake up and talk to me, but everyone was exhausted so I decided to get out my moleskine and journal. Whenever I journal I don’t usually have anything to say – I just like the idea of journaling. I like the feel of pen on paper and I like to watch the lines of the pages fill with ink – words and thoughts that keep some record of my existence and acknowledge my presence on the earth at that particular time and place.

It was when I was journaling on that plane leaving Frankfurt surrounded by my sleeping friends that I realized that a very significant four-year stage of my life had come to an end. I had graduated Saturday night, thrown some belongings in a suitcase and drove to Houston on Sunday, and hopped on a plane on Monday. Somewhere in the Tuesday night/Wednesday morning blur I was sitting on that plane leaving Frankfurt, journaling with tears in my eyes, realizing I had never said a proper goodbye to many of the friendships and relationships that would never be the same.

I don’t mean goodbye to the people. I’m sure there isn’t anyone that I won’t see at all the weddings that are sure to take place within the next half a decade or so. But it won’t be the same.

But what is a proper goodbye anyway? A friend that I knew for a mere five days was saying goodbye to us once at the bus station.

“I hate goodbyes.”

“Me too.”

I told her about my ideal goodbye. A perfect goodbye is when your friend is leaving and you say “I’ll hug you now, but I’m going to see you again before you actually leave, so I’ll say goodbye then.” Your friend says “Yeah! We’ll say goodbye when I’m actually leaving.” But you both know that there is no ‘actual leaving'; this is the real thing.

Before the school year ended there were many things I wanted to write about and many posts in my drafts folder reflecting on events that took place throughout the semester. I still want to write about those things because they were important and significant to me – but they seem somewhat irrelevant now.

Okay this was my ‘mourning the end of college’ post. Finished with that now. Though it won’t be the same, I’ve met people that profoundly impacted my life and pushed me to care more and taught me to care less – and I’ll see them again. Probably at a wedding where they’ll see that I’ve gained thirty pounds and am starting to bald and they probably will no longer want to be my friend.

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Girl:  do you still keep in touch with the people you went on missions trips with?
Woman: well I didn’t really go on missions trips, I was a missionary
Girl: oh, do you still talk to the people you served with?
Woman: well most of them are in heaven now, so I don’t have access to them just yet

:’)