When life gives you lemons, put them in a fruit basket and go get some coffee… lemons don’t have caffeine. With the way things have been going in my crazy hectic rollercoaster of a dramatic life the past few months, I’ve gotten extra familiar with Orlando’s independent coffee shops. From working or studying to caffeinating with a cocktail, Orlando’s best are all here.
All Time Favorite: Vespr Coffeebar. This cafe is my favorite to work from, and they also have coffee cocktails. While the music and patrons are a little hipster, the space is sleek and minimalist, making it a great environment to sit with your laptop and get some work done. The iced vanilla latte is my go-to, but cold-brew lovers adore their nitro cold brew on tap. They serve danish and avocado toast, but the brief menu is really just dang good coffee.
Iced Coffee & Dang Good Food: Black Bean Deli. Not really the first place you’d think about when on the hunt for coffee, this little Cuban cafe makes a fantastic iced cafe con leche. The empanadas, croquetas, and lunch menu mean you can get something more substantial. Be prepared for a wait if it’s around lunchtime (even on week days) but seating inside or outside is usually available.
Best Casual Breakfast Eats: Coffee Factory & Cafe. This used to be called Boston Coffee, and has been a Waterford staple for years. Their coffee isn’t the most fantastic, but their flavored syrups and their extensive menu of beverages and breakfast items. My absolute favorite is the southwestern wrap with ham.
Best Vegan Cafe: The Sanctum. I’ll start off with full disclosure that I’m a little biased towards Sanctum because I know one of the chefs (hay seester!) and have since met some of the kick-ass staff on my visits. That being said, she used to work at another vegan restaurant in the area and I literally never stepped foot in it… yet I find myself at Sanctum about once a week grabbing an iced latte with hemp milk. Sounds weird, tastes amazing. It’s a “plant based” restaurant, so while they have tons of vegan fare, my favorite is the avocado Ezekiel toast with poached eggs and goat cheese. #protein
Hipster Brews: Austin Coffee & Film and Stardust Video & Coffee. Both Stardust and Austin are great, character-filled spots best for hanging out with a friend. Both serve drinks and food, although I prefer the food at Stardust and it has a full bar (Austin serves beer and wine). Both are quirky, serve good lattes, and have vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options on the menu.
The Place Everyone Loves: Foxtail Coffee. I wanted to like Foxtail, because it’s new and adorable and everyone in Orlando seems to adore their cold brew. I just… don’t. Don’t get me wrong, my friends go crazy over it. They have 3 flavors of cold brew on tap, and the small, particular menu is done well. It’s always absolutely packed on a weekend morning, and the staff is friendly and helpful. I just simply don’t prefer the flavor of their coffee and syrups.