Coffee & Beer Bookends
As a 66-year-old, my vacations aren’t complicated: pick a couple of things to do every day and fill in the rest of time with meals, entertainment, and an occasional nap.
I have to confess that I’m a modest serf to daily routine. For years I’ve met a handful of guys for coffee at 8 a.m. every morning at a local Starbucks (Starbucks is very patient, by the way.) It’s not that I can’t make my own coffee at home with our fancy Keurig, but there’s a social part of this routine that I like. Vacationing upsets my routine to a small extent, leaving me slightly adrift in the 8 to 9 a.m. hour. My wife of 34 years – as expected – has no patience with this and points to the sad, tiny excuse for a coffee maker in the hotel room. Pfft, I say!
So, on vacation I’ll look for a coffee place near the hotel. I don’t need to cultivate human contact, since I know from my own group that coffee group personalities take years to cultivate and that interloping is discouraged. In case you didn’t know, there are coffee groups like mine nearly everywhere coffee is served, but a cup of coffee and a newspaper [or more likely the Wall Street Journal app on my phone] fills the routine, daily void nicely, giving me a coffee bookend for my day.
Local Coffee Shops
There are plenty of local coffee shops and national coffee chains (like Starbucks and Dunkin) to choose from throughout Florida’s Space Coast. I was going to give an in-depth review on a handful of local coffee shops but quickly concluded that it wouldn’t be fair to the vast majority of great local spots.
Most downtown areas here (there’s five of them!) are home to top-rated coffee shops, each of which are unique in their own ways. Cocoa Village is home to Ossorio Bakery & Café, where the coffee is roasted on site. There are a few other places in the works in the village that will soon rival Ossorio. The Eau Gallie Arts District is home to more than 19 murals, as well as Anaya Coffee. Downtown Cocoa Beach places you steps from the beach and is home to Juice n Java, Café Surfinista and Wahoo Coffee Co. Lots of options! And Downtown Titusville is home to Sunrise Bread Co. whereas Downtown Melbourne has The Sun Shoppe & Café.
Perhaps you have a child playing in a tournament at the USSSA Space Coast Complex. Nearby you have Bold Cup Coffee inside The Avenue Viera shopping complex. Take a break from the games and refuel.
Now some of you can’t go one morning without your beloved Starbucks. I can relate, although just about any coffee source will do. The Four Points by Sheraton in Cocoa Beach has an actual Starbucks, not just a proud partner serving Starbucks (although I can’t tell the difference between the two.) Other hotels throughout the Space Coast are proud partners of Starbucks and brew their coffee. Trust me, there’s no shortage of this national chain here, as well as Dunkin if that’s your preferred choice. A simple Google search will point you in the right direction.
If you’re looking for an in-depth review of some of the local coffee spots during your visit, check out the top coffee spots here.
Coffee & IBU – Do they relate?
Caffeine after 12 noon keeps me up at night, and alcohol during the day results in what my wife could consider a badly timed need for a vacation nap (if there is such a thing). This leads to an after-hours beverage. Last month’s blog will point you in the right direction to find that perfect adult beverage, read it here. Anyway, sometimes I’ll partake in wine at dinner but mostly it’s beer, both served in a glass. No boxed wine or canned beer allowed on vacation.
Since I’m attracted to locally brewed IPA’s, and am acquainted with the International Bitterness Units (IBU) scale, I wondered if coffee had its own IBU scale. I asked Zack, the young owner at Beachfly Brewing Company in Indian Harbor Beach, himself a Purdue bioengineering graduate, if he had heard of coffee IBU. He said no, but he stated that measuring bitterness wasn’t reserved solely for beer, leaving the door open for other beverages.
I did a quick Google search for coffee IBU (just a mere 36.8 million results) and was greeted with coffee flavored beer, which seems to be a cruel slap in the face for coffee or beer lovers. Pfft, I say again! Zack’s bartender at Beachfly admits that she drinks coffee all day, hot in the morning and iced in the afternoon. She eventually graduates to beer in the evening (not while working, she insists.). This seems well balanced.
Actually, as I type this blog, I’m quasi-enjoying a warm paper cup of two-hour old coffee from a national coffee retailer, figuring my latest sip has an IBU of 20, which seems to be increasing as the sips wear on. There’s something to coffee IBU, I suspect.
Coffee and beer as comfort foods
I think coffee and beer are comfort foods. They are bookends to a successful day. They always start my day and occasionally end my day. Whether I’m home on the Space Coast, at Yosemite or Big Sur, downtown Omaha, or midtown New York City, I can find nearly the same flavors and satisfaction in drinking both. My recommendation is to take a flyer on a local coffee shop or brewer. You’ll get as close as you ever will to the pulse of the Space Coast by listening to the locals.