Bean There, Done That.


Nisha Naveen

The Madagascar latte: a best seller and unique specialty at The Coffee and Water Lab.

Mochas, frappuccinos, and refreshers…It’s very likely that these phrases seem familiar to those who have lived in the Bay Area long enough. However, there’s more to coffee than just the drinks available at Starbucks. Cafe hopping, a new and trending hobby, does just that, allowing customers to explore a larger variety of places and menus, while also supporting local businesses. The Bay Area especially has a diverse number of cafes featuring aesthetic interiors, unique drinks, and welcoming environments. 

Some may agree that the first noticeable aspect upon entering a cafe is its interior. When it comes to aesthetically pleasing decorations, the cafes around the Bay Area may have just that. Cafe Big Mug in particular has an extraordinarily stunning interior with fairy lights, rustic chairs, and potted plants. An employee at the cafe described the environment as “inviting,” and explained its contrast with their “chain competitors,” emphasizing that “it is important to think small and stay local.” Additionally, if you are looking for an aesthetic cafe to study at, the Coffee and Water Lab may be perfect for you. This cafe features a pure white interior, pastel artwork on the walls, and high-level, elegant machines for filtering, brewing, and roasting drinks. Upon asking a worker to describe the cafe, he responded with “modern,” and explained how “local cafes ensure better quality.” Moreover, cafe hoppers looking for an aesthetically pleasing stop on their next adventure should surely add these places to their list.

Some may argue that the most important part of cafe hopping is obviously the drinks! Thankfully, the numerous cafes nearby provide a variety of unique drinks and opportunities for customers to branch out from standard menus. When it comes to unique drinks, Voyager Craft Coffee might be at the top. This cafe features drinks inspired by famous and iconic locations around the world. Their best-seller, The Tokyo, is a cherry blossom latte, which includes a floral taste and Japan-inspired flavor. The Bali, another location-inspired drink, features a tropical coconut cream and cayenne pepper spice, to create a unique flavor only found at Voyager. While on the topic of unique drinks, another great option is Bitter + Sweet, featuring drinks such as the red velvet latte and lavender latte, drinks unable to be found at standard chain cafes. Overall, a major factor of cafe hopping is the ability to branch out from basic menus and explore what specialties the local area can offer. 

Finally, a defining factor of cafe hopping is the welcoming environment provided by these small local businesses. Because these cafes are not corporate companies, customers are ensured an experience that comes straight from the heart, while supporting their community and receiving better quality for the same cost, all at once. A staff member at the  Bitter + Sweet cafe explained that “with local cafes you know they started from scratch, and it’s always a struggle” showcasing how much this activity connects customers to their community. To add perspective, the worker at Coffee and Water Lab explained “1% of all profits go to the Pure Water Foundation” and the employee at Cafe Big Mug stated, “it is important to keep it small and keep it local sometimes.” These various responses from different employees portray how wholesome and inviting this activity really is. By getting rid of the corporate business factor, employees are able to connect with their customers, have conversations, and contribute to a calming and relaxing atmosphere overall. 

All in all, cafe hopping really is an “inviting” experience, allowing customers to experience a variety of different local places, while also enjoying their aesthetic interiors, unique specialties, and inviting communities. Therefore, remember that standard chain places are a little “bean there, done that.” Instead, whether it is to get some homework done, spend quality time with a friend, or fulfill a coffee craving, hop on the cafe-hopping train!