Bold Brews - Guide to Greater Tampa Bay
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Bold Brews

Bold Brews

From quaint to glamorous, Cuban café con leche to golden oat milk lattes, Greater Tampa Bay suits every kind of coffee lover 

Visitors and residents alike may find themselves in need of a jolt of caffeine when exploring everything Greater Tampa Bay has to offer. Luckily, the area has their bases covered when it comes to a fresh cup of joe. 

Tampa ranked as the sixth-best coffee city in America in 2022, thanks to its immense number of cafes and coffee shops per capita, according to a report by WalletHub. Trying to visit all of GTB’s cafés would be a jittery experience, so here are a few to turn to when coffee cravings hit. 

To best appreciate a good cup of Joe, learn what goes into making it. In Ybor City, 22nd Street Coffee takes education to a new level by providing guests with coffee tours. This immersive experience brings coffee lovers up close and personal with the process, from holding raw coffee beans to studying the tools required to roast, package and ship products.  

The coffee shop embraces the cultural significance of coffee and its importance in drinkers’ social lives with their friendly sun-soaked café covered in hand-painted murals. Pay homage to the cigar rollers and factory workers who worked tirelessly to build this city by ordering the beloved café con leche. Made with brewed Cuban espresso, steamed milk, sugar and sweetened condensed milk, this saccharine treat is jet fuel in a cup. 

Much like the beloved Cuban sandwich, the best café con leche in town is wildly debated among locals. What if coffee enthusiasts could have their pastelito de quayaba y queso and eat it too? Ybor’s La Segunda Bakery has been slinging the best café con leches and baked goods since 1915. For an authentic Cuban breakfast, go for a pan tostado, or a buttered and pressed slice of La Segunda’s famous Cuban bread. 

GTB is both rich in history, and innovators in coffee. Buddy Brew Coffee boasts the motto, “Brew Good and Do Good,” and are doing just that at its eight locations and brew truck. Buddy Brew successfully remains on the minds and in the cups of Tampans, with a carefully selected collection of beautifully roasted beans and limited-edition specialty drinks made to celebrate local sports teams and events such as Gasparilla.

For coffee lovers and aspiring photographers, look no further than downtown St. Pete’s new kid on the block, Paradeco Coffee Roasters. It is safe to say for Paradeco, it is all or nothing: They roast the whole coffee bean on a zero-emission roaster. Paradeco looks like a sponsored Instagram post brought to life, with its art-deco and Old Florida-inspired posh pastels, glossy surfaces and glam textures. Come prepared with a fully charged phone and clever coffee captions.  

When looking for a caffeinated concoction in St. Petersburg, a visit to Black Crow Coffee is a must. The flagship café has served as a safe haven and eclectic gathering space for artists since 2015. It would seem impossible for Black Crow to offer space to work on a laptop, sip craft coffee, sing to the heart’s content at an open mic and have a lazy morning under a canopy of trees, but they manage to do it all at their Grand Central location.  

Not only is Black Crow filling the local community’s cups, but it is diverting waste from the local landfill. Black Crow Coffee is classified as a zero-waste business. Its second location can be found in Historic Old Northeast.  

After a grand opening in 2022, Raining Berries now has 20 locations and more on the way. Each location offers sustainably sourced coffee and conference rooms for work and study. They also donate one percent of all gross profits to various charities. Run by a family with over 200 years of family ties to the Ugandan coffee industry, Raining Berries knows how coffee is done.  

When it comes to coffee with attitude, few do it better than The Blind Tiger. Another name for speakeasies, Blind Tiger cafes exude coolness and claim their roasts are “so good, it should be illegal.” They have six locations throughout GTB. If artists in the trendy art markets of Seminole Heights or a tastemaker in SoHo are spotted sipping a cold or steaming brew, chances are, they got it from Blind Tiger. 

Café Vino Tinto in downtown Safety Harbor has won the hearts of the locals with exquisite espresso, handmade ingredients and friendly service. Get a taste of Costa Rican coffee, courtesy of their family-owned farm. Save room for a plate of Café Vino Tinto’s glorious waffles. 

Lady and the Mug is a GTB newcomer. The coffee shop planted roots within walking distance to the University of Tampa and is already making caffeinated waves with their message of empowerment and inclusion, and vast menu that aims to please. Owner Aimee’s coffee education comes from Portland, but her mission is all about supporting locals. Guests can appreciate cheeky artwork both throughout the space and in their lattes, as well as vegan-friendly food and beverage options. 

Coffee connoisseurs in need of an elevated roast should find themselves at The Lab Coffee in North Hyde Park. Not only is chatting up the barista supported, it is encouraged. The Lab is all about giving their guests the star treatment and geeking out about the latest technologies and techniques to achieve coffee nirvana. 

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Downtown Dunedin’s answer to a café with looks and substance is Tükrō Coffee, pronounced “two crow.” Sparked by the passion and longing for a good New York City coffee, former firefighter Dominick Briganti purchased an old home and turned it into a bright and welcoming café. Those truly enchanted with the space can even rent a room. The upstairs unit is available for rent on Airbnb, so guests can grab a date-syrup sweetened golden oat milk latte to-stay.  

Folks in Temple Terrace need not worry about making a trek for a good brew in a homey space thanks to Felicitous. This quaint and colorful coffee and teahouse is treasured by locals because of its quirky charm, cozy drinks and mind-blowing pastries. Felicitous is also known to host the occasional jazz musician, pop-up boutique or local florist. 

For javaphiles looking for a safe space, an oasis of sorts, to sip good coffee and enjoy good company need to look no further than the Oasis Coffee Spot. This family-owned café in New Port Richey seeks to bring peace and rejuvenation through their coffees and teas.  

Come for the coffee, stay for the food. Clearwater is blessed with Southie Coffee. Residents and visitors alike can grab coffee drinks made with locally roasted beans, as well as an extravagant assortment of baked goods, including gluten-free options.  

Cap off a caffeinated adventure with something special. The Scott can be found in the lobby of downtown St. Pete’s historic Cordova Inn, serving sleek and sexy cocktails. But pay attention to their coffee partnership with Hogg Batch. Twin brothers David and Duane Hogg are roasting coffee and aging it in used spirit barrels to infuse their java with game-changing flavors, such as coffee + bourbon, coffee + gin and coffee + Jamaican rum. Score a cup of their ingenious brew at the Scott or grab a bag of their beans at a pop-up. 

By Jensen Taylor.

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