There are plenty of good cafÃ©s in town for caffeine addicts to enjoy
By Kristen Shea
Drinking coffee is a ritual that millions of people indulge in every day. Luckily, St. Augustine is full of locally-owned coffee shops so fanatics don’t have to suffer from drinking Dunkin Donuts. There are many regularly traveled cafÃ©s located in the downtown area like Rockin’ Bean on Charlotte Street and St. Augustine Coffee Company on Granada Street. But there are several others in town you might not know.
Mystic Bean Coffee Company, 226 West King St., is a small, brightly lit coffeehouse. It has clean, white walls and floors with plants sitting on the window sills. There is funky art displayed on the walls, and provided reading material includes Natural Awakenings. The owners are the roasters and distributors of the organic coffee, which is mostly Fair Trade Coffee. You can smell the roasting beans from across the street, the best smell in town.
The Iced CafÃ© Americano is wonderful: two shots of fresh espresso served over ice is a great way to start your day. Mystic Bean also serves Mighty Leaf Tea and Dr. Smoothie, 100 percent natural fruit smoothies. Each month there is a bean featured on their Web site, giving people a chance to learn where the coffee originates. They have a variety of coffee from all over the world, from Costa Rica to India, and Jamaica to Peru.
I have never had to wait for my coffee and the service is always pleasant. If you can’t make it to their location on West King Street, you can still get their coffee downtown at Schmagels Bagels. Mystic Bean does not offer much food because their main focus is getting the best coffee out to their customers. They do, however, have bagels from Bagelicious and some homemade baked goods. Their hours are 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday. There is also a parking lot across the street and in the back of the shop.
City Perks, located downtown at 6 St. George St., has a casual, cozy and hip atmosphere, and offers outdoor seating. They serve gourmet sodas, smoothies, frozen coffee lattes and Fusion Tide Tea. It is convenient to try if you’re downtown. They have long hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday.
The service was good and the drinks are OK. Their coffee is not as strong as I would like it to be and there is no private parking lot, so you must search to find a spot. Although it is locally owned, the nature of its location targets tourists. Not a bad place, but I would not go out of my way to go there.
Jasmine’s Coffeehouse sits away from downtown at 149 San Marco Ave. Unlike City Perks, Jasmine’s has a private parking lot so you never have to look too far for a spot. They feature a variety of lattes, serving everything from raspberry truffle to pumpkin pie. I love the chocolate chai latte: it’s creamy and sweet, with just the right pick-me-up.
Over the past year, Jasmine’s menu has grown and they now offer a variety of food items. They serve breakfast all day, including the Anytime Egg Sandwich which is a quick way to get your morning protein. They also serve sandwiches, wraps, salads and desserts. Free high speed Internet is available, but don’t worry if you forget your laptop: Jasmine’s has computers to use. The owner and all the employees are all very nice.
But when it comes to getting the best coffee and experience in town, Mystic Bean gets my vote.