SG/NT July 2017: For the Coffee Is Life, Mr. Harker

Coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee.

We all love our coffee.

Well, I love my coffee, anyway.

I use it to lure Muses.

It could be a Goth thing; honestly, I know very few Goths that don’t enjoy a lovely brewed beverage, be it coffee, tea, beer, or perhaps mead. Or it could be a writer/artist thing; the words do seem to flow better when there’s coffee on hand, and art ideas also seem to flow as well, though the chances of spillage on a  piece are a danger I don’t like to contemplate. Art and coffee are best combined in the idea and planning stage, in my opinion, or at least for someone of my (limited) ability, anyway. Or it could even be that coffee is a joy when it’s cold outside, and it’s nearly always cold here…cold being relative, of course.

The coffee of choice is brewed at home by Der Mann on a lazy Sunday morning, and sipped leisurely while I Skype with Herself during our weekly Best Friends KoffeeKlatsch.

But there is much to be said about coffee shops – much, much, maybe too much to be said. While I drink brewed/drip at home, I do love a latte, and for me, the best place for that is a coffee shop. (Mostly because I don’t want to go to the trouble of buying and learning to use a latte maker.)

So, coffee shops. Shall we begin with Starbucks?

I will never, ever denigrate Starbucks. They gave me a job when I needed one, and that will always mean something to me. The fact that I was miserable working there is not a reflection on the company, it’s an illustration of the fact that I am completely unfit to work retail. Also, much of the initial work on the Perfect Coven Series was done in a Starbucks up the street from my house in Atlanta. That particular location is near and dear to my heart.

That said, while I can and do enjoy a cup of Starbucks, they are not my top choice for a coffee shop. The advantage to Starbucks is that you can find one pretty much anywhere. The disadvantage to Starbucks is that you can find one pretty much anywhere. That means that all Starbucks use the same coffees, the same syrups, and make the exact same drinks. There’s very little variety from shop to shop, whether it’s in Atlanta, Michigan, or Virginia.

And speaking of Atlanta, Michigan, and Virginia, I have favorite coffee shops in all three places.

Let’s visit Atlanta first. There, my favorite coffee joint is Chocolatte. That  is where I go to have coffee with my friends, an event that usually stretches to several hours. There’s a little side room where you can go if you’re in a group that will give you some privacy, especially if you tend to laugh loudly, as we do. They have a black & white cookie that I love and make a mean raspberry mocha.

My father lives in Virginia, so when we go to visit him, I always manage to include a trip to Zazzy’z. Zazzy’z is located in historic downtown Abingdon, in an old Victorian-esque farmhouse.


While they are, admittedly, a bit hipster (as in big on the gluten-free everything), they make wonderful coffee. There, my favorite drink is the Irish Creme (not at all gluten-free, I’d bet) and a kilfli from the lovely Balkan Bakery that shares the space with the coffeeshop (again, pastry most likely not gluten-free, but I don’t care, I don’t have celiac disease nor am I a hipster. I’m a Goth.). I have a terrible tendency to also acquire a tiny, hand-painted Matryoshka doll for my collection every time I visit.* 

*I meant to take a picture, but forgot. Sorry.

Zazzy's Coffee
Since it’s a 9-hour drive to Virginia, Der Mann stocked up on Zazzy’z coffee last visit!

The best thing about Zazzy’z, according to Der Mann, is that they roast their own coffee on-site. They carry a large variety of roasts in the shop, bagged and available for purchase. As I acquire nesting dolls, Der Mann acquires bags of his favorite roasts every time we visit. 

And finally – Michigan. By far the best coffee shop here is Brewed Awakenings. While they don’t roast their coffee on-site, they do buy from a local roastery.* They also offer an array of pastries – it’s a different selection every day — baked in-house. Their scones are divine. Any day I can get a Drunken Irishman and a sweet cream scone is the best day EVAR.

BA Scones!
On the bottom left are the coveted sweet cream scones. NOM!

Der Mann and I have gotten Herself and BB addicted to the Brewed, to the point that BB, when on a site visit, drove 45 minutes to have dinner with us and get herself some scones to take home to Cinci.

*Note to self: find out the name for Der Mann.

Brewed Awakenings is family-owned and operated. On any given day, at any given time, you’re apt to run into the owner, her husband, or one of her sons. They’re all friendly, warm people, and deeply invested in the cafe. It makes the shop a place you’ll enjoy visiting.

Here are some other pictures of Zazzy’z and Brewed Awakenings: