Coffee Breakby Mary Clymer on December 8, 2020
Six reasons why you should ditch the big brands in exchange for your local coffee shop.
A resource of independent Coffee houses in Renton
When it comes to Coffee in Renton, there is no shortage of choices. As the days continue to get shorter and braving the weather to go outside becomes more daunting, a nice warm cup of joe can warm you from the inside out.
The coffee industry is huge. From the variety of beans to the roasting style, there’s a blend right for everyone.
The big coffee brands have put millions of dollars into making coffee a commodity. They have also perfected their style so you can be anywhere in the world and get that same taste from your standard order.
While this is great, this isn't’ for everyone.
If you’re an avid coffee consumer then you probably have spent more time diving into the nuances of the industry.
Below are six reasons why you should ditch the big brands in exchange for your local coffee shop.
1. Shop Local
When you buy coffee from a local coffee shop you are supporting a person or family in your community. These are your friends and neighbors. Instead of lining the pockets of a couple of CEO’s, you are helping someone feed their family. You get to watch their business grow, see their kids grow up, and support a part of your community.
Local coffee houses often roast their coffee beans making the flavor truly unique to that location. It’s a great way to support your city, your community, and your local economy.
Nothing's quite as fulfilling as knowing you are helping the vitality of your neighborhood.
2. Meet Your Community
Coffee houses are a great place to meet others from the neighborhood. Having spent a lot of time in Liberty Cafe it was easy to see the strong community this local gem gathered daily. Besides a steady morning crowd, this has been a great location to mingle with families and watch as the kids grow through the years.
Another great community stop is Boon Boona, it’s not uncommon pre-Covid to see meetings between council members and board members solving the city's problems over a warm beverage.
Common Ground Coffee & Cupcakes has been building community in downtown Renton for close to 20 years. Not only has it been a great meeting place for families, but we as a community have had the chance to become a member of the Woon Family.
Refuel Cafe in the highlands is another example of community building in our highlands neighborhood, new owners took over last year, but they continue to stay involved.
Our friendly neighbors to the north in Skyway have had the friendly face of Nevzat (Nevzat’s Espresso) keeping his corner of the world active while every business around him slowly disappeared.
These are all examples of community. After a couple of visits, local coffee shops will start to recognize you and get to know your order. If you're new to Renton local coffee shops are a great place to meet new people and gossip about the latest happenings in Renton.
3. More Personality
When you walk into one of Renton's local coffee shops you can pick up a vibe. Something that is often missing at the more sterile chains. It's a chance to see local art on the wall (Liberty Cafe, Boon Boona, The Rose), and learn about the history of the building. These shops are often found in old buildings with lots of personalities.
Local Coffee shops have the freedom to create a personality that helps set the tone for the customer. From unique decor (Liberty Cafe) to handmade artisan soaps (the Rose Gift house & Coffee) you can walk into a local coffee shop and get so much more than a great cup of joe.
4. Creative Menus
There are some standards that you will most likely find on every menu, but local coffee shops have the freedom to create their own drinks.
Many places will have a house specialty like Bean Water up on Sunset. They make a cold brew Martini coffee drink (Say What?) and feature a whiskey barrel roast. And Boon Boona’s coffee is all African sourced, supporting a community they care about while offering unique flavor.
Other local chains like Bigfoot Java create menu items that speak to the Pacific Northwesterner, like the Nutty Yeti, or the Mythical Mocha.
When you get your coffee local they might even create a concoction just for you. You tell them what you like, and they create away.
5. Drive-Thru & Deals
Don’t have time to stop for coffee? I get it, we are busy and the luxury of a drive-thru is so nice when you’re on the go. We have a ton of options like the ones mentioned about, Water Bean, Nevzat’s, and Bigfoot Java. As well as...
Each one of these drive-thru stands offers the same friendly local feeling you get from going to a cafe. And they serve their beans while wearing jeans! I often get nervous after making the mistake of driving my niece thru one of Washington's famous bikini barista stands.
Many of these local stands offer a punch card or perk. In fact, many of our local favorites host some kind of rewards program. If you are a regular it’s not uncommon to be given a free cup of coffee or treat every now and then.
6. Better Quality
Because your local coffee shop doesn't have to worry about big-scale production they often buy their coffee from local roasters. They want to be sure that you have the best damn coffee experience so they splurge on quality.
Local, organic, and small-batch are just another reason why going small is more personal.
Coffee in a Time of COVID
So much of coffee culture is about community. So where does that leave these local shops during a season of physical distancing?
Just like any small business, they rely on people like you to recognize the benefits of keeping your dollars local. Restrictions may temporarily keep us from meeting over a nice cup of coffee, but it shouldn't stop us from continuing to support our local flavor.
Even if you aren’t a coffee drinker there is plenty on the menu to keep the community coming back. Not to mention all the work these local leaders put into providing a cozy environment for you to come back to once this is all behind us.
Coffee gift cards are a great stocking stuffer for anyone on your list. Not only are you helping a small coffee house but you are giving the gift of a local experience to a loved one. Now that’s what I call a win-win.
Many of these shops are already ahead of me on the gift game. Been Water and Boon Boona have bags of coffee ready for your holiday enjoyment. Gift baskets and other gift items help to support local artists at the new Rose Gift house & Coffee on Main Ave.
The simplest way to help these local spots stay alive is to go experience them for yourself. Then share your experience on social media and with your friends. Word of mouth is always the best form of local advertising and everyone knows that local coffee is superior coffee.
The Renton Chamber is always excited to share your stories and hear from you. Please let us know where you go for great local coffee.