Craving coffee but looking for something other than the generic chain of coffee shops that streak every busy street corner around you? Some independent and local coffee shops can be hit or miss with their coffees, but it’s time to expand upon the ones that are worth visiting if you happen to be in the Salt Lake County and surrounding areas of Utah. Who better than a self-proclaimed caffeine junkie to tell you which ones to go for your next coffee buzz?
Located at 1588 South State Street in Salt Lake City, Utah, Coffee Connection is the epitome of “coffee house”. Local artists display their eclectic artwork on the walls, dim lighting, dark and plush couches, and even smooth running music in the background brings you in. For that coffee shop student, Coffee Connection sports a large study hall with booth seating, sturdy tables, and electrical outlets at every table for a laptop. The room is kept quiet and cool and the perfect place to tuck away and belt out that 13 page essay or perhaps even your freelance piece…the free Wi-Fi is always nice.
My most recommended drink at this establishment would have to be the classic latte. It was smooth and packed a punch. All of their drinks are flavorful and I have never had one that I didn’t like. When it comes to pastries, however, Coffee Connection has certainly missed the mark. Since this is more so my opinion on best coffee, I let that fact slide.
Coffee Connection typically runs from 8:00am – 1:00am Sunday through Thursday and 8:00am – 2:00am on Friday and Saturdays. Local bands play music from time to time and the local artwork is constantly changed out. The baristas are always friendly and knowledgeable and their pricing is a lot better than Starbucks. Give them a shot; you’ll be happy you did.
Coffee Garden most certainly fits the name. Especially since in the back of the establishment they have garden seating. Perfect for sipping a cup of coffee and reading the Sunday paper. You can relax, enjoy a tasty pastry, and get your caffeine fix within the same half hour period. Though many of their baristas seem to have an attitude, their coffee makes up for the rude. I have never had a bad drink from this coffee house.
If you are looking for a highly recommended, I would say their Chai Latte. It’s not made from a generic base and has just that right blend of spices and kick with a creamy aftertaste. Perfection. Coffee Garden does tend to get a little packed, especially during the mid-day hours and much worse after 6:00pm. However, Coffee Garden is located within a prime location at 878 East and 900 South. This area is also known as the 9th & 9th location to the locals. There are numerous shops, restaurants, and popular establishments in the area. Causing Coffee Garden to be within the epicenter of attention to both the locals and tourists.
Salt Lake Coffee Break
Salt Lake Coffee Break is located at 430 East 400 South right in the center of Salt Lake City. The area known as 400 South houses many stores, restaurants, and local establishments. It is a high traffic road with the local UTA Rail coming through. This means that Salt Lake Coffee Break tends to fill. Their parking is sparse and difficult, but well worth the hassle. The outdoor patio with seating and umbrellas makes it rather easy to stay all day. The interior area is full of large tables and an entire room dedicated to couch lounging. This is certainly an establishment that wants you to stay awhile, drink some coffee, and eat a sandwich or two.
Though this is a coffee house, I find some of their teas to be the best I have ever tried. The raspberry hibiscus ice tea with a hint of peach is amazing. Out of all of the local coffee houses I have been to in the Salt Lake area, Salt Lake Coffee Break hits the bench and sets new highs with their teas. They are not one of the cheaper establishments here locally, but definitely one of the better and they are open much later than most! You can find your way into Salt Lake Coffee Break Sunday through Thursday from 7:00am – 2:00am and Friday and Saturdays until 3:00am! So if you are up late studying for that final exam, you know you will always have a place to stop for a quick jolt.
Salt Lake Roasting Company
As a competitor of Salt Lake Coffee Break, Salt Lake Roasting Company is located literally down the street at 320 East 400 South in Salt Lake City, Utah. The atmosphere at Salt Lake Roasting Company is a little more “cozy” than Salt Lake Coffee Break, but still sports the outdoor seating, couch areas, and tables for the students. You would think the two are owned by the same people, however when you try the drinks you realize they are most certainly not.
Though the trendy lattes and mochas fail at this establishment, their simple drip coffee is still the best. Using local brews and beans, Salt Lake Roasting Company has a strong and tangy array of different beans, blends, and brews. Just be sure to ask for your coffee black. When you ask them to add the cream and sugar you tend to receive more cream and sugar than coffee. Be in charge of your own flavorings and get a strong cup of Joe. Unlike their competitor, Salt Lake Roasting Company is not open as late and is closed on Sundays. You can usually visit them Monday – Saturday from 7:00am – 12:00am. Still worth the visit, especially if the establishment down the street happens to be too packed for comfort.
Just Add Coffee
Pulling away from the heart of Salt Lake, you find Just Add Coffee at 5578 South Redwood Road. Ironically, this coffee house is located directly next door to a Starbucks coffee. Rather small in size, when it first opened I had assumed this coffee joint would be gone within the next month or so with a Starbucks big-wig next door. To my surprise, this coffee house kept up and kept booming. Annoyed at the lines of Starbucks one morning, I decided to head next door and give this place a try. Let’s just say I never went to that Starbucks again.
It is a locally owned coffee shop that uses local brews. Their Mocha Latte was seductively chocolately and sporting enough of that delicious coffee flavor to make me know I wasn’t just drinking a cup of hot chocolate. Their baristas are friendly and most definitely taking part in their own coffee habits with the amount of energy they sport. If you ever happen to be this far west in Salt Lake and don’t feel like waiting in line for ten minutes for a watered down Starbucks concoction, I recommend you walk next door and visit Just Add Coffee. One drink and you’ll know why they are staying alive even with a corporate machine next door.
Bad Ass Coffee
Living in Utah, you can see why a name like “Bad Ass Coffee” would attract anyone. Located just off busy State Street at 3530 South State Street, Bad Ass Coffee tends to be booming. Serving up cups of freshly brewed pure Kona coffee, this is the place to go for a cup of drip coffee. It’s strong, it’s smooth, and it’s an ebony cup of heaven. Though they lack in unique pastries and appear to have purchased their bagels from the local Smiths, their coffee is one of a kind. They tend to get busy in the mornings since they are located so close to the business districts and right off one of the busiest streets in Salt Lake.
Bad Ass Coffee is not really a place for hanging out. They are more of the coffee establishment where you pick up your coffee and move on with your life. Their hours speak for themselves with that feel. Bad Ass Coffee is open from 6:00am – 7:00pm Monday through Saturday and Sunday from 7:00am – 6:00pm.
Many people assume you cannot find good coffee within the state of Utah. Utah has more than enough local and independently owned establishments for java to prove otherwise. Not only do they have an array of local coffee shops, but they are worth mentioning and visiting. Local is always better than chains. There are people with heart and the real ambition to see their business grow. A chain is already a chain and typically protected by their corporate office. They do not put as much heart into their business. After all, their business is not there to contribute to the state or the people of that state. If you are in Utah and want some good coffee. Visit the companies above. Perhaps I’ll see you there. We’ll share a cup of coffee.
Operating Hours and Locations obtained from www.citysearch.com