Five unique coffee shops in Orlando that aren't chains
by: Estee Martin
Getting tired of those same old coffee chains? Here are five independent coffee shops that you just have to check out today.
1. Drunken Monkey
Drunken Monkey feels like you're sitting on your best friend's comfy couch sippin' on coffee. It's a great place to work, study or just relax. The owners, Larry Hardin and Maureen Hawthorne, are often onsite talking with the guests and taking orders; it has a really cool vibe. Many people refer to it as the "college-town coffeehouse." I could not have said it better myself.
The coffee is roasted in-house so it's super fresh, all of the soups are made from scratch in the kitchen and they offer vegan and gluten-free items.
One of my personal faves is the ANZAC cookie. These vegan cookies are a mix of oatmeal and coconut. Absolute heaven!
Then there's the delish Mojo Jojo. It's iced coffee with cinnamon, vanilla and condensed milk. I can sip on those all day! But if you're not in the mood for coffee, you can grab other items like quiches, wraps, paninis, smoothies... the list goes on.
Oh, and the Styrofoam cups are biodegradable! Environmentally friendly is the way to be! See ya there!
444 N. Bumby Ave
Orlando, FL 32803
2. Café 906
Café 906 is so much more than a café! This family-owned French bistro offers authentic fresh coffee, croissants, quiches, crepes, omelets, salads, sandwiches and desserts that will make you feel like you’re in France. The owner, Vincent makes everything daily so the items are unbelievably fresh. That’s one thing that I absolutely love! Once you order your meal, the prep begins in the kitchen so it’s made just for you. Their attention to detail is fantastic.
If you’re in the mood for some traditional French dishes, then the Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame are perfect! The Monsieur is a baked or fried boiled ham and cheese sandwich and the Madame is a version of the dish topped with a fried egg. They are seasoned and toasted to perfection. I can’t get enough. I have to hold myself back from ordering two at a time. And the almond croissant is out of this world too! (Can I have four of those, please?)
The atmosphere is another one of my highlights. You can sit inside, or dine alfresco. And if you have fur-friends, then the outdoor seating is perfect. There are palm trees lining the street and a beautiful view of Lake Baldwin.
4932 New Broad Street
Orlando, FL 32814
3. Vespr Coffeebar
If you’re in the UCF area, Vespr Coffeebar is the perfect place! It has a laid back atmosphere, friendly baristas and of course, delicious coffee.
Usually I’m a “shot of espresso” type of girl, but as of late I’ve become a latté addict – hot or cold – doesn’t matter. My go-to has been the iced mint honey latté. The honey is local, which is a huge plus! It’s so good.
Another one of my faves is the Matcha Latté. If you’d like to get into drinking green tea, I recommend you start with matcha. This finely ground green tea provides an antioxidant-filled boost that is so tasty.
You also have an assortment of baked goods available like the Nutella Bomb Cookie, which really is ‘The BOMB.’ And most of the baked goods are vegan. Bonus! Oh, and you can grab some beer too.
626 N Alafaya Trail #105
Orlando, FL 32828
4. 407 Café
You can’t be in Orlando, “The 407” and not go to 407 Café. The first time I went was for a work meeting. I ordered a double espresso and told the woman I was meeting with that I was not hungry. She insisted I order a crepe anyway. I’m so happy I did. I ordered the Dulce de Leche crepe. It was unbelievably tasty! It was just crispy and sweet enough. I went from not being hungry to wanting about five of those crepes. And if you order one, top it with some delicious goodness. I chose the coconut flakes – best idea ever.
I’ve gone to the café several times since that meeting and I’ve tried just about everything on the menu: flatbreads, gelato, paninis, soups and salads.
If you go, one salad you have to try is the “Honey Hammy, That’s a Strawberry.” Besides the name being adorable, it’s filled with everything good. It has ham, mozzarella cheese, spinach and strawberries.
The café is located in Lake Nona and if the weather is nice, you can sit outside. Enjoy!
9161 Narcoossee Road
Orlando, FL 32827
5. Achilles Art Café
Maybe you want a colorful art-filled coffeehouse? Then Achilles Art Café is THE spot. It’s a comfortable place to study, grab a bite to eat, grab a cup of Joe or just look at some really cool art.
Everything is made fresh! The Caprese Panini is mouthwatering. It’s made with mozzarella cheese, bacon, tomato paste and mayonnaise pressed on a sourdough bread. What’s not to love?
Let’s get to the coffee! In addition to being delicious, the coffee is Certified Fair Trade and organic – right out of Groveland FL. Many espresso options, drip coffee and cold brews. Everything about this place screams PERFECTION.
The atmosphere is super cool too. They’ve got board games, books, hookah and of course, art all over the walls.