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How much do you love coffee? I mean “REAL” coffee? Not the ones full of syrups and artificial flavors. For the true coffee aficionados, I’m excited to say I’ve found a place for you. Vespr Craft Coffee & Allures in the Waterford Lakes area will not disappoint. It’s only been open for a little over a month but this place is definitely amazing.
Vespr would be classified under the “Third Wave Coffee” movement. The first wave is coffee like Folger’s where you’re just drinking typical mass produced coffee. The second wave is where people start getting fancy with their coffee with their speciality roasts. Then we get to the third wave of coffee. This is for the person who takes it to another level. You truly adore coffee. You want to know where it came from, you want that perfectly brewed coffee, you appreciate the depths of the flavor. It’s all about the quality here.
As I entered Vespr, it came off as very spacious and minimalistic. The gray walls had a few quotes here and there but not much else going on. Chairs and tables against a wall here, large work table and bar stools there…I’m getting a workplace environment vibe as a opposed to a lounging on a couch place.
Before going up to the register, there’s a “sniff bar.” Definitely stop and take a moment to sniff the coffee beans and tea leaves.
Vespr offer baked goodies from bakeries around the US. Some were locally from here in Orlando such as Iced Bakery.
Unfortunately, the coffee beans are not roasted in house but they are ground to order and brewed by the cup. The coffee here is fair trade and single origin, meaning the coffee you buy comes from one specific area and your purchase benefits the farmers. Even though the coffee menu is limited, you’re getting higher quality coffee beans and Vespr constantly rotates the selection.
For hot coffee, you can elect to have it brewed with a siphon or with a trifecta brewer. I had the Marcala brewed on the Siphon, also known as a vacuum pot. If you choose to get your coffee via siphon, it is an additional $1.50. Getting your coffee the siphon route gives a lighter color and it removes the coffee oils. Alicia, one of the baristas made my coffee. It was SOOOOO cool. I hadn’t seen such a thing before and I was mesmerized by the orange glow. OOOOOOHHHHH! Depending on the coffee, it takes about 90 seconds or less for the coffee to be brewed. I’m not going to get into how it works since there’s a lot of fancy schmancy science stuff going on here between the pressure and water vapor. Alls I know, that it’s fantastic coffee. If you want to know how the process really works, the staff here would be happy to explain it to you.
The coffee is served in a double wall insulated glass. I loved the presentation of the beverages here!
The Barrel Smoked Sweet Iced Tea ($6.5) is a new favorite of mine! The mason jars are smoked with oak chips and a mint essential oil. The tea is served only in-house and you prepare it yourself. The ice is already in the mason jar. You can definitely smell the smokiness when you open the jar. The tea used is a loose leaf Yunnan tea (black tea) cold brewed for 10 hours. You’ll also get one ounce of Grade A Vermont maple syrup. This syrup has been aged for a year and what a difference it makes! It was a fun experience putting the tea and the syrup in the jar, and then shaking it all up. I was concerned initially if it was going to be too sweet with the maple syrup but it was perfect. It reached a nice balance without it being too sweet. An interesting side note is that the ice cubes are well, “cubed.” Vespr has a Kold-Draft ice machine which produces perfectly square ice cubes. Each cube is exactly one ounce and with it being cube shaped, the ice melts slowly. Such ingenuity!
Elderflower Champagne ($4) is non-alcoholic beverage made with natural elderflower syrup and carbonated distilled water. The glass is sprayed with a mist of rose hydrosol. The rose hydrosol is pretty much like an essential oil but more water based. This is a sensory delight as you smell the roses while drinking the elderflower champagne.
All the cups and lids are compostable. Even the stickers are compostable. After talking to Edd Siu, co-owner of Vespr, I saw how detailed everything was in here. It really surprised me and I had a wonderful time. This truly is a place focused on sustainability. Even for the folks who aren’t crazy coffee fanatics, you’ll find something you’ll enjoy here. Vespr will give you a unique experience, an amazing sensory journey! (And you can feel good about it too!)
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I used to think coffee was disgusting, honestly. How on Earth could someone drink that stuff? Over the years, I’ve even managed to drink straight black coffee. I just love going to coffee shops. Sit down, relax, and just hang out. I have compiled my top 3 favorite coffee shops in Norfolk, VA in no particular order.
I remember coming here back in high school. It’s been open since 2001 and it’s easy to see why it’s Norfolk oldest independent coffee shop. It’s located in Ghent, off of Colley Avenue. It’s got an awesome eclectic atmosphere. They also host events so it’s a great place to check out what’s going on in the local area. Nice selection of fair trade coffee, tea, and other tasty treats. Now, there’s no credit card minimums. Elliot’s Fair Grounds is also open later than some other places.
This awesome coffee shop has been opened for about 2 years now and I can’t believe I hadn’t been to it sooner. Another great spot in Ghent. The decor is a bit more feminine to me but still interesting. I love the fact they roast their own coffee beans here. Nice! Also, Café Stella’s coffee is legit here. I ordered a macchiato here and it’s a true macchiato. Espresso with a dollop of foam. Not the kind of macchiato you’d get elsewhere. *ahem* Café Stella have a food menu which I heard was absolutely delicious. A little bit more of a professional crowd I noticed here. Outdoor seating is available.
Cure is a cute little coffeehouse. I love the openness of this place. The vibe of this place is a “good different”, felt more hipster/younger to me. I ordered the Crème Brûlée Latte (vanilla and caramel) and my friend got the Crazelnut Latte (caramel and hazelnut). They have beer, wine, coffee, tea, sandwiches, sandwiches and other goodies. All in all it’s a nice little spot to just hang out.
It’s a quick little walk from the Freemason stop on the Tide. Awesome!
All three have their uniqueness and I encourage you to check them all out! It’s always time for coffee!
Ah, Orlando.. “the city beautiful” as they call it. With such tourist attractions like Disney World and Universal Studios, the dining options are abundant but as I always say, it’s not about the quantity. I most definitely prefer quality over quantity any day unless I’m super hungry. Just kidding, maybe. I have quite a few vegetarian friends and sometimes it’s a bit hard finding a place for them to eat. Who wants to just order side items as their meal?! Also, sometimes you may not realize but even sauces are not vegetarian/vegan friendly. I end up being the bad guy and telling them, “You know… that Caesar dressing has anchovies in it.” Hey, I’m a good friend and if you’ve chosen not to eat meat then I’d be a bad friend for knowingly letting you devour some meat product. Right?! Right. So, I’ve even met some people who are particular in the fact their food has no interaction with meat whatsoever. (Such as the oil the food is fried in, or the knife previously touching meat.) Well luckily at Dandelion Cafe, you won’t have to worry about that.
Nestled near the Vietnamese restaurants, we have this quaint place on Thornton Ave. If you’re coming from I-4 towards Bumby, take a right when you see a big mural on the wall. (If you’re past Mills, you’ve gone too far. Make the U-y!) On the right, you’ll see a bright green house. Yep, you’re at the right place. As I walked inside, there’s definitely a warm ambiance. Along the wall, there’s a bunch of tea and baked goods. It’s a bit crowded by the register so I grabbed a menu and took a seat to glance over the selections. There’s seats and couches inside Dandelion as well as outdoor seating for the folks who want to enjoy the Florida weather.
This is a great place for anyone who loves tea, vegetarian food, or has celiac disease. Celiac what? Celiac disease, that essentially means if you have a gluten intolerance (where you can’t eat oats, wheat, and barley). Of course this list isn’t all inclusive, but just a guideline. The menu had a large selection of entrees from soups, appetizers, burritos, and sandwiches. The sweet potato burrito caught me eye immediately. MMMM…. sweet potato.. but in a burrito? Sure, why not. I use the “why not” philosophy with pretty much everything. “Why not?” as long as it doesn’t cause bodily injury to myself or is dangerous. This sweet potato burrito seemed pretty safe for me! For my side item, I ordered the “whirled peas”. What a cute name! My burrito had the sweet potatoes, of course, and quinoa. For those who aren’t familiar with quinoa, it’s pronounced “KEEN-WAH” not quinn-no-ah. You can thank me now, since you won’t look like an idiot. Quinoa is amazing nutritious and delicious. I buy it at Costco for much cheaper than what you’d expect to pay from Whole Foods. It’s a pseudo-grain that you can cook in a sweet or savory dish, very adaptable. The burrito worked very well with the mix of sweet potato and quinoa as well as the other ingredients. You can’t go wrong with blue corn tortilla chips either.
I shared my other half of the burrito with one of my friends so I could try the black bean burrito. Sharing is caring, don’t-cha-know! Cheesy, black bean goodness with a little kick. I definitely recommend this one! This burrito also had quinoa in it. Between my cups of iced tea, my burrito, chips and whirled peas, I am stuffed! But not to the point of food coma. That my friend, is an uncomfortable feeling. Oy! No one ever wants to be that full. So if you’re in the mood for something healthy and filling, go to Dandelion Cafe. Enjoy the art on the wall, make convo with people, and have a fun time! Even if you aren’t a vegetarian, this is a great place. Maybe it’ll change your mind.
This place also has different events going on, so be sure to check out their website.