27.) Finding a new awesome coffeehouse…right around the corner!
I adore coffeehouses. In high school and college, there were no real coffeehouses around where I lived. There was the basement cafeteria on campus that served the usual suspects of assorted flavored coffees (french vanilla, hazelnut), and there was the dingy, smokey diner across the street from my dorm that served 75-cent cups of coffee with free refills – during high stress finals time I would usually camp out there at odd hours. But I didn’t really experience coffeehouses until my summer in Pittsburgh. We’d trek down to Caribou or Kiva Han on Forbes Ave and my roommates would study for the MCATS while I read a novel or journal articles. Ever since then, I’ve really enjoyed the spending time in coffeehouses. Most of my studying first year in the PhD program was spent at Texpresso in north Austin. The bulk of my first master’s thesis was typed up at the local Flightpath, near my old apartment. My friends and I would meet at sunrise to study at Medici on the drag the morning of a big test during my leveling classes, and my sister and I would bask in spring breezes on the porch of Mozart’s, which sits right on Lake Austin. My greatest love affair, however, has been with Epoch.
Epoch is everything a coffeehouse should be. It has plenty of seats and tables, and extension cables galore so you will always be able to juice up your laptop when you get in the work-zone. The music is not too loud, but it’s peppy. The lighting is gentle and soft, not blaring. There is plenty of outdoorsy porch space for nice days, plenty of bike parking (and nearby street parking for when the parking lot gets full), delicious coffee and tea, reasonable prices, a small but delicious food menu assortment, free water, and the baristas are friendly, knowledgeable, and chill. It’s also open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s got a very artsy feel, but perhaps the thing I like most about Epoch are the people.
Epoch patrons are a very eclectic and friendly group that’s fairly representative of what Austinites are like. Most of the people are students and are there to work, but there’s also several regular artists, chess/checkers players, and even a fellow who comes to do wood carvings. Not surprisingly, Epoch is a pretty popular place to be.
Most of the time I never have a problem finding a place to set up my little work station, but as we near the end of the semester, the rare nights where there is just NOTHING available are becoming more frequent. These nights were always dejecting, because I knew if I tried to work at home my productivity was going to suffer. Enter Monkey’s Nest coffeehouse.
This past Thursday a fellow speech student and I were trying to get some work done at Epoch and couldn’t find any place to sit. On a whim, we decided to try this new place that’s really close to where we live. Bingo. It was a great coffeehouse….cute and cozy, with a fireplace, and an interesting layout. I was incredibly impressed with the drink I got too! I don’t do caffeine after 3 pm, and so I have gotten used to drinking some flowery herbal teas (not my fave, but I make do). At Monkey Nest I had a caffeine free coconut Turkish spice tea, made with steamed milk and honey. Oh, heavens, did I ever smile!
I’m so happy to have discovered this new little treasure, just in time for the finale of my final fall semester.
So if you read this, and you are making the rounds to the Austin-based coffeehouse greats, I hope you put this one on the list!