Coffee is the way of life for many folks. We always encourage people to take advantage of visiting their mom and pop shops in their local towns and cities. Church St. Coffee will also tell many people that the best way to enjoy a unique cup of coffee is buying it from a micro roaster.
From recent personal experiences, I see that coffee drinkers are willing to spend money on coffee at the drive-thru or a huge chain coffee shop. Nothing wrong with that, except there are some small concerns.
Many of these chain places have no idea where their coffee was roasted at, or when it was roasted either. The baristas usually just know the roast profile of the coffee and that's usually about it.
To me in my personal opinion that takes away from the buying and coffee experience. Starbucks is a great company, Dunkin' as well. They contract their roasting to other companies, to meet the giant demands for their chains all over the U.S.. Meaning some coffees are collaborative estate coffees (multiple farms). What's wrong with multiple estate coffees in a bag or brew? It's not giving true credit to the farm that picked the coffee. It's also not giving you a true cup. It will never be consistent.
Many small coffee shops have roasters now in their shops and will roast and then sell their coffee in house. Those are the people you want to visit. They are for the most part extremely knowledgable people. They can tell you what origin a coffee is from, the roast and most likely the flavors that it produces when brewed.
The image of visiting Starbucks is mainly what people are paying for. The famous cup in hand post on Instagram. Not saying that their workers are not passionate about their art of crafting great brews, but it's a coffee juggernaut, where you most likely will never see the chain owner at work and no real concept of ownership to customer relationships ever being built.
Keep an eye on these sort of things. The micro roasters, the mom and pop shops are the people who work hard, day in and day out, to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. They really depend on you, to earn a living.
How nice would it be to walk into a coffee shop and have the owner take your order?
Or how cool would it be for a coffee roaster to show you around his shop?
Now those are real coffee shop experiences. The face to face, hand shake experience. The craft of coffee roasting or brewing handed down from owner to employee is a beautiful thing. Which people these days don't get to find time to appreciate or enjoy!
Next time you're on your way to buy a cup, or order a bag online for your office or home, stop and google some local shops before ordering from these corporate giants. You will have a greater appreciation for the coffee you grind, and brew. It's right then and there, an experience that begins with two cups, and you conversing with friends, family, or colleagues on the unique buying experience of a cool shop you bought from locally.