For some reason, 2016 has been the year of trips to Orlando. I’ve been there five times in the first four months of the year. And, before you feel sorry for me, I need you to understand something: I’m LOVING Orlando – and the Orlando Specialty Coffee Scene.
In my view, there are two places to visit as soon as you arrive in O-town.
The brainchild of Edd Siu, Vespr is the place I wish existed near campus when I was in college. There’s nothing simple about defining Vespr. If you call it a multi-roaster due to the excellent selections from Panther, Lineage and Onyx, that’s nice, but there’s so much more. You have to make sure to mention the Cafe Old Fashioned (which includes: Vespr cold brew blend, bourbon infused maple syrup, aromatic bitters & an ice rock) and other craft “cocktails”. Don’t forget said cold brew, great pastries, truffles, teas, multiple methods of preparing pour-overs and espresso drinks… Get it?
There’ a reason why they won the Orlando Sentinel’s Critic’s Choice for best coffeehouse in 2016. They’re superb, friendly, knowledgable and always pushing the envelope.
There’s a cool video of Edd discussing direct trade/fair trade and Vespr HERE.
If I’m in Orlando for a whole day, the perfect coffee experience is to hit both Vespr and Lineage Craft Coffee Roasting (located in the East End Market). When trying out a new shop, I like to have both an espresso and a pour-over. If possible, I like to try the same bean in the two different brewing styles to see what’s being highlighted in each. On my last two visits to Lineage, I tried everything they had in stock. And it was ALL delicious.
If you’ve met Jarret Johnson, who started Lineage, you’ll recognize immediately why every member of their team (Moè, Lucas, Bryan, Marcela… I’m sure I’m missing someone) is so incredibly nice and exudes enthusiasm about their coffee. It’s contagious.
Whereas Vespr is a place to sip and work, Lineage has two tables inside, but thanks to its location in the East End Market, it has the mother of all Zen-like patios outside. If I lived in Orlando, I’d essentially live in that outdoor space. It’s the best place I’ve ever seen to drink coffee and relax. And no, that’s not mutually exclusive.
Direct Trade relationships with producers in Antioquia, Colombia made for some really delicious coffees (both the San Antonio & the Santa Cruz) on my last visit – see if you can try one as a single origin expresso as well!
What I have seen in Orlando is the perfect equation: Passionate craftspeople opening the world of Specialty Coffee to their customers with depth, excellence and variety. It’s a recipe for success. I can’t wait to come visit again soon!