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    I hate coffee.

    Every time I’ve tried it out, the caffeine just doesn’t kick in for me and the taste isn’t enough to keep me coming back. Whenever I’m in a coffee shop, I just have to avoid the words latte, cappuccino, espresso… you get the idea. Despite that, I do spend a fair amount of time in coffee shops using them as a nice place to catch up on work and spend time with friends. Coffee shops have become the ideal meeting place for awkward first dates, heartfelt reunions and everything in between.

    If you’re like me, and just can’t stomach a cup of coffee, here are my recommendations for what to get at some popular Louisville coffee destinations:


    McQuixote Books and Coffee 
    1512 Portland Ave, (502) 530-9658
    House-made chai, $3.50

    I think what was even more exciting than the freshly made chai was the atmosphere of McQuixote. I love books just as much as I dislike coffee, and there plenty of books to check out in this used bookstore/speciality drinks location. The chai, along with McQuixote’s smoothies, teas and other options give a nice selection for the coffee abstinent. There are even pastries from Flour de Lis Bakery, house-made vegan ice cream and Ugo bars, along with made-to-order sandwiches. As a bonus, McQuixote is in the same building as the Tim Faulkner Gallery, so you’ll still have plenty of time to check out some art after your coffee and chai date.


    Heine Brothers’ Coffee 
    Multiple locations
    Banana chai berg, small $5

    There are so many flavors going on in this drink — it’s great. Heine Brothers' has a wide selection of seasonal drinks, many without coffee, so there’s always the chance to get something new when you’re there. The notoriously chill atmosphere of Heine Brothers’ is also a plus. Each of the 13 locations has its own distinct vibe, but it’s always a good one, like in the Crescent Hill location pictured below. I went here after a friend told me that this was the first place she ever had coffee and enjoyed it. Maybe this will be your chance to change, too. Who knows?


    Please & Thank You 
    800 E Market St, (502) 533-0113
    2341 Frankfort Ave, (502) 432-8614
    Nulu’s Best Black Iced Tea, small $2.75

    Chocolate chip cookies are the move here. I really don’t know how Please & Thank You manages to have these soft chocolate chip cookies with perfectly melty chocolate chips at all times of day, but they do. If you need something to wash down one of the best cookies you’ve ever eaten, try Nulu’s Best Black Iced Tea. It comes with a slice of lemon and sprig of mint and is totally perfect for the encroaching humidity of summer. Plus, both locations in ideal locations for a walk after your refreshments.


    Press on Market 
    252 E Market St, (502) 290-2180
    Recovery Mode Smoothie, $8.25

    One of Press's baristas (who doesn't like coffee, either) recommended this smoothie. It can pretty much replace a meal, and I'll gladly pick it. It has kale, banana, blueberry, peanut butter, coconut milk and honey. It’s purple and pretty much tasted like the bananas, so if you're one to shy away from green smoothies, have no fear. It’s an easy way to feel like you’re ridiculously healthy while sitting in a cool coffee place. Press has only been around since February, but they know what’s up. They also have some baked goods, including vegan options. For bonus points, the baristas acted like we were all best friends as soon as I walked in. Cool place, cool people, cool smoothie.


    Smokey’s Bean
    1212 S 4th St, (502) 654-7246
    Fog Lifter, small $3

    I’m now so sorry I doubted Smokey’s Bean. When I read the description of this menu item, Earl Grey tea infused with vanilla bean syrup and mixed with steamed milk, I thought there was no way I’d enjoy this. The Fog Lifter ended up being my favorite drink I’ve had while trying to find coffee alternatives. It was just sweet enough and really was a great start to my morning, just as the menu promised. I also grabbed a chicken salad wrap, fresh and delicious. Smokey’s Bean has hookah on Friday and Saturday nights starting at 6 p.m., if that’s your thing, and a food selection that also includes pulled pork sandwiches. There’s a little bit of everything here and the atmosphere is just right to chill with some friends in Old Louisville. Plus, it's dog-friendly!


    Images: Margo Morton

    Margo Morton's picture

    About Margo Morton

    Ball State journalism and sociology student. Born and raised in Louisville and wouldn't have it any other way.

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