The Coffee Loft, a true neighborhood coffee shop. Tucked into the lower end of Peters Street, it’s been open in Castleberry Hill for almost 5 years, but one can easily bypass the shop if your visual and olfactory systems need a morning jolt of java before getting up to speed. After crossing the threshold into the store, all of your senses are instantly romanced by the sights, sounds and smells of an authentic neighborhood coffee shop, as opposed to the chain stores that just happen to be located in your neighborhood.
As you pass the quaint sitting room filled with books and magazines, Alex, The Coffee Loft Shopkeeper, welcomes you and then displays subtle salesmanship as he educates you about their offerings.
The menu is simple, but uniquely labeled with, “First Floor,” “Second Floor” and “Third Floor” replacing the customary, “Small,” “Medium” and “Large” cup sizes. Order a “Third Floor” mocha and he’ll ask, “Extra shot with that?” Distracted by the warm and homey interior, you’ll surely answer, “Yes, why not.” With blueprint in mind, Alex goes to work behind the counter stacked high with mugs, baskets, coffee beans, bagels, snacks and other provisions used to jump start your day.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, so you shouldn’t expect your coffee to be made in a minute. As previously mentioned, this is a true coffee shop, so your Cup o’Joe is treated with a little more T.L.C. than usual. If you haven’t yet accepted patience as a virtue, count a few “One Mississippi…Two Mississippi’s” while your 18 ounces of heaven is prepared.
Once The Coffee Loft’s resident craftsman is satisfied with his work, you’re presented with a liquid-filled, nondescript white paper cup, which doesn’t do the brew any justice. You are asked to give your taste buds a sample before purchasing to ensure that all expectations are met. Even after giving two thumbs up, Alex lets you know that if your coffee is not up to par, he’ll gladly start over from scratch.
The “Third Floor” hot mocha is a smooth and even blend of espresso and chocolate that leaves a smile on your face from first sip to last gulp. Unlike at other places, your mocha is thoroughly stirred, so you’re able to drink all of your calories instead of using a spoon to scoop the last bit of tasty chocolate goo from the bottom of the cup.
While cashing out, if you weren’t paying attention, you’ll soon realize that your were gently up sold when you accepted the extra shot in your mocha, but the trade off in taste makes it totally worth the cost. As you autograph your debit card receipt, you’ll be informed about The Coffee Loft’s other food and drink offerings, including their cost-conscious breakfast menu. Since your first experience was so enjoyable, your next visit is already a forgone conclusion.
The only drawback to The Coffee Loft is also its greatest asset – it’s hidden in plain sight. It’s not the most noticeable shop on Peters Street, but once discovered, it will instantly become one of your favorites.