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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Now brewing: Aggieland’s best local coffee

Photo by Cameron Johnson

Steve Turner holds out freshly roaster coffee beans. 

Being a college town means that students, locals and visitors are no strangers to coffee. The local one-of-a-kind shops are what makes this town unique, and with so much to choose from, there’s an option to satisfy everybody’s needs.

Best Study Spot: Sweet Eugene’s

Sweet Eugene’s House of Java has been around for students and locals since 1993 when Aaron Brown started the shop with his brother. Customers can always count on “Sweets” for an open table and some friendly conversation with the baristas. 

“The size of our place is pretty large for a coffee shop, so people can stick around for hours,” Brown said. “We’re open really early, and we’re open really late. We try to create a second home for a lot of people, and we hear that a lot which is great.”   

Located off George Bush Drive and Harvey Road, Sweets is a great location close to campus. There are multiple sandwiches, crepes, pastries and desserts to choose from along with a full espresso bar, smoothies and teas. 

“The place is sectioned off in different rooms, some are music friendly, some are quiet without any speakers,” Brown said. “I think it’s conducive to people meeting, whether they want a quiet space or not in groups. Hopefully, they can just relax, hang out here, be with friends and connect with people.” 

Since its opening almost 30 years ago, a number of loyal regulars visit the shop once or even twice a day, according to Brown. He’s heard people joking that the shop is their office and they love to come in and get to work. 

“A lot of people come here for more of an experience and getting to see some friendly faces that they know,” Brown said. “We want people to not just come here for food and drink but to have this moment where they can foster relationships and friendships.” 

Best Specialty Coffee: What’s the Buzz?

Located on 1600 Texas Ave. in College Station, What’s the Buzz is the local home to a world that coffee creates. What’s the Buzz views coffee as more than just a kick of caffeine to get students through the day, but considers the beverage to be a gathering point.

Rodrigo Chavez, the current owner of What’s the Buzz, started his brewing journey over 10 years ago when he moved to College Station from Guatemala and noticed the absence of knowledge in specialty coffee. 

“I couldn’t find a good brand that I thought was good, tasty … I realized it was a combination of different things. The lack of having good coffees available on the market,” Chavez said. 

Chavez wanted customers to experience drinking black coffee and the different amount of flavors a specific bean can provide. 

“Coffee has probably the same amount of flavors, number-wise, as wine,” Chavez said. 

According to its website, What’s the Buzz values the importance of community, starting from the determined farmers that work hard around the world to the local community of students and coffee enjoyers who want to learn. 

“We have classes once a month … We just want students to learn,” Chavez said. 

The shop also works with the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, which is part of the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service, to help the Center for Coffee Research and Education and collaborate with coffee farmers for more sustainable solutions. 

Cole Crump, Class of 2022, said that in his year and a half of working at What’s the Buzz as a barista, he enjoyed the small business nature the shop has to bring.

“Anytime you want to understand specialty coffee, this is the best place to do that in town,” Crump said. 

Best Beans: Polite Coffee Roasters

Tucked away in Downtown Bryan is a grand, Victorian-style home with hundreds of years of history. Steve Turner, co-owner and founder of Polite Coffee Roasters, has turned the house into a home for all. 

“I was in Afghanistan in the end of 2013, and I had called my brother,” Turner said. “He said, ‘Let’s do something together as a business.’” I was drinking really bad coffee in my tent, and that’s when I had the idea: We could do coffee.” 

Turner began roasting beans as a hobby and was approached in early 2020 by Barry Ivins, the owner of Kyle House at the time. The two collaborated to make Polite what it is today, now located at the former home of Edwin Kyle, the namesake of Kyle Field.

“It’s a weird, cool [piece of] local history,” Turner said. “On top of that, it’s the perfect setting for our brand because it’s a house. Edwin Kyle was an ambassador to Guatemala, and that’s where we get a lot of our coffee. It’s one of my favorite coffee-growing countries in the world.” 

On top of serving high-quality coffee, Polite has its own roastery where beans are roasted after being filtered by Sovda, an optical sorting machine. Turner noted that it’s an impressive piece of technology to have at their size, and he estimated that a little over 1,000 pounds of beans are roasted per week. 

“We wanted to be a place in the community that people could meet and spend time together, and slow down,” Turner said. “We’re normal, ordinary people doing ordinary things, but trying to do really good coffee.” 

Best Community: The Village

The Village, located 210 W. 26th St. in Bryan, opened its doors in November 2008 as a small cafe and local art gallery. Now, it is the heart of the arts community in Downtown Bryan and promotes “all things local,” according to the shop’s website. The owner, Kristy Petty, spent years in the service and restaurant industry, which motivated her to create what is now known as The Village.

“The arts and the culture that exists in major cities, I wanted to experience more of that here,” Petty said. “We realized that because I wanted to do local art … and put live music in here, that it just makes sense to make it a local food place.”

The Village is considered home for many small local businesses in Bryan. According to its website, the experiences a customer has is all produced by people and farms that are only blocks away from the comfortable seats provided in the shop.

“The thing is that everything is local here … our honey … our drip coffee is ‘Village Coffee’ from What’s The Buzz? … you can’t get it anywhere else,” Savannah Stovall, a current barista said.

Stovall explained that The Village Coffee is a medium blend that is a little bit sweeter than other coffee blends. 

“A lot of coffee places burn their beans and we don’t so it gives [the coffee] more of a muddy flavor,” Stovall said. 

“It created a very lovely community who lean on each other,” Petty said. “The Village, to me, is a community working together to showcase what Bryan-College Station has to offer.” 

Best Vibes: Carport Coffee

If you’re looking for a hip and funky place to grab some coffee or a delicious breakfast taco, Carport  Coffee is just the place for you. Within walking distance of campus off University Drive, the small, minimalist shop is a more recent addition to town. 

“When we started, we were just two guys that didn’t know what they were doing,” co-owner and current operator Chris Klein said. “We’re just the little shop that keeps trying; we like the fact that people find us and think we’re the diamond in the rough.” 

Klein and his college roommate Griffin Foley floated the idea of the shop for five years before they committed in November  2019. Through snowstorms and quarantine, the two have realized how strong their relationships with customers truly are.  

“People enjoy the comfortability,” Foley said. “They know what they’re going to get and how they’re going to be treated. Your barista is a lot like your barber where if they do a good job you walk out of there happy, but if they do a bad job, it can really set you back a couple days.”  

Klein said they encourage their baristas to be themselves and embrace their individuality. He said when you’re behind the bar, “you’re more of a party host than a barista,” and are in charge of curating the vibe. 

“We’re here for students and for our community, coffee is just our medium by which we get to know people,” Klein said. “We don’t just do it until we get it right, we do it until we can’t get it wrong.”  

Best Drink Name: Rooster’s Bike & Coffee Shop

Just down the road from Texas A&M’s campus, Rooster’s Bike & Coffee Shop has been known for its multifunctional use of a coffee and bike shop rolled into a pop culture home. Jason Hamilton, owner of Rooster’s Bike & Coffee Shop, explained that from the very beginning that they weren’t trying to be a normal coffee shop. 

“We’re not playing jazz,” Hamilton said. “And most coffee shops don’t have a full functioning bicycle shop hanging out inside of it.” 

Located on 317 College Ave., Rooster’s is a different type of coffee shop, where groups — whether working on a  projects or socializing — will be able to have their own conversations without the worry of being too loud while also providing bike services for the community.

As a college student, finding a place to study on campus can be a needle in a haystack during finals season, and Rooster’s knew that when converting its pre-existing bike shop to a coffee shop as well.

“Students aren’t buying bikes or repairing bikes every day,” Hamilton said. “But every day, they’re drinking coffee and studying.”

Rooster’s is known for its medium to dark blend, provided by Polite, a local coffee roaster. With the medium blend being used more for their drip coffee and dark for their espresso drinks, both are rich in flavor that have a hint of both nut and chocolate.

“We wanted [the] coffee to stay the same. We didn’t want just vanilla latte, caramel latte,” Cody Hamilton, Rooster’s long-term barista, and Jason’s son, said. 

Rooster’s is home to unique coffee nicknames like the Fleetwood Macchiato and Aloha Latte served in random coffee cups that don’t match. The shop’s value is to serve a great product while creating a not-very-serious atmosphere for students to remember. 

“You never know what to expect in a day, each day is different,” Cody said. 

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  • Michael, a 14-year regular to The Village Coffee shop, sits with a glass of wine in the building located in historical Downtown Bryan. 

    Photo by Cameron Johnson
  • Polite Coffee Roasters, built inside an old victorian home in Bryan, Texas.

    Photo by Cameron Johnson
  • Beans fall out of a in-house coffee roaster at Polite Coffee on Friday, XX, 2022 in Bryan, Texas.

    Photo by Cameron Johnson
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