Coffee isn’t a choice. It has been a way of life. Ever since that fateful day my sophomore year of college when I was desperate enough for a little extra weeks during finals week, I ditched soda and sugary carbonation for the inimitable flavor and charge of that little roasted brown bean.
And whenever I travel to a new town, there three things that I have to fine in order to turn that city into a surrogate home: the local bookstore, an old bar, and an artisanal coffee shop. This blog will be a written testimony of the best coffee dens in the Holy City herself, Charleston.
Here are the basic ground rule. The establishment will be judged on the following four categories: coffee (flavor), food (variety and taste), atmosphere (presentation, seating space, music), and extra goodies (wi-fi, air conditioning, memorabilia, etc.). Also, I will exempt any national chains so as to absorb the distinct caffeinated taste of Charleston. So, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Krispy Kreme are disqualified. Without further ado, next up is…
Black Tap Coffee Where: 70 1/2 Beaufain St., Charleston, SC 29401
Coffee: Slow drip dark roast coffee from Papua New Guinea. Dark and enticing as a grand adventure, the bean at Black Tap is full bodied and potent. The flavor lingers on the tongue and feels like one is reacquainting themselves with an old friend. Wrapped in a a thorough embrace of the coffee palette, Black Tap are consummate task masters on the journey to cafe nirvana.
Food: Cinnamon Coffee Cake A fitting accompaniment to the dark and stout slow drip splendor frolicking in my mouth. The coffee cake was chewy and sweet in wholesome bites but fragile enough to pick off little bits. Though the coffee cake was scrumptious, the food options at Black Tap are minimal with a handful of cookies, cakes, scones and croissants available to purchase. Make no mistake, Black Tap throw their coffee mixology skills around. They are skilled samurai in the arts of the coffee bean. There is no time for inconsequential things like sandwiches, parfaits and biscuits when caffeinated greatness is on the line.
Atmosphere: A minimalist outlay and decor cover the black and brown tables, chairs and counters inside the modest sized storefront. The aroma, indie music bouncing off the walls, and good cheer is given plenty of room to move, however. Huge expanses of natural light opens upon the inhabitants of the coffee shop through the expansive front windows. Vintage black and white home photos line the wall. It is a classic feel in an establishment striving to be on the cutting edge of caffeinated elixirs.
Extra Goodies: Tucked in a residential corner of Beaufain Street and just a stones throw away from the hustle and bustle of the College of Charleston’s campus and the King Street retail row, Black Tap Coffee nearly guarantees a quiet and relaxing coffee sanctuary. There is wifi but surrounded by private residences, it is hard to find the internet stream. Overall, Black Tap Coffee is for the no nonsense coffee drinker. The guys behind the counter are mad scientists intent on perfecting their concoctions for optimum bean explosion. We are lucky enough to taste the results.