Many of the coffee shops on what will from here on be known as The List are scattered distances of thirty to forty to sixty to even ninety minutes from my home. Not to worry though, I intend to hit them all; regardless of how long it will take! I’ve started with the shops that are closest to my home. The perk there is that if I didn’t capture enough pictures, didn’t take enough notes, or wanted to try several things, I can easily go back for a second visit. The problem, however, is that for almost all the places I have visited, I have wanted a second visit regardless of any of these things.
Our most recent trip was to Bucks Ice Cream & Espresso Bar in Lambertville. I’ve determined a second trip here will be rather difficult to schedule in the near future because Lambertville is not home to one exceptional, magazine worthy coffee shop, but two. Lambertville Trading Company, another featured coffee shop, is literally within walking distance from Bucks. In fact, had we been spending the entire day in Lambertville, I might have finagled my way with hubby to try both in one visit. However, it is rather difficult for me to enjoy hot coffee in the heat of summer and not immediately be filled with the desire to find a pool to jump into, which is pretty much what we did.
Bucks has a 3/5 star rating on Yelp. We were there around 10 am, and the place was completely empty, save one barista and another who entered moments after us. Open from 7 am (sometimes 8 am) until 8 pm, I couldn’t tell if Bucks was more of a morning spot or an evening spot. Local artwork (current medium: photography) hangs on the back wall of the shop. The coffee bar is half coffee and half ice cream–a beautiful combination indeed. Bright green paint is the backdrop to the handwritten coffee menu. They serve the basics in terms of espresso drinks, but they are exceptional. My cappuccino was well made and, since we were eating in, was delivered to my table for me. I did note that some Yelp reviewers thought their espresso drinks took too long to make, however, that was not my experience. After all, frothing and percolating is not an instant process.
Lance tried their Ethiopian brew after noticing that their Bucks Blend was an extra-strong French roast. (Neither of us are into having to run to the bathroom immediately after enjoying our coffee nor do we enjoy feeling our hearts pounding violently in our chests). My hubby is pretty awesome. As a general rule, I’m sticking to trying cappuccinos at the coffeehouses we visit and he has been trying the house blends (or other blend of interest) so that I get an idea of not only their espresso, but also their coffee (two different worlds in the eyes of coffee lovers). The Ethiopian blend had sweet and mild notes. It was one that I could see myself coming back to when in the mood for a simple good cup of Joe.
Our pastries were served on cute dishes, however, my dish was far more exciting than my NY crumb cake. Lance’s black and white, however, was delicious. It had no crunch (which is important in a black and white), was moist inside, and pretty thick. The other treats that lined the counter had me regretting my immediate choice of coffee cake. Half were in a display case while others (like cookies, biscotti, etc) were in cute jars on the counter top. The lemon bars were enticing, but after discovering I can make them on my own I decided not to get one.
The baristas weren’t going to be baristas I could cozy up to, they were rather quiet with a ‘here-we-are’ presence about them. In other words, they weren’t jumping through hoops to impress. This is not necessarily a horrible thing, after all, they made me an excellent cappuccino, but it is an important factor in my wanting to frequent a coffeehouse.
As I have expected and experienced so far with the other coffee shops we visited, Bucks did not take credit cards. When I started this coffee venture, I decided I needed to revive the ’emergency money’ policy my mother taught me when I graduated high school.* Having been bitten in the past, and not very much enjoying ATM fees, I knew that chances were non chain coffee shops were most likely going to be cash only.
*The long and the short of it: Upon graduation, my mother gave me $50: one twenty, two tens, a five, and five ones. She deemed it ’emergency money’ and said she always tries to keep this amount and selection of bills on her for emergencies.
I consider coffee an emergency, don’t you?
I don’t really take issue with small businesses being cash only. I understand that credit card fees take a major chunk out of their business. They actually do me a favor too, because, as you can see, they are making me not be so frivolous with my credit cards and forcing me to carry cash again. I do, however, take issue with small businesses asking too high a price for what they are offering. A small coffee at Bucks was $2.00 and a small cappuccino was $3.50. (Depending which one you frequent, even Starbucks isn’t that high priced for those items). While the coffee was admittedly good, they might need some kind of rewards system to get me to continue to return to prices like those.