I am not a huge coffee nerd. I do not like black coffee, nor coffee with cream and sugar. Don't even mention espresso. The only form of coffee I can tolerate are mochas. They are the perfect balance of coffee and chocolate, not too overwhelmingly strong of caffeine.
I’ve developed a love for mochas in the past four years which has encouraged me to explore more coffee shop options. I have come to love spending time at coffee shops, whether it be reading, coloring or hanging out with friends. After living 11 years in Bloomington, I have found my top three favorite coffee shops that I think everyone should check out.
Number three: Brilliant Coffee Company
This gem is hidden off the square behind Social Cantina. I found it simply because I was looking for a new coffee shop in town to try. Its main star quality: gelato. From tiramisu to gianduia to cheesecake, they have numerous gelato flavors to choose from and indulge in.
As an Italian American, I was ecstatic to discover that Bloomington actually had a gelato shop. I could not remember the last time I had eaten some. My personal favorite is their chocolate with chocolate chips. The chips add more texture and richness to the flavor.
[Related: COLUMN: Cooking with friends - a chaotic enterprise]
Aside from the gelato, Brilliant Coffee Company has mochas that are on the sweeter side but creamy and tasty, nevertheless. Their hot chocolate is also worth trying. I enjoy their indoor seating area and overall vibe; they have classy light fixtures and a couple brick walls. As you step in, you get an overall feeling of being in a modern, cute coffee shop that is not in a small town but a big, bustling city like New York.
Number two: Verona Coffee House
Opening only last year, Verona has come to be one of my favorite places to get coffee in town. The mochas here have a much stronger taste of coffee, but only just enough to give you a sample of what real coffee tastes like without the bitterness. The strong taste is muted and is very creamy.
The inside of the coffee shop is very cozy and contains many beautiful plates and silverware in glass cases behind the register. It gives off an older Italian villa vibe. I especially like the outdoor seating area at Verona; they have many tables outside and a fireplace to sit by. I also like watching the cars on the street drive by and bringing a book to read.
Verona is only a 15-minute walk from my house – it presents an opportunity to walk to the café on a nice day.
Number one: Crumble Coffee and Bakery
Crumble is my favorite coffee shop in town for sure. Even though I go multiple times a week, I only ever get a chocolate chip cookie and a zebra mocha: coffee with a mixture of white and dark chocolate. It strikes the perfect balance and makes drinking coffee tolerable. There are many other food options to choose from: quiches, tarts and croissants, to name a few.
[Related: COLUMN: Local shops perfect for summer in Bloomington]
I also love going because the environment is very calm and serene; it is not too loud and allows people to both study and talk. There is indoor and outdoor seating as well as creative seasonable drink options. Moreover, there are three different locations in town to choose from – switching it up keeps things interesting and increases accessibility.
Isabella Vesperini (she/her) is a sophomore majoring in journalism and minoring in Italian. She likes getting breakfast at coffee shops after her morning runs.