Coffee shops around Salt Lake City are catering to aesthetics—sometimes, at a steep cost.
Many students are the hidden consumers of “trendy” coffee, often described as hipster.
Publik Coffee Roasters, located on 975 S. West Temple, is one of those coffee shops and said it believes “in quality over quantity, community over corporate, planet over profit” as well as a “drive to serve the flawless cup of coffee.”
So how big of a deal is aesthetics in coffee shops?
“Immensely” said Molly Person, a barista at Publik, whose favorite drink is a macchiato. “It’s huge for business.”
The coffee bar at Publik is built almost entirely from sustainable materials. Its food menu is small, primarily consisting of bread items from Red Bicycle Breadworks located in Park City.
Unique to Salt Lake, Publik’s coffee quality is different from any other shop in town.
“Coffee acidity” is what barista Forrest Williams said sets the shop apart. It has a large variety of coffee beans “versus the basic coffees,” Forrest said.
Publik also has event spaces, including a warehouse-type space for large events and two smaller spaces.
Much like Publik, coffee houses such as Coffee Garden have similar aesthetics. With classical music and a large art scene, Coffee Garden has a main location in the 9th and 9th area of SLC.
Coffee Garden sells the photographs and art that decorate its walls. Always full, the patio seating serves as a great place to enjoy the surroundings.
Another local joint, Sugar House Coffee, located on 1100 E. 2011 South, can be ideal for students.
“We have thought long and hard about creating a public space like Sugar House Coffee,” according to its mission statement. “[With] local and fresh baked in-house pastries to go with our signature coffee drinks.”
A space for studying and socializing, Sugar House Coffee provides quiet ambiance during the day with art and music in the evenings.
“No one else in the state provides a place like we do,” according to Sugar House Coffee’s website.
“Coffee houses attract people that appreciate art and diverse culture,” said Spencer Squires, a barista at Sugar House Coffee who enjoys an iced americano with brown sugar and cinnamon.
As a Westminster student working at Sugar House Coffee, Blake Kelly, a fourth-year aviation major, said it has an “awesome work environment” that is “really flexible.”
“It’s good to be in an environment that’s good for learning” said Kelly, whose favorite beverage is a jaydecano.
Unlike these local coffee shops, Westminster’s own Griff’s Roost, located in the Basis Center, provides something a little different.
Aesthetic matters, but “not as much as the coffee,” said Corby Mitchell, manager of Griff’s Roost.
“It’s where the money is,” said Mitchell when discussing trendy shops. “We wanted to feel more like a coffee shop instead of corporate.”
Griff’s is operated by Bon Appétit.
So why should students choose these shops?
“Work space, outlets at pretty much every chair, free WiFi, meeting spaces,” said Williams, Publik barista whose favorite in-house drink is a cortado. “We have a lot to offer for students.”
Person, another Publik barista, said when she was a student she would “feel better about studying [at Publik]…I would come to study, but it would be like a treat.”
Coffee Garden, also surrounded with all types of people, has a lot of seating space and a social scene.
“Everyone here always has laptops or books,” said one patron, who enjoys a shot of espresso.
A coffee shops like Sugar House Coffee is ideal for students because it has a “great space, positive, welcoming culture that has the an understanding of college students” said Squires, a barista. “We understand the Westminster community.”
Sugar House Coffee has “an environment that is good for many different things” said Kelly, a barista and Westminster student. “Study, hang out, meet new people. It’s very social.”
Also a social environment, Griff’s Roost is “convenient, it’s easy, we have awesome pastries,” said Mitchell, the manager. “It’s the cool place to go if you don’t have a car.”
The options for coffee are endless, but the real treasures are found in the aesthetics of some of Salt Lake’s finest coffee houses.