NEWS: King State grand opening in Tampa Heights set for June 21st

Update: It looks like King State is no longer having a Grand Opening on Friday, but instead a Friends and Family night.

The highly anticipated King State will finally open their doors next week and have their Grand Opening on Friday, June 21st in Tampa Heights according a report from local newspaper Creative Loafing.

Their cafe will be located at 520 E. Floribraska Avenue, minutes from Lee’s Grocery and Shuffle. The location has been in the works since at least 2016.

The cafe will feature craft beer, wine, and bites as well as their popular coffee roasts. The owners were early proponents of the third wave coffee scene in Tampa which has exploded over the last few years and landed Tampa on many lists for best coffee towns.

The owners were quoted by the Tampa Bay Times in 2015 saying, “If you have two roasters, then four roasters open up next year, and then those four roasters talk to friends, and eight roasters open the next year. All of a sudden, five or 10 years from now, there’s going to be a third-wave coffee shop in every neighborhood.”

The new King State cafe is a major development for the Tampa Heights neighborhood which was bolstered in recent years by food halls such as The Hall on Franklin and Armature Works.

Early investments by Ulele and Foundation Coffee have brought many business interests into the area. The loyal social media following of King State is sure to bring many people into the neighborhood.

With Bay Cannon Brewing coming soon to North Hyde Park, it seems like Tampa is heading into a major next phase of development.

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The best coffee in Florida is at Zeal Coffee Roasters and The Lab Coffee

I was reading this article recently about the best coffee across the country in Food & Wine. This senior food editor looked at coffee across the entire country and seemed to give Tampa its due by listing several great spots in town, but somehow completely skipped the best place in Tampa Bay.

I drink coffee nearly every day of my life.

My job requires me to work on my laptop so I pretty much spend all day in coffee shops throughout this nation.

There are plenty of “okay” coffee shops and plenty of great shops. If we’re talking about clear quality and passion for coffee, Zeal Coffee Roasters is the best in Tampa and I’ll be bold enough to say it is the best in this state as well.

Why not? This guy seemed to think it was okay for him to make a declaration about this whole state and somehow ignored Panther Coffee in Miami and others doing great work in Orlando. Did he try all the coffee in the state? I’m not sure.

It is really interesting that all his decisions were King State Coffee outposts. This is nothing against King State because I’m sure their coffee is probably good, but they do not have a physical location yet in Tampa and it has been delayed like pretty much every other business in Tampa learns when they try to open a storefront. It is weird to put a place that isn’t even commonly used in Tampa as the best when they do not even have a location yet. I digress.

Zeal Coffee Roasters does the work. Ask baristas in the city and many of them will tell you they love going to The Lab Coffee Shop in North Hyde Park or NoHo for a coffee. I’ve asked myself. The Lab Coffee is the best kept secret in this city. Buddy Brew? Kahwa? Nope.

What about Bandit Coffee Co. in St. Pete you ask? They are a good coffee shop in St. Pete. I can best describe my many experiences there as okay and their coffee pours as good. Nothing exceptional. Also – St. Pete is not Tampa, please don’t confuse our two very different cities if you are not from here.

I happily spend my hard-earned cash regularly at The Lab Coffee and true coffee fanatics always end up bolting into the cafe while I am sitting there doing my work.

I always end up having a nice discussion with the baristas and customers stopping in – in fact doing work there is difficult because of all the great coffee people you will meet there, but I keep going either way.

There are other coffee chains with nicer decor, say Foundation Coffee or Blind Tiger which are beautiful shops. If we are talking just coffee quality though for your buck, the espresso pours, the lattes, the drips, you can drink Zeal Coffee black and taste plenty of excellent notes throughout each pour and they regularly change the selection.

I just enjoyed an excellent Brazil espresso there recently that was truly great.

There is passion and pride in their work. Their baristas care about their jobs and actually love coffee. They aren’t just there because they need a job, but because they want to be and it is noticeable.

I just grabbed myself a bag of Zeal Coffee’s El Salvador beans that I had waiting for me at home when I arrived back in Tampa from the West Coast, and it was a blissful feeling to come back home to good coffee. I love San Francisco, but there are so many terrible coffee shops there, it is unreal. Sometimes more is less.

The Lab Coffee is the best coffee shop and Zeal Coffee Roasters is the best coffee you can get in this beautiful state and that’s the word. Now back to my coffee.

National Coffee Day 2017 Tampa Bay: Deals & Freebies

National Coffee Day is this Friday, September 29th, 2017! Plenty of great coffee shops around Tampa Bay will be celebrating with deals and discounts. Forget Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts – grab yourself some REAL coffee during this celebration.

Here is a list of the deals I’ve been able to find:

  • The LabΒ (North Hyde Park): Public cupping beginning at 11AM on National Coffee Day.
  • KraftologeeΒ (Brandon/Riverview): Coffee flights for $2 – sample several hot and cold coffee drinks
  • Caffeine (Downtown Tampa & South Tampa): 40% OFF single origin coffee beans. Slow Bar Deals: $1 Aeropress, $1.50 V60, $2 Chemex. $1 Cold Brew Drive-Thru Only Special.
  • FelicitousΒ (USF): BOGO hot brewed coffee from 9AM-11AM
  • Buttermilk ProvisionsΒ (Wesley Chapel): $1 OFF any large cold brew or hot brew
  • Jet City EspressoΒ (Seminole Heights/Hyde Park): FREE extra shot in any size
  • Kahwa Coffee: BOGO coffee all day long
  • Ginger Beard CoffeeΒ (Downtown Tampa/Channelside): $1 drip coffee and $1 OFF cold brews
  • Buddy Brew Coffee: BOGO Cold Brew when you bring a friend.

Here are some coffee quotes to live by as well:

β€œWhat do you want?” “Just coffee. Black – like my soul.” ― Cassandra Clare,Β City of Bones

β€œAs long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?” -Cassandra Clare,Β City of Ashes

β€œCoffee first. Schemes later.” ― Leanna Renee Hieber,Β Darker Still

β€œLife’s too short to drink crappy coffee and cry over boys who don’t care.”  -Unknown

β€œI decide to turn to my old faithful solution to all that is wrong in life. Coffee.”  ― Lisa Renee Jones,Β If I Were You


Any other local shops doing deals or freebies? Shoot me an email at carloseats[at]gmail[dot]com.

Guide: Top 8 Local Coffee Shops in Tampa

This list has been overdue. Tampa has a blossoming coffee scene, you would be hard pressed to find a local coffee shop 5-10 years ago. Recently local coffee shops have been showing up all over town. Here are my current top 8 coffee shops in Tampa.

The factors used to rate the cafes are quality of coffee, affordability, consistency, atmosphere, and customer service. This is a personal list and your list may differ from my own and that’s alright.

Here we go:

#1 – The Lab Tampa – Coffee Shop

Most baristas around town I’ve talked to and local business people mention The Lab. Local coffee has a community that has built around Zeal Coffee Roasters and The Lab was started as a partnership between Blind Tiger Coffee and Zeal Coffee Roasters. It’s obvious that these two ambitious local businesses joining forces would create a great product.

I only recently visited The Lab for the first time, but the coffee, conversations, and customer service has been top notch. The interior is being renovated and worked on, but to be honest – the coffee I have had here makes up for anything in the atmosphere. The friendliness of all the people who stop in also is something to appreciate.

Of all the coffee shops I have visited and constantly visit, The Lab has impressed me the most. It may not have a beautiful courtyard or baristas with bowties, but it captures the essence of what makes a good coffee shop and that makes it the best in my book.

1703 W State St.,Tampa, FL 33606. (813) 451-6662. http://www.zealcoffeeroasters.com/location/

#2 – Buddy Brew Coffee – Hyde Park Village

If we’re talking atmosphere – Buddy Brew Coffee in Hyde Park Village is a beautiful shop that I love to visit. Hopefully one day the rest of the construction in Hyde Park Village will subside and match this shop. The baristas at BBC are friendly, but not quite as friendly as some other shops. The coffee I ordered on various visits has been enjoyable.

The selection is also a little limited – but to me the atmosphere here makes up for that. Plus there is plenty of parking with the Hyde Park Village garages nearby which can be an issue at numerous shops around town. Buddy Brew has numerous locations around Tampa, but this one is my favorite.

1605 W Snow Ave, Tampa, FL 33606. (813) 575-2739. http://www.buddybrew.com/locations/hydepark/

#3 – Caffeine – Kennedy

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I enjoyed the Caffeine location in Downtown Tampa in the past, although parking is an issue both in Downtown and also at their new shop on Kennedy. I love the atmosphere inside the new Caffeine on Kennedy. The coffee here is good though not the best in town, but I do enjoy stopping by for a cup and the shop is incredibly accommodating to people who work on laptops.

The baristas are also super friendly and the poached egg and avocado toast is excellent. Nothing wrong with a coffee shop that actually has a great food selection.

2420 W Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL 33609. (813) 644-7245. http://www.caffeineusa.com/

#4 Spaddy’s Coffee Co. – Seminole Heights

I met Greg Spaddy last year at the Seminole Heights Japan Fest. The man has always been a friendly neighborhood guy that anyone can converse with. When he opened shop in Seminole Heights this year in the courtyard next to Red Star Rock Bar, lines of customers were ready for him.

The coffee and tea selection has always been excellent at Spaddy’s and prices are fair. Coffee is sourced from Zeal Coffee Roasters. One of the best things at Spaddy’s Coffee Co. is watching the locals stop by and chat about what is happening in the Seminole Heights neighborhood. That’s what community is all about and Spaddy is a community player.

The only downside to Spaddy’s is that this location is outdoors and prone to the hot Florida weather and rain. Little by little, changes have been made to address this by adding shade and power outdoors. Don’t miss the First Friday events at the truck that bring in other local food trucks and live music to the neighborhood.

5206 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33603. (954) 829-2111. http://www.spaddyscoffee.com/

#5 Ginger Beard Coffee

Ginger Beard Coffee is known as one of the first shops to sell nitro brew coffee in Tampa. Their audience is niche and mainly drawn from locals in Channelside, but I’ve always enjoyed my experiences at their shop at Grand Central on Kennedy.

The shop regularly partners with other local players such as Bake’n Babes and TeBella and keeps releasing fresh ideas. Plus I love the red ginger beards the owners have. I’d recommend giving Ginger Beard a look – it won’t be for everyone, but I love it personally.

1208 E Kennedy Blvd #112, Tampa, FL 33606. (813) 434-0795. http://www.gingerbeardcoffee.com/

#6 Foundation Coffee – Tampa Heights

Foundation Coffee was one of the early players in Tampa Heights which is now starting to boom. Originally from Riverview, Foundation is often not afraid to take risks and enter untested markets which is commendable.

The coffee at Foundation can be best described as good, but not the best I’ve had. The baristas are friendly, but not in a memorable way.

The atmosphere at Foundation in Tampa Heights cannot be beat. The outside courtyard is truly relaxing and makes you wonder why more people do not utilize the outdoors in this fashion.

Also – personally the Wi-Fi at Foundation is terrible and disconnects frequently making it a difficult shop to get any work done at. On the plus side there are plenty of plugs to charge your devices.

1607 N Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602. (813) 358-5781. http://www.foundationcoffeeco.com/

#7 Tre Amici at The Bunker – Ybor City

This shop has been in Ybor City for over 10 years and is a beautiful bungalow. There is a wide variety of options for coffee sourced from Buddy Brew and also tea and excellent Cuban toast that is representative of Ybor City.

The baristas I have encountered at Tre Amici have been friendly. Paid parking is available nearby, but actual parking spots can be a little scarce near the shop. The shop is constantly packed with customers and locals.

There are a ton of tables and plugs lying around for people who need to get work done or have a meeting.

1907 N 19th St, Tampa, FL 33605. (813) 247-6964. http://www.bunkerybor.com/

#8 The Attic Cafe – Downtown Tampa

Coffee shops are a mix of coffee and your experience there. The Attic relies heavily on experience and is more of a mix shop serving a variety of things. The thing not to miss here is the view.

The Attic has a beautiful skyline view of Downtown Tampa that you will not find anywhere else. Visit during sunset and it may be one of the best city views in Tampa.

The coffee is satisfactory – not the best I have had. The staff is much more like what you would find at a local sandwich shop, the baristas do not seem to have the same kind of passion for coffee you’ll find at other shops around town. Still – the view at The Attic cannot be beat.

There are also plenty of plugs and excellent Wi-Fi at The Attic. Parking can be a pit of a pain due to the meters in Downtown.

500 E Kennedy Blvd #400, Tampa, FL 33602. (813) 226-1003. http://www.atticcafe.net/


What are your favorite coffee shops? Let me know in the comments.