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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Students disclose local coffee shop favorites

Montgomery+Waterer+puts+in+an+order+at+Nine-Twentynine.
Chloe Leggett
Montgomery Waterer puts in an order at Nine-Twentynine.

I have made plenty of tough decisions in my life. I had to confidently choose my college, major, roommate and residence hall, and I am not one to try on eight different outfits before leaving the house, either. I usually stick to my first choice.

However, despite my ability to make countless decisions every day, I continuously struggle when I must answer one question in particular — which coffee should I order? I have wrestled with this question for years, but this week I have finally decided to confront the problem and ask others about their orders.

For some reason, each time I step inside a coffee shop, I lose all decisiveness. The long lists of options overwhelm me, and the people in front of me intimidate me with their complex requests for half-caf, triple-shot caramel mochas.

I guess I should blame my parents for drinking Folgers coffee exclusively, or I should blame myself for not hopping on the Starbucks bandwagon at a younger age for not realizing that options existed beyond my dad’s cheap Walmart coffee pot. Regardless of who is at fault, I am a 20-year-old who still does not know the coffee lingo.

Do I want an iced or hot coffee? Do I want oat milk, almond milk or regular milk, and does the coffee I am ordering even need milk? What is the difference between a latte, cappuccino and americano? Will they make fun of me for pronouncing frappe incorrectly? Did I just say expresso instead of espresso?

These sorts of questions bombard me, so I usually end up ordering the same coffee as my friend after I force her to order first.

I do not think I am alone. I believe that many people, like me, pretend to know more about coffee than they do. I have seen plenty of fellow sufferers stare in fear at the menu of local shops in Starkville.

So, I have decided to end this struggle against coffee-shop menus once and for all with some expert advice from coffee enthusiasts. 

Zadie McCraw, a junior mechanical engineering major, spoke with me about her love of coffee. 

“Growing up I would go to Starbucks all the time and order Frappuccinos. Around junior year when everyone was in lockdown, my sister and I would escape our house and go to Dunkin’ just for something to do. Then I guess around 2021 I started consistently ordering coffee and trying out new things,” McCraw said.

McCraw offered advice for those who feel overwhelmed by coffee menus, suggesting they “ask the baristas for their recommendations. No one knows the menu better than them, and they can ask follow up questions to gauge what type of coffee [they] would enjoy.” 

McCraw also gave some recommendations that she enjoys both hot and iced. She orders the caramel latte from Nine-Twentynine Coffee Bar, the rainy day latte from Strange Brew Coffeehouse and the backcountry from Umble Coffee Co. 

Like McCraw, Montgomery Waterer, a sophomore biomedical engineering major, has made coffee a large part of his daily routine.

“I have probably been drinking coffee since middle school, but I started really enjoying it and making it about this time last year when I started college,” Waterer said.

Waterer emphasized the importance of relying on friends in addition to baristas when deciding what to order at your favorite coffee shop.

“Every coffee shop has its own menu and special items that are not on the menu which can sometimes make it confusing. If you have friends who go to a coffee shop a lot, ask them. They may know about some of those options,” Waterer said.

Waterer recommended the dirty chai, a mix of spiced tea and steamed milk with a shot of espresso, from Nine-Twentynine Coffee Bar. He also recommended the medium roast black coffee from Umble Coffee Co, which he described as nothing fancy but good and satisfying. 

Waterer disclosed his favorite coffee in Starkville as the brown sugar shaken espresso from The Coffee Depot, stating it to be “the best coffee you can get in Starkville.”

If none of these options sound tempting, coffee shops often have more options than people realize. 

Cameron Renfrow, a senior psychology major, does not love coffee like McCraw and Waterer. Still, she has plenty to choose from at places like Nine-Twentynine Coffee Bar.

“Their chai is fantastic. It has so much flavor, especially compared to the on-campus chain options where I have to request extra flavor to taste something. The Italian soda is pretty unique and delicious with so many flavor options too,” Renfrow said.

Renfrow offered some advice for people who might like to study these items on the menu. 

“Try to find a menu online before you go in. Then you can sit in your car and take all the time you need to read through the menu,” Renfrow said. 

Regardless of if you choose to ask a barista or scrutinize the menu, hopefully you will feel more prepared to order your next cup of joe — perhaps even Waterer’s favorite brown sugar shaken espresso or a classic rainy day latte. 

About the Contributor
Rowan Feasel, Staff Writer
Rowan Feasel is a junior English major. Rowan is currently a staff writer for The Reflector.
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    Sam BoydJan 31, 2024 at 3:28 pm

    This is the most relatable piece I have read in forever… I struggle with ordering at coffee shops too for all the same reasons. I’m glad to know there is someone else out there with the same issues.

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