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“Grounded in Hard Work”: Blue Collar Coffee Review

Walking into Blue Collar Coffee, you are greeted by a warm embrace of comfort and welcomeness, and the air filled with the aroma of freshly ground espresso beans and gently warming pastries. With “coffee with character for hardworking people,” Blue Collar delivers quite simply the best coffee option in town. 

At Blue Collar, the coffee evidently comes before all else, with displays of their Ruby Colorful Coffees lining the walls near the counter. “I feel,” barista Annie says, “what we do differently is everything our beans do,” noting the importance of the ingredients in their products. Indeed, Blue Collar offers different selections of coffee beans in their beverages, from the creamery’s seasonal blend to their constantly changing single origin options. The coffee is balanced, strong, and elegant in its flavorful presentations. All of your classic coffee shop selections are present on the menu, but likewise are flavors and toppings that may be harder to find at other establishments. Personally, I have found pleasure in Blue Collar’s simple yet perfected lattes, perhaps with a touch of a flavored syrup from time to time—maybe try a caramel apple or cinnamon latte. The seasonal blend lends itself delightfully to the latte format, expressing its vivid, subtle notes of cherry, caramel, praline, and milk chocolate without the overwhelming power of espresso alone, not to say that the espresso is not good in its own right, of course, it certainly is. There are alternative milks and teas available, too, if that is your thing.

The food selection is not as wide as the coffee selection, however. Blue Collar offers a good egg and cheese sandwich, which has recently transitioned to being served between ciabatta buns instead of the fromer croissants. However, those flaky layers of butter and pastry have not left the menu, still being offered on their lonesome. All the pastry options are similarly excellent on their own, especially when heated up by the staff; the pastry menu includes cinnamon rolls, croissants, apple cinnamon muffins, and a variety of danishes. Annie notes that the best food option to her is the updated egg and cheese sandwich, but I see the croissant as simple yet dominant in this arena.

The shop itself is a cozy spot to get on productive work or relax with friends on the weekend. With playlists curated by the staff, the space imbues a sense of “calm,” as Annie puts it. There seem to be just the right number of tables to fit the number of occupants, with people always typing away on their keyboards while sipping on what Blue Collar does best. The space is warm, inviting, and oddly familiar even if it is your first time in. It is almost too easy to sit down at a table with a drink or two and work for hours with the perfect amount of background noise that maintains focus and minimizes distractions.

Perhaps the most interesting part of Blue Collar is the “pay it forward” drink system. On the wall opposite the cashier is a display of punch-in cards with large Sharpie lettering. A customer has the ability to buy a friend, family member, or stranger a drink of their choice for them to discover on the wall. Playful, hand written notes to friends are cute and cheerful, reminding you of what it means to be in a community. Beyond those mentioned by name, I have seen drinks purchased for a police officer and “any woman in STEM.” This concept seems like it should be a staple in all modern coffee shops.

Ultimately, Blue Collar has perfectly executed coffee, delightful pastries, and a sense of community that is impossible to find anywhere else. It has shown light on the other side of the coffee world; say goodbye to the conglomerate chains and say hello to our local coffee shop: a shop that is “grounded in hard work.”

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