Stop: Opelika, Alabama
Shop: Side Track
Drink: The Young Man
Hey there, guys! Happy (yet another) Thursday! Real quick, you may not have noticed (I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t) that I recently went through and deleted a lot of duplicate posts that I didn’t notice until just now. They must have gotten duplicated during our move from WordPress.com. There were, and I’m not exaggerating, pages upon pages of duplicated posts, each one with a few views sometimes even hundreds! I’m a little loathe to kill so many posts, just due to the number of views on each one (can that hurt my numbers?). I did want to respect you all enough to both let you know the reason behind the sudden dive in post-numbers, as well as not pad my stats necessarily if that’s a thing.
That aside, I realized I hadn’t written about Side Track Coffee in Opelika. My previous partner in blogging, Miss Jeans, kept telling me about it but I never did find a chance to actually go. That is, until I worked literally 4 minutes from the place. Once I got my job in Opelika, despite it being terribly inconvenient to make that trip on the daily, I did look forward to hanging out with the kind people at Side Track Coffee. The rumors were true of them this shop being some kind of promised land for the coffee disadvantaged. There are no set prices, which when I was super broke and wanted coffee that was great for me. I was amazed at the number of locals to the town that hadn’t heard of the greatness that is them.
I had to carpool to get people to walk in because they didn’t believe me. It reminded me of myself, and how I never made it over there. And, no one ever did, much to my dismay. For this post, I found my notes for my first trip there, so I’m going to share that first experience with you here! When I walked in, the first thing I noticed was how open, and airy it was. The aesthetic is light with white oak, and a naturalistic vibe. To the right of the register, there’s a tree which is driving their instagrameter way up. There’s a conspicuous lack of menu/pricing, which is usually above or behind the front counter, which we’ve already discussed. There’s just a clipboard with their current seasonal drinks, and they are all fantastic!
Adding to the welcoming, homey aesthetic is the light music that you can hear just over the chattering of other patrons. The music this particular day, was especially railroad appropriate. I remember they had that chugga-chugga rhythm, which is why I feel like they fit their location. So, definite thumbs up on atmosphere!
That’s not what this post is about, it’s about The Young Man. It’s a marriage of House Vanilla, Steamed Cream, Vanilla, Cinnamon and of course, Espresso, and is frankly, to die for. The scent is warm, despite being on ice. Which I’ve always loved about the scent of coffee, really. When I took the first sip, I was hit with the powerful flavor of espresso. The flavor wasn’t too aggressive, but just surprising to me at first. I found the flavor to be fairly smooth and reinvigorating. I was exhausted when I showed up, but I was much more alert when I left. The flavor wasn’t as saccharine sweet as I generally prefer, rather it was rich. Like a chocolate bar is rich- if that makes sense.
Their beans when I visited were Ethiopian, but they did tell me that they periodically change out their beans. These were much more subtle than the Jamaican Blue Mountain beans I have at home. Much less earthy and nutty. Smooth, with a nice acidity to the taste.
I’ve written you guys a veritable book, so let’s go ahead and move on to the rating!
I love this place! From their compassionate price model to the quality of the drink they serve. One thing I didn’t mention above is that if you hang out and nurse your drink there, they bring you a bottle of water to cleanse your pallet. Every time I go in there, I find someone to chat with and the locals, as well as the proprietors are the sweetest. I literally can’t recommend them enough! If you’re in the area go check out Side Track! Feel free to tell them I sent you, to be honest you won’t get anything for it, but it’ll make me feel cool!
I don’t feel like this would quite get a 5/5 on instagramability, it’s not bad by any means. I love it, I just think it doesn’t quite speak to me as instagramable to the highest degree. Although, I do love their aesthetic, but there’s only so much you can do with with it.