The coffee scene is becoming sophisticated leaving both sweet and bitter aftertastes. Some people are jumping on the bandwagon while others are standing by, disapprovingly shaking their heads at the astronomical prices. But trust me, this five-dollar addiction is worth it. 

For any coffee newbies, here are five ways to tell a coffee shop is better than your average Starbucks and worth every penny.

1. The baristas use a cocktail shaker.

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Ally Sorrells

We all have experienced (and hate) when we order an iced drink and the ice has already starting to melt before the drink reaches our hand.

The quick fix to a lukewarm drink is using a cocktail shaker to evenly chill the drink before serving it. In addition, giving the drink a few shakes ensure all the flavors are evenly blended together. 

2. They have a small menu.

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Ally Sorrells

A menu the size of the ones at Starbucks can often be overwhelming and stressful for indecisive coffee drinkers. 

Smaller menus that don't offer drinks like frappuccinos and nontraditional macchiatos make the decision easier, but also imply a coffee shop is more dedicated to producing good, traditional coffee rather than keeping up with beverage trends. 

3. The coffee beans are fresh.

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Abby Reisinger

You wouldn’t eat old vegetables so why drink coffee beans that aren’t fresh?  

Coffee beans are almost like produce, and should really be used relatively soon after roasting. Using fresh beans results in almost a light, refreshing aspect to your cup of coffee that is irreplaceable. 

4. Only homemade syrups are used.

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Ally Sorrells

It's not a make it or break it aspect of a coffee shop, but as your momma (hopefully) taught you, homemade is always better. 

Store bought syrup is a strong indication the shop may not take as much pride in their ingredients as they should. Not to say a sweetened drink can’t be good without homemade syrup, but a good house-made one can add a depth of flavor that often cannot be acquired otherwise.

5. The coffee beans are roasted onsite.

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Ally Sorrells

Most importantly, when looking for a place worth your money, look for a shop that roasts their coffee beans onsite. 

This goes back to the freshness of the beans. Roasting onsite allows for optimal freshness, allowing baristas to even make a cup of coffee from beans roasted hours before. In addition, roasting onsite is a strong indication that the owners of the shops hand-picked their beans. Handpicking beans implies the shop pays close attention to detail, wanting everything in your glass to be perfect, down to the subtle, yet important, flavors of the coffee beans themselves.

These five things make for a near perfect espresso drink. The taste of espresso made with fresh, in house roasted beans, melded with the homemade syrup may just turn you acquired taste into an addiction.