If you're anything like me, you need coffee on a daily basis in order to survive. After drinking my first cup at the ripe age of fourteen, I knew I couldn't turn back. Since then, I have constantly been on the search for not only the best coffee, but the best coffee shops. I tend to shy away from the mainstream coffee vendors like Dunkin' Donuts (which is ironic because I'm a born and raised New Englander), simply because I find that their lattés never compare to those from hole-in-the-wall cafés. Despite this, I have never been able to avoid frequenting Starbucks, and purchasing whatever specialty drink they're advertising; That is, until I moved to Dinkytown and discovered the Purple Onion.

For a while, I went back and forth between being a loyal Starbucks customer, and swearing that the baristas at the Purple Onion have magic coffee powers. Luckily for you all, I have recently come to a decision about which café takes the [coffee]cake. Here are five reasons why you should chose to skip Starbucks, and grab your caffeine at the Purple Onion.

1. The Purple Onion has a Unique Atmosphere

beer, coffee
Amber Holte

While both cafés are aesthetically pleasing (which we all know is a factor that is almost important as the coffee quality itself), the Purple Onion boasts some wicked awesome vibes. Even if you're just popping in for a mocha to go, it's hard not to notice the compelling local artwork on the walls, or the distinctly non-billboard music playing over the speakers. Additionally, if you're looking for a place to study with your coffee (or perhaps with other people after you have been caffeinated), there is infinitely more seating options than at Starbucks.

2. There's Much More to Choose From

beer, coffee
Amber Holte

I know everyone always gets hyped about Starbucks' seasonal drinks. They are always made out to be the best thing since sliced bread — I get it; they're pretty delicious, and it's exciting to be able to partake in social media trends — but how often do you chose to get something from there that's not heavily advertised? I can't remember the last time I did, nor could I imagine what I would order if I didn't want a featured drink.

This brings me to the number one reason why I like the Purple Onion the most. They have a variety of caffeinated drinks, from basic coffee and tea, to original chai recipes, and an extensive list of signature mochas. In addition, they also have their own featured drink menu that always consists of unheard of, yet unbelievably tasty options. My favorite featured drink to date was their butterbeer latté, since I'm a die-hard Harry Potter fan, and the barista absolutely nailed it. Needless to say, the Purple Onion menu has inspired me to step outside of my coffee comfort zone, and I have yet to be disappointed.

3. You Get More Bang for Your Buck

mocha, cream, espresso, milk, cappuccino, coffee
Amber Holte

I always thought that I was getting the best deal by using the Starbucks app, since I could get a free drink every 125 stars that I accumulated. It wasn't until I started budgeting — and putting aside money every week so that I could afford my coffee addiction — that I realized just how much I was spending at Starbs. In order to receive that coveted free venti coconutmilk mocha macchiato, I would have to spend about $63. That's a lot of grande lattés.

In comes the Purple Onion, which not only has lower prices for similar drinks, but also deducts around twenty cents from your order when you pay in cash. After doing the math, I realized that if I bought the same number of lattés at the Purple Onion, I would save $6 and could get each one in a large size instead of a medium. Game changer.

4. You Can Skip the Insane Wait Time

coffee, tea
Amber Holte

Since I have converted to the Purple Onion, I have waited a maximum of eight minutes to get my coffee. Their service is extremely efficient, and there is almost never a line. I don't know about y'all, but there have been times where I have spent easily twenty minutes ordering and receiving a drink at the Dinkytown Starbucks. Even at times that I'm sure the line will be nonexistent (late night study sessions, anyone?), there is somehow still a mob of zombie college students. While I will admit that using the app to order ahead of time can be useful, from my experience it doesn't guarantee that you'll be in and out in a jiffy. Just head to the P.O., unless you're hoping to waste some time.

5. You'll be Supporting a Minnesota Business

water, alcohol, wine
Amber Holte

By choosing to give your money to establishments like the Purple Onion, you're boosting the local economy, and encouraging others to do the same. I personally think it is important to keep small businesses going, if not just to help the owners in their ambitions, then to have the ability to explore and experience as many different shops as possible; It's so much more fun to try something new than to stick to the same old same old. So along with getting to feel good about your contribution, you get the chance to take as many instagram-worthy coffee shop pictures as your phone's storage can hold.

Even though I threw a lot of shade at Starbucks, that doesn't mean that I don't go there once in a while to get my peppermint mocha or pumpkin spice latté fix. Those drinks (among others) still have a place in my heart, and a special connection with my taste buds. That being said, while I may have that occasional love affair with Starbucks, I always come back to the Purple Onion. If you've never been, definitely check it out; and if you're a regular at Starbucks, consider changing allegiances — I promise you won't regret it.