After a typical morning bike ride, I came across New General, a coffee shop less than a five minute walk from Rollins College, and the idea to find more local Winter Park coffee shops struck me. I am a big fan of Starbucks, but I wanted to experience different coffee options and support local coffee businesses. I wanted to enlighten my own coffee taste-buds, and now I invite you to share my coffee journey (and try these places yourself). 

Olivia Elizalde

New General

The first stop, just a five minute walk from Rollins College and right off Park Avenue in Winter Park, stands New General. Hidden from the bustle of Park Ave, New General welcomes customers from the front door. With outdoor seating and a side ordering window, I am instantly invited into the space. This coffee shop is lightened with soft hues of pale pinks and pale greens, and light hard wood surfaces. The space brings in an ample amount of natural lighting. The aesthetic is minimalist and earthy. A range of small and large succulents and greenery stand on the tables and book-stands that pair perfectly with the hints of copper tones from the coffee machines behind the counter. I listen to the indie/alternative music playing above, but find it still quiet enough to read or study.

I settled on the hot chai tea latte with almond milk (of course) for my drink. I am greeted with light fall flavors of warmth and cinnamon. There is a layer of foamy milk at the top surrounded with sprinkled cinnamon and a star anise for presentation. Chai teas are always one of my favorites to have in the fall, and this chai tea hit the spot. If you want want a modern, minimalist spot to study or relax while enjoying a nice cup of coffee, you have to try New General.

Olivia Elizalde

CFS Coffee

Heading a few blocks down New England Ave, towards Hannibal Square in Winter Park, and I come across CFS Coffee, a local Colombian coffee shop. If you are looking for a spot that is cozy and feels like home, this is the place for you. The atmosphere is quiet and calming with Spanish music filling the room. Dark wooden tables with coffee bean candles are spread out around the space. A wooden bench surrounded with throw pillows and large cushions makes a relaxing nook for coffee and reading. Products from Colombia take up the walls and shelves.

I order a hot caramel cappuccino and their signature pandebonos, a Colombian cheese bread. The coffee comes out with a lovely heart shaped milk foam art in a flower designed cup. All of their coffee is imported from Colombia, and my cappuccino has a balance of rich, smooth, and creamy flavors. The caramel adds a hint of sweet with the rich, bold flavors of the actual coffee. If you want new, bold, coffee flavors in your life, definitely check out CFS Coffee.

Olivia Elizalde

The Glass Knife

The Glass Knife is a modern, sophisticated take on a common bakery and cafe. Located along Orange Avenue in Winter Park, this local coffee spot brings chic and elegant elements to coffee and pastries. There are hues of blacks, pinks, and gold throughout with soft lighting and chic designs. If Audrey Hepburn had a coffee shop, this would be it (which might be why I love it so much). From the entrance, past the outdoor patio, I watch through a glass window as a baker is decorating a new masterpiece of a cake. This connection between the customer and the baker gives this local coffee spot an element of truth to their treats.

From the menu, I order a hot s'mores cortado. It comes with a small s'more treat on the side of the glass. The taste is sweet, yet rich and dark. The coffee may have been small, but the flavors were powerful. This presentation was everything, from the leaf milk art to the addition of a small s'more. If you are looking for an upscale, sophisticated coffee spot, this should be your go-to.

Olivia Elizalde

Foxtail Coffee

On the last spot of my coffee journey, I went to Foxtail Coffee. When I first walked in, I found myself immersed into a hip, industrial, coffee-bean barn setting. Above are high exposed ceilings that give it an industrial touch, with Edison bulbs hanging below and marquee light boxes alone the walls. The tables and counters are dark wood with a black tile back-splash. The  concrete floors provide a balance of natural and man-made elements. In the back, I view the coffee roasting room, where the only thing that separates myself and the coffee is a wall of glass. Like The Glass Knife, this element of showing the process to the customers allows for a meaningful connection of knowing where the product is coming from.

From the entrance, on one side of the shop is a regular coffee menu, and on the other side is their experimental menu. I choose from the regular menu and order a hot macchiato with almond milk. Unlike the other spots, there is no design on the coffee, showing that they care more about the taste rather than presentation. It tastes smooth and creamy, and the coffee is very present in my drink. There is a thick layer of milky foam at the top that makes the perfect macciato. If you want a hip, fresh scene to get your morning coffee, make Foxtail Coffee part of your morning routine.

Starbucks has its perks, but so do these local Winter Park coffee shops. They are inviting, cozy, friendly, and fresh. Experience your own coffee journey and be welcomed by these places. If you want a new alternative to your daily coffee routine, you need to visit these local coffee shops and get a taste of their delicious brews.