Coffee Talk

I like my coffee like I like my men friends…strong and up for the challenge. Bold. Reliable. Aggressive. Slightly offensive. Line crossers. Leave a taste in your mouth-ers. The powerful ones. The ones that make you wonder if they’ve either gone too far, or might be ruined for life. The kind of cup of coffee that slaps you in the face and makes you want to live a better life.  I have NO time for weak, meak, see through people coffee. That’s just me. And before you read any further, I’m fully aware that I am pretty ridiculous when it comes to coffee (and… things.) I think it all started when at the age of 3 I started refusing to drink milk that came from a plastic container. By 6 I could easily detect 2% from 1% and would politely refuse the latter. At 7 I could tell which chocolate milks were mostly corn syrup. And by 30, I get that I am hell.

Anyway. As you must know, I am in love with this neighborhood. But considering my affection for this place,  I’m sad to say that I am not overcome with unbridled joy re: cups of coffee. I have given everyone a try….many tries (I am very forgiving, if you must know.) Bad things happen to good people/coffee, so all of the below opinions have been formed over several college tries, not one possibly “off” experience.  I have found many to be good, some to be poor, and only a couple to be great.

And I hate top 10′s. Because I never can decide what makes a 7  a 7 or an 8 not a 9. I’m not great at order, either. However, coffee is pretty vital to keeping a little city revved up and properly stimulated, so I think it deserves attention.

Collar City Coffee. Part 1.

(In no particular order)

Placid Baker – The only coffee I have ever liked from a canister thing. (If there is a better word for this contraption, I don’t know it and don’t care to learn it.) They always have Battenkill cream AND whole milk in the silver things. I truly appreciate quality dairy products. Also on hand is raw sugar and agave nectar. Just perfect. I’ll admit, sometimes I walk in the Placid Baker just for the smell…and then feel weird and figure I should get something.  I thought I was strange for doing this, but Scarlett Kennedy confirmed that it IS 100% the best smelling place around. So whenever we walk by, we always pop in just for a smell…..anddddd to share a chocolate chip cookie, which calls for an always  satisfying cup of $2 Tres Mariposas coffee. I love this coffee. It’s a win.

Illium – Coffee is good. The ICED coffee is the standout, but..alas,  it’s winter. The espresso is great. The shots are huge. Lattes are very reasonably priced here and the small one has 2 shots and will get your motor runnin’. Ordering tea is also very fun here because they bring you a cute box of a million tea bags and your own giant pot of water. I would never personally do it, but just saying. They have simple syrup, which I like.

Spillin’ The Beans -  SIGH. I want to love you. I want this to work between us. But. WHAT is going on with the coffee here. It tastes just like my Grandma’s…one scoop Folgers plus 10 cups water. Depression coffee.  I love Spillin’ for some chicken salad sandwiches or chocolate chip pancakes…..but after one too many tries, I’ve given up on the coffee for good. I opt for a cappuccino here…..because I’m fancy/annoying. On another note, has anyone ever walked in STB and been outta there in less than 25 minutes? Make a note to NOT go here when in a rush.

Daily Grind-  I KNOW that people love the daily grind, and I like to be INSIDE the daily grind, but the coffee itself is not doing me any favors.  I’ve already admitted I have an obnoxious preference for motor oil type sludge, and I think this coffee is also too watery. Espresso- good. Cookies with pretzels and chocolate- amazing. Records for sale- I love you. Open mic night- let’s be friends. Also, they have booze.

Dante’s – Has espresso. It’s fine. But, WHOREALLYCARES Because Dante’s has froyo, cocoa, and a FREAKING CHIPWICH.  Extra points to Dante’s staff for not minding, or doing a good job pretending not to mind when 2 adults and 3 children take down an entire can of whipped cream.

Starting early.

Confectionery- I bet you wish I wouldn’t say it’s the best. I bet you wish this place sucked at something…..but guess what, so far…..Confectionery food and drink is like that perfect girl with the shiniest hair in the 10th grade (naturally shiny, not like she tried or anything) that you come to find out is fucking NICE too. The coffee and espresso are both the best. I know….it’s an obvious choice. I wish I could surprise you, but I can’t. It’s above and beyond. I mean, they have Blue Bottle Coffee and I’ll ADMIT, I don’t really know what this means, but it is fucking excellent.

The Pawn Shop- Sooo…when you stop in to sell your baby’s daddy’s ( don’t know how to correctly pluralize/conjugate/handle this phrase and want to) gold so you can post his bail, you get a free cup of coffee.  I mean….you’re gonna need it. Posting bail takes foreverrrrrrrrrr.

Dunkin’ Donuts- Do you hate yourself? If so, come here.  It’s not just that I don’t like Dunkin’ Donuts coffee…’s that it seems like no matter WHAT I do, something is always wrong. I mean, there are those times when you are NOT in Troy, you’re on the road, and you need coffee. This is what DD is for. They have one job, and they fuck it up for me every time. The only thing I can try to get here is a black coffee, no milk, no sugar. And they mess it up. I shit you not. This is not how I take my coffee. I dig a normal amount of whole milk (or maybe a small amount of cream) and the equivalent of 1 sugar. This is pretty normal, I think. Not at DD. If you say milk and sugar….you might or might not immediately slip into adult onset diabetes coma. The amount of milk/cream/sugar that these folks try to push on you is obscene. Not to be a bitch (!!), but all I am asking for is a pretty normal cup of coffee. Not one that makes my teeth hurt and my mouth covered in a filmy slime from whatever type of “low fat/fake/weird” cream they use. I don’t get it. AND, guess what? I don’t like your fake eggs either. Your donuts got NOTHING on Bella Napoli or Schuyler bakery. We are getting an additional Dunkin’ Donuts on Congress and Third in place of the old Crap Shack. Anything is better than the crap shack. But I don’t think anyone is particularly pumped.

I feel like Manory’s was gettting no love for a while…even from us. Up until recently, I always thought of Manory’s as having only wicked greasy standard diner breakfast…..but after a few emergencies (Hangover breakfast of 2013) I have really come to see them as more. They have some cool stuff. Coffee is completely unmemorable, but helped me not die, which means I didn’t spit it out, so I think it would be ok for most people.

Francesca’s- I have never been here, because it’s only open when I am at work and I am really sad about it.

Stewart’s-  Stewart’s coffee……is fully functional. It’s not a great achievement, but it’s consistent and I don’t dump it out on the ground. I don’t think twice before fixing myself a cup here, if I am already here. I mean I am not going out of my way for it, but if I am here, I’ll get it. I have a slight obsession with their iced coffee in the summer, but it’s not coffee, I know this, and accept it for who it truly is. Coffee corn syrup and milk, mixed together. It isn’t a replacement for a REAL coffee, but it is delicious in it’s own terrible horrible right. I’m a fan of Stewart’s in general. I like their milk, I like their ice cream, and I like that their ATM only charges me ONE fucking dollar to have my own money. Yeah….I’m looking at you downtown KEYBANK with your 4.00 fee. Too rich for my blood. Gah.



Lucy Joe’s Coffee Roastery- Now this was exciting. I discovered this coffee at the farmer’s market this weekend thanks to the guidance of a guy from the yogurt place. This coffee was SERIOUS, and they had good milk too. ( I know, I’m impossible.) It was 2 bucks, like a cup of coffee in a paper cup should be, and I am going to be getting it every farmers market from here on out.




The Flavour Cafe- WHYYYYY. I miss you so much. Please come back to me, my friend. You were my first love here in Troy, and my first blog post too. I love everything about you, and can’t wait for you to be back. Flavour has the BIGGEST and best espresso shots anywhere. And I saw CMAXBY get a peanut butter banana chocolate chip latte here once, which is so weird, but even THAT was good. I like one with a tiny bit of  salt and caramel, or plain. Anything you get, is a win. Please. Please. Pleasssseeeeeee.

If you’ve got another place that I should check out, or totally disagree with everything I said, or have also made a horrible face and dumped a cup of hot coffee right on the ground, or have clouds in your coffee (clouds in your coffee, yeahhh)…..we want to hear about it. Tell us!



  1. cmaxby says:

    I’m part of the mug club at Breuggers. Unlimited drinks for a year! Including decent enough coffee for my not picky coffee drinking self.
    Having said that, the coffee at the Confectionery was so good it surprised me.

  2. Frank says:

    Interestingly enough, when I buy the actual ground coffee from DD and brew it myself, it’s wonderful – some of the best I’ve ever had, but when I go to DD to get a cup (regardless of day, time, location) it ALWAYS tastes like it’s been sitting on the burner since the previous morning. Sometimes there’s a fine flavor line between strong and burnt coffee, but DD has broken through this line and gone into outer space.

    I agree with your Francesca’s. I follow that place on twitter and each day there are pictures posted of delicious-looking food and I always think, “Well, there’s another sandwich I’ll never eat because that place opens after I go to work, closes before I get home, and isn’t open on weekends.”

    • Jessica says:

      “broken through this line and gone into outer space”….right on. And yeah…the food porn is such a tease! Between Francesca’s and Placid Baker sandwich pics I’m drooling at my desk by 10:30. Sad. Sad. Sad.

  3. Ali H. says:

    REGARDING FLAVOURS- how do I hold all these feels? Fuck fuck fuck.
    I only JUST found out that Dante’s existed. CANNOT FREAKIN CONTAIN MY FROYO LOVE.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Jessica – I will be sure to let you know the next time Francesca’s is open on a weekend or for TNO – because if I had a favorite latte in Downtown Troy, which of course, I do not (equal love from me to alllll Downtown businesses), it would be Fran’s. Mmmmmm….toasty, strong, sweet and creamy, even with my choice of skim and sugar free vanilla. Mmmmmm….but remember, I don’t have a favorite. I love all coffee Downtown equally.

  5. Ed says:

    Holy coffee batman!
    Not much longer hopefully. Coffee didn’t strike me as special, just a lot of flavors…but I wasn’t looking for anything special either. But was a great place to hang out/pretend to work, and was basically my back-yard at the time.

    Had to buy myself a gift cert to Illium just to get 50% more red-eyes for free.

    Baby daddy’s – one baby, one daddy *or* multiple babies, one daddy (preferred)
    Baby daddies’ – multiple babies, multiple daddies (preferred)
    Babies’ daddies’ – multiple babies, multiple daddies (not preferred)
    Babies’ daddy’s – multiple babies, one daddy (not preferred)
    Baby’s daddies’ – requires some test-tube work…unless you’re a cat.

  6. Erika says:

    You nailed it regarding Dante’s because, I mean, you do not go there for coffee. You go there to get cavities! Oops, I mean froyo! Also, I thought you wre going to come out and actually say it — that you do not go to Francesca’s because that’s where Republicans go. But you know what? I go there even though I am a registered independent, and it’s a happening place.

    One small footnote: I do not drink coffee anymore but I do not have to do that to know The Daily Grind is overhyped. It is a cool hangout place and they have good sandwiches, but they keep their coffee out on the floor, open in barrels. Again,, I am no coffee connoisseur but I suspect that is not the optimal way to store or preserve precious coffee beans

    • Jessica says:

      Erika…..try Dante’s version of the chipwich….I nearly died! And Francesca’s….seriously I know nothing about it, it is NEVER open when I’m around, but will be checking it out when Elizabeth tells me it’s open!

  7. Mad Dubs says:

    Tip for ordering coffee at DDs: Typically if I am order coffee at DD’s I am absolutely desperate; that said…order a Turbo (basically a Redeye) and ask for creamer and sugar ON THE SIDE. I don’t use sugar, but DD’s can provide you with packets and fake creamer packets rather than doing it for you. This is the safest and strongest option for DD. But – you’re teeth will still hurt.

    Also – you are spot on about Confectionery…

  8. Welf says:

    i need to know more about this CHIPWICH.. if it wasnt going to be a negative billion degrees this weekend id be there

  9. barry says:

    if i recall from a years worth of conversations with vic while he was buildiing his place, he searched and researched for his products very carefully. and he got hot cocoa like i asked him to. two kinds, but i forget which is the kind that i like. i’ll have to try more. and when he opens earlier, i will try his coffee.

    and the chocolate things that he gets from sweet sues, keep growing and reproducing and mutating every week i stop by. amazing.

    it’s a shame that Homo sapiens invented dunkin donuts.

  10. Joe Q says:

    The fake eggs at DD are an oddity which is why I don’t understand the looks of disdain and confusion when I ask for just ham and cheese on a plain bagel. “Do you want the sauce?” What sauce!? Has to be even weirder than the eggs.

  11. Troy_veg says:

    You totally forgot about X’s to O’s Vegan bakery!! They recently got an espresso machine and them make a killer cup of coffee and an outstanding americano. And, in my opinion they’re the best iced coffee in town!!! Check check check it out!!!

  12. larry says:

    I was on board until you said Stewarts! What?! There coffe is gross!
    I have had great dark sludge at X’s to O’sbakery downtown across from the Verizon buiding on 4th
    Definitely worth checking out! And don’t forget to try their cupcakes!

  13. John D says:

    Great article! I’m always looking for great coffee in town. Some of these places I was unaware of, or waiting for an opinion on (and the places on the list that I am familiar with, I share your positive or negative sentiments on, so it looks like I can trust your opinion). I have to say, though, so far my favorite cup of coffee in Troy is at X’s to O’s Vegan Bakery. I was pleasantly surprised the first time I got some coffee there when I was really just on a mission to satisfy my sweet tooth, and I’ve been hooked ever since. They do espresso now, too, and make some killer vegan lattes (choice of soy milk or coconut milk). As a fellow coffee lover, I highly recommend that you stop in!

    • Hi,
      Thanks for the good coffee plug. We are loving the Troy Farmer’s Market!
      The outside market has begun, which of course means fun and iced coffee too.
      Last Saturday we had a new customer who came to the market to check out our coffee due to a blog they had read. Perhaps it was yours.
      Anyway, cheers. Come introduce yourself and get a free cup of joe sometime.
      Shelley Monder
      owner, Lucy Jo’s Coffee Roastery

  14. lee cohen says:

    Just came across your blog. I know I’m a little late on this coffee talk but if I can add my two cents worth on coffee in Troy. The daily grind has been roasting coffee for over 35 years and yes I think we have freshest and best tasting coffee. With that said I have learn that coffee like anything people taste is so subjective. You think our coffee is weak and some say its too strong. Some people love Duncan Donuts and I wish I had a dime for every cup of coffee stewards sold! Is it the best? A lot of people think so. Would it win any barista contest. No.
    But as long as you drink coffee in Troy, we all win.

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