As a photographer in Jacksonville (and a former barista) I am always looking for a nice cup of coffee- whether it's to relax after a long shoot, get my day started, or to power through editing a group headshot session. Here are a few of my go-to spots for great coffee in Jacksonville.
So far Bold Bean is the most consistent coffee I’ve seen in Jacksonville, especially with multiple locations. They currently have two locations, beaches and Stockton Street. They used to have a San Marco location that I frequented but that is no longer here. Their baristas consistently proper technique and usually do some sort of art to their latte pours. Their coffee is roasted in-house, and you can see one of their roasters at the Stockton location. Each location lens itself to the personality of the surrounding areas. The Stockton location is industrial with exposed brick and low lighting. They also have loud and usually eclectic music which I find is OK for stopping by, but if I want to get some serious Photography editing done after a session I need to bring my noise-canceling headphones. The beach location is bright and light although smaller like mini beach shops are. It offers the same quality and similar menu as the other location.
One of my favorite things to do after taking group headshots is to find one of the Southern Grounds locations. If I need to relax I'll get a hot or iced honey latte depending on the time of year and how sweaty or cold I am. If I need to get a great bulk of editing done their French press is reasonably priced and can let me sip on some tasty coffee for my whole stay there. They have 3 locations in Jacksonville- The Beach, San Marco, and Avondale. They have a 4th location inside one of the terminals at the airport so check it out if you're flying. The Avondale location is one of those places you must visit at least once. Its huge for such a fantastic coffee shop, nicely designed, and just feels like it belongs in a magazine somewhere. I would love to have a space like that as a photography studio. What I also love about all of their locations is the great selection of food that they have along with all of their sweets. The Nutter Butter Sandwich Cookie is the best. It's like nutter butter meets oatmeal cream pie, adult-sized, and then kicked up a notch.
When I'm looking for something a little different or if I'm around that section of Southside Blvd., I love stopping by Brass Tacks. This coffee shop's fun and open design is a nice diversion from the exposed brick/old wood feel that most coffee shops go with. But even more unique is their Signature creations menu. It reminds me of all the things I used to create when I hung out with the baristas in my favorite coffee shop in college. You have the Nutty Irishman (Hazelnut and Irish Cream), The Churro (White Chocolate, Cinnamon, and Caramel), and then they have something that you'll have to ask about that's called Florida Man Style which is right up my alley. In addition to a whole lot of other cool creations, they have a pretty good-looking breakfast menu that I have yet to try.
Social Grounds sits neatly on a corner of North Main Street in the Springfield area of Jacksonville. This has a special place in my heart because my mother's childhood home, the historic house where my grandparents lived that I paid many visits to is only a few blocks away. I have a fond memory of browsing the pawn shops on this strip of North Main Street with my grandfather when I was young. Now many new shops have taken up being in the area. One of those is Social Grounds. I enjoy a good latte from there, (hot or iced) and the baristas have always been pleasant to interact with. (You can't always say that about coffee shops.) Another great thing about Social Grounds is its mission to care for people. To quote them from their website:
"Our vision is to empower veterans moving into the next chapter of their lives, whether it’s transitioning from homelessness, or from active duty... your purchase and support goes to targeted projects in which we work alongside our city providers to employ, train and empower transitioning Veterans and impact our community by investing in the less fortunate. We love our city. We love our people."
That's something anyone can get behind.