If coffee is really the new wine, then vines are sprouting across Southwest Florida. What local coffee bars have in common is a relaxed atmosphere where you can socialize with friends, check your email, or read a book while enjoying a unique brew. The local trailblazer is Bad Ass Coffee Company, which originated on Hawaii’s Big Island in 1989 and has won several NI Dining Awards. Named for the erstwhile donkeys that carry beans up and down the mountains, the Naples outpost specializes in the rich, fragrant Kona beans that made Hawaii famous.
For relative newcomers, like mother-daughter team Nicola and Stephanie Bunnett who opened Kunjani Craft Coffee & Gallery in 2016, coffee and social consciousness are one and the same. They founded the Kunjani Project to help bring clean water to residents of their native Zimbabwe, which they fled in 2007. The large, comfortable interior houses a selection of artisan coffee, teas, and baked goods, along with an array of crafts for sale to benefit the charity.
A few miles north at Grain de Café (239-594-8081) on Tamiami Trail North, the coffee is a complement to croissants, pastries, homemade soups, and salads with a distinct Gallic flair. The owners hail from Lille, near the Belgian border, and have managed to transpose the atmosphere of a neighborhood French café to a Publix strip mall, including a large outdoor seating area.
For a cozy downtown hangout, don’t miss The Brick Coffee & Bar on Fifth Avenue South. The Lavazza coffee is imported from Italy, and the menu features a range of breakfast sandwiches, salads, and paninis. Relax at one of the indoor tables or grab a seat on the terrace shielded from the sun by umbrellas and awnings. And if you fancy a glass of wine instead, there’s a range available by the glass or bottle.