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A spirit that is not afraid

OPINION | What's your Auburn coffee shop aura?

Well Red wins Best Coffee Shop for The Plainsman's Choice 2021, March 21st, 2021 in Auburn, AL.
Well Red wins Best Coffee Shop for The Plainsman's Choice 2021, March 21st, 2021 in Auburn, AL.

The Loveliest Village on The Plains has the loveliest coffee shops. Take our quiz below to see which coffee shop best suits your vibe. 

Here's a link to the quiz. 

Here are our reviews for each coffee shop: 

Coffee Cat hosted Pop Up Bookshop with an emphasis on providing children's literature that reflects diversity. 

Coffee Cat 

By Sami Grace Donnelly 

Located in downtown Auburn, Coffee Cat is a calm environment with tastes of boho and shabby-chic. It’s perfect for a mid-afternoon walk and a latte.  

Before you even get to the menu, walking up the stairs and through the front door gives you the opportunity to discover a variety of local events and merchandise. Coffee Cat has posters and graphics for bands, fundraisers or other things happening right here in the Auburn-Opelika area. All the goodies on sale will make you wonder how you got this far in life without them. 

Coffee cat is perfect for you because it has a simple but delicious menu of coffees and treats. My personal favorite is their sweetest drink, an iced “Harry Styles Latte.” It’s never overbearing and always hits the spot. Whether you need breakfast or an afternoon snack, Coffee Cat has what you crave. Specialty drinks and freshly-made baked goods can never do you wrong — especially when they’re from this haven. 

Outdoor seating is beautiful when the weather is nice, but indoor seating never disappoints. Your mid-morning outing will be supported by a cushioned seat and sweet indie music — those baristas seriously know what they’re doing with making coffee and a banger playlist. The exposed brick and great front windows really make you feel like the main character in their favorite local coffee nook. 

Coffee Cat passes the vibe check. It is the perfect place for you to destress, be productive or come have a chill afternoon. With friends or by yourself, there’s not a wrong answer except for passing it by! 

320 West Magnolia Ross House

By Mallorie McCoy 

Ross House Coffee (320 location) gives off a modern feel with its white tile floors and greenery accents. It is definitely the most convenient off-campus coffee location as it is located right across the street from the engineering school. Ross House offers a variety of hot or iced coffees and teas, in addition to breakfast biscuits and pastries. After talking with some regular customers, it was said their go-to order is a hot, vanilla chai latte. 

When having a more slow-paced day, this is the place for you. This is a coffee shop friendly to all ages, but is normally host to the average college student. The comfy, velvet green couches are probably the most coveted seats in the shop. Many people come to Ross House to just catch up with a friend, but during the morning hours it is the perfect, quiet study spot. Although the space of the coffee shop is a little compact for some, it gives off a cozy feel. Overall, Ross House is a laid-back atmosphere. There are many single space areas where you can savor your coffee and solely get work done. Plus, tables are set up outside if you enjoy sipping your coffee in the sunshine. The coffee house has many windows adding great natural light to an already warm and welcoming environment. Ross House could be the best way to start your day when not in a rush, and looking for an appealing work-space.

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Well Red wins best coffee shop for Plainsman's choice.

Well Red

By Mallorie McCoy 

Well Red is a highly favored coffee house in Auburn. It is so popular it is often hard to find an available parking space. However, the house has plenty of seating with an inside area along with a back and front porch. If you prefer an array of choices, Well Red is the place for you as they serve hot and iced coffees, kombucha, wine, beer and yummy desserts and pastries. Although they can provide for all your coffee needs, Well Red is really considered an independent bookstore as the walls are lined with shelves of books. 

Each of the shelves are organized by category making things easy to find. The atmosphere is comforting and homey. Although many go there to do work, I feel a lot of people go to converse with others over their preferred drink. Well Red regularly hosts events such as book clubs, author visits and book signings. Furthermore, they have the latest hours of any local coffee shop. It is the perfect place to cram for a test or have a bottle of wine with friends. Also, the retro-chic couches and loveseats make the intimate house even more inviting.  Once you walk in, it is for certain you will want to sit and stay a while. On a pretty fall day or a warm summer night, either porch area is a pretty sweet place to kick back and read or catch up with a friend. I think Well Red is definitely best suited for extroverts, but in a great way. Being louder than some coffee shops in the inside area, the outside is a better workspace. It is a place that gives off vibrant, happy energy and is somewhere I have never felt out of place. Plus, the coffee is always consistent and has the same exceptional taste every time.  Well Red is a place where I am always excited to go back. If you enjoy a lively atmosphere, options and good coffee, Well Red is the complete package. 

Parks, restaurants and coffee shops — like The Bean, pictured here — are all options for date spots around Auburn.

The Bean 

By Sami Grace Donnelly 

With its wall of windows and playful geometric accent wall, the bean definitely speaks your language. You appreciate nonconformity, utility and aesthetics. It’s no surprise you match with this colorful blast from the past. 

Stepping through the door is like entering the world’s best time machine. It feels like an authentic 70s diner, timelessly perfect for studying, sharing a meal with someone or playing board games on the couch with friends. 

The Bean has an extensive menu of coffees, teas, smoothies, breakfast foods, sandwiches and desserts — with gluten free options available. This place has a heart for both the coffee-drinker and non caffeinated beverage lover. “The Wonder” is a specialty mocha that is probably made with magic. The establishment boasts the “best cinnamon rolls in auburn,” and the spicy avocado toast and waffles are both crowd favorites. 

Whether you crave a productive afternoon away from campus or a delicious breakfast before the day, The Bean is your place. It will never fail to complement your sunny, retro and happy-go-lucky personality. 

Mama Mocha's location in Auburn is now under new ownership and rebranded as Coffee Mafia.

Coffee Mafia 

By Sami Grace Donnelly 

Not too far off campus, Coffee Mafia provides its customers with an atmosphere of pleasant welcoming. The hodgepodge of furniture and decor cannot help but provoke a soft smile. Whether you’re there to pleasure read, journal or meet with a friend, you will find an ambience of general placidity and friendship. 

In terms of commerce, the shop includes a corner of local art — prints, jewelry and trinkets — for sale. Customers can shop or explore while they’re waiting for their drink. And drinks they have. They even have a punch card system to earn a free drink after ten visits — which isn’t hard to achieve once you’re hooked.  

This place has a heart for the lover-of-mochas, but the menu is vast. It endless and endlessly delicious. Trying — and loving — something new each visit is easily conceivable. The employees are happy to offer suggestions based on your preferences, and they seem to have genuine care for their job and customers. They have plenty of non-coffee beverages, food, and even gluten free options. 

Coffee Mafia is a venue for all frames of mind. Whether you need a change of scenery or a place to get your mind off the day’s troubles, an authentic mocha from here will never leave you hanging. 

Johan Jo, owner, manager and head barista of Ristrettos Lounge, aims to create a space that is a bridge between the Opelika and Auburn communities. 


By Destini Ambus and Sami Grace Donnelly 

The Ristretto Lounge is a bit of a drive from campus. Its customers are loyal, that’s for sure. Stepping in the door draws your eyes up to the vaulted ceilings and comforting windows. The light wood and greenery makes the atmosphere feel open, relieving all the stress of work or school. 

If you frequent Ristretto, you probably value focus time and might be on the introverted side. That is — you like to be around people, but you also hold a great appreciation for being alone. You surround yourself with people who appreciate your introverted nature but will push you out of your comfort zone. With your minimalistic eye for style it’s no wonder you fit right into the soft quietness of Ristretto. 

They also have a BYOM (bring your own mug) feature to create lest waste. The baristas are always ready and willing to serve. The latte art is exquisite. Every detail is thoughtful — you won’t want to pass it by.

A barista prepares drinks for customers on a Friday afternoon at the recently opened UniQ Coffee on North Gay Street in Auburn, AL.


By Sami Grace Donnelly 

Walking into this open-concept coffeehouse will almost always make you smile. It is light, airy, posh and, well, unique. 

You’re a bit of a minimalist — you want to make the most of your space and enjoy a more natural and comfortable way of living. You’re down to earth and you enjoy making people feel comfortable in your space, as best as you can. You enjoy putting in the work and all the benefits that doing that holds. 

You also appreciate today’s trends and a sense of modernism. It's always a good thing to have an open mind. The unknowns of each new day should be handled with a delicate balance of curiosity and agenda. You enjoy looking at and supporting local artists, and you’re probably the friend who plans everything in a calendar. 

Whether you’ve blocked off Sunday afternoon to study, or you just want to spend some time with a friend, UNIQ will leave you feeling content and recharged with their savory and reliable menu of coffees, non-coffees and baked goods. 

Destini Ambus | Editor-in-Chief

Destini Ambus, senior in journalism, pursuing a minor in sociology is the editor-in-chief of The Auburn Plainsman.


Sami Grace Donnelly | Columnist

Sami Grace Donnelly, sophomore in journalism, is a columnist at The Auburn Plainsman.


Mallorie McCoy | Columnist

Mallorie McCoy, sophomore in journalism, is a columnist for The Auburn Plainsman.


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