In my efforts to hang out with my bar-studying husband this summer, our sweet spot ended up being the “go somewhere to study” date. But the sweltering mess that is North Carolina in July means there’s only so much outdoor studying one can handle, particularly on Saturday afternoons.
SO, the coffeeshop scene it is! We took advantage of the fact that Duke students are mostly gone for the summer and headed to Joe Van Gogh. It’s right off campus and shares a parking lot with Watts Grocery (free parking! yay!).
They’re known for their coffee. Shocker, I know. But they sell their beans as well as coffee drinks, and I’ve had several friends recommend them as the sweet spot of taste and price when I lament how quickly our house runs through coffee.
Confession: I heart espresso drinks. If I could have a mocha or latte or something with espresso every single day, I would. Its just… good. Smooth. Rich. Logan is the same way: I will likely get in an espresso machine someday, because he loves the complexity and attention to detail making good espresso requires. And that way he can make me fancy drinks.
So with that in mind, you won’t be surprised that we both went for iced mochas. Nothing too fancy, no additional syrups or twists or frufru.
But y’all, this was possibly the best iced mocha I HAVE EVER HAD.
I love them. I love them with whipped cream
and chocolate shavings. But this one, with just the basics, was so well done that it beat the ones with all the extras on tops.
I think it was so good because it wasn’t very sweet. Lots of cream and plenty of chocolate, but not sweet. Just that creamy-chocolate-coffee dreaminess.
If I had an unlimited budget (and calories weren’t a thing), I would drink one of these puppies every day. It was that good.
So the coffee really is worth it alone. I also liked the vibe: relaxed, a little quirky, but also the type of place you can pop some headphones in a get work done. It’s bright and happy with a wall of windows and art everywhere. You can also get popsicles – don’t you love it when popsicles are a thing in a coffeeshop? – or play with the plastic animals by the cash register. To be honest I don’t know what the story was there, should’ve asked. Plus there’s the coffee beans for sale right by the door, smelling amazing every time you walk by.
I love it when coffeeshops are small enough to feel intimate but not so small that there’s never any seating. Joe Van Gogh has tables and chairs for maybe 20 or so – enough to be comfortable, but I could see how students fill tables fast during finals.
Logan and snagged a spot where he could spread his papers. I took advantage of the time to plan our Europe trip and book some airbnbs (updates soon, I promise!), and together we spent a few hours escaping the hot summer sun with some cool drinks.
My take: best iced mocha I’ve had. Definitely worth a visit!
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