For many of us, coffee is the nectar of the gods. It gets us through every day by providing just enough boost to make us human. Without it, we are wandering zombies who are likely to do one of two things-bite your head off or wander past with little more than a groan to acknowledge your presence. Coffee is especially important, it seems, for the hapless college student slaving over a keyboard or textbook into the early morning hours. It is a good thing, then, that Emporia, Kansas has a variety of locally owned coffee shops to choose from. Depending on your tastes, you can go to one of three local coffee shops, or the one big chain shop (I’m sure you can guess which one that is), but I won’t evaluate the chain coffee shop because it is just like all the other ones. This series of articles seeks to let you in on these coffee shops so you can give them a try.
Of the three locally owned coffee shops in Emporia, the Java Cat-5 is probably the most well known and widely accepted coffee shop. This coffee shop is located at 610 merchant street, right across from Bobby D’s, a local barbeque place. Although it’s not officially on “main street” Emporia, the shops in this area have a similar feel.
Java Cat-5 was initially designed, as the name would suggest, around the singular concept of coffee with internet. Like many businesses that sprung up 7-10 years ago, Java Cat-5 wanted to capitalize on the growing addiction to the internet social culture. Java Cat-5 wanted to combine the social culture of the internet with the innate social culture of a coffee shop, so each table had a computer that could be logged onto if you had a code that you could buy or that came with many purchases.
Times have changed and there are less computers now. The atmosphere has expanded a bit. Now there are coaches and soft chairs in one area for people looking for a homey feel. There are the standard coffee shop tables for those that want the feel of a business-centered coffee shop, and there is a back patio for those that would prefer to enjoy the outside air while drinking their coffee. Basically, there are a variety of elements to this coffee shop that could appeal to many different patrons.
The walls feature the artwork of local artists (which is nice because there are quite a few talented artists in the area). This gives our artists a chance to display their work and, possibly, sell it as well. It is great when a local business can support the local culture as well.
Prices and Drinks
There are a variety of drinks at Java Cat-5. You can get pretty much any coffee drink you are looking for, plus smoothies and shakes as well. This is definitely an advantage over some of the other coffee shops in the area. Further, there is some food you can order as well, such as panini’s. The presence of food makes it easy to stay for long periods of time; for many, this means they can sit there until they finish that stupid paper or that painful reading assignment.
The prices are middle range for Emporia, but generally, it is worth it. The drinks are consistently top notch. In fact, I like the regular house coffee at Java Cat-5 more than the expensive chain restaurant in town. Although the chain has great coffee every once and a while, it is quite disgusting about ¾ of the time (for various reasons). Java Cat-5’s coffee is consistently good.
Most of the time, the clientele is fairly reserved here. You can show up, buy your coffee, and read a book without worry of someone bothering you. The different elements in the coffee shop attract a variety of patrons, so if you are looking for someone to hang out with, you might try to make friends here.
The major drawback here is the presence of the internet leeches. These people have nothing better to do with their lives than sit on the free internet. They have almost no concept of social interaction and therefore laugh raucously at internet videos and generally destroy any semi-quiet atmosphere. Be forewarned of these people.
The Java Cat-5 is a bit pricier than some coffee shops, but the coffee is good and the atmosphere is varied. The internet is nice if you need to check your e-mail or something, but not really that big of a draw. Be aware of the internet leeches because they can be a bit…strange.