Cute, original coffee houses are a tricky find. Cute, original, and memorably delicious coffee houses are even more elusive. Finding original decor and excellent espresso in an actual house--that's something worth further investigation. Yesterday, I visited one with all three. Two Stories sits just inside Athens, a city replete with funky restaurants and respectable caffeine-based establishments. Despite its competition, this house keeps from falling anonymously into the mix. I love finds like this! They often make my whole day seem brighter.
My favorite aspect of this place--besides, of course, the beverage offerings--is the layout. It retains the feel of house with separate rooms, and a pleasant ratio of comfy seating to tables. No one seemed to feel the need to rush the one sofa or hover awkwardly till the cellphone guy finishes a business deal over the two corner chairs he occupies with himself and accessories. Here, there are plenty of seating areas for all both inside and on the porches. Yes, porches. Duo. The Georgia girl part of me thrills at front porches. Each room had a different feel, but none of them were distractingly artsy. You know what I mean--the place in which paint colors and furniture and experimental music practically scream for recognition. Not so here. Neutral tones, the occosional wisp of a painted tree branch, French doors, and a smattering of music rendered a comfortable blend, as if to say, "Yeah, we know how to recognize art. We like it. But you don't have to notice. How do you like that latte?"
I ordered a cappuccino, my staple for taste-testing new coffee places. The barista took time to tease out a leaf pattern in the smooth foam cap, which, refreshingly, looked like foam rather than windswept froth. The espresso pulled smooth, not biting, he placed the white cup on a black saucer to offer contrast. I meant to take a picture, but I lost myself in Bill Bryson's travel anecdotes too quickly.
I'll bet they offer great tea and scones. A return trip with a longer stay is in order.