Sinclaire Sparkman: For the love of coffee

Sinclaire Sparkman • Updated Apr 28, 2017 at 1:00 PM

My dad gave me my first cup of coffee when I was 12 years old. I still remember the excitement I felt after years of anticipation for that first cup. It was bitter, warm and delicious. I’m not sure if I drank it black or not, but these days that’s how I usually like my morning cup, sometimes with a splash of milk. I’m pretty sure my mom knew about that first venture into the world of coffee, but it was a battle my dad took up for years before she relented and allowed the children to experience the caffeinated cup.

My dad was always the coffee drinker and my mom prefers her tea. Imagine a Mr. Coffee and Mrs. Tea side by side on the kitchen counter and you’ll have a good beverage preference perception of my parents and a snapshot of my childhood. 

I think my mom hoped that either my sister or I would stay purely tea drinkers, as she is, but this was not the case. 

After that first cup we were allowed when I was 12, we’ve been coffee drinkers ever since. I do enjoy a good tea as well, especially my mom’s sweet tea, which has a secret ingredient, more tea. I won’t give away the secret, but that special sweet tea is a showing of my mom’s tea expertise. She always knows which tea to choose for the mood of the moment.  

Since that first cup of coffee, my love for the rich beverage has remained as strong as I prefer my brew. Bold is the best way to go, be it coffee or otherwise, in my opinion. Interestingly enough, a dark roast actually doesn’t have more caffeine than other blends, in fact, since it has been roasted longer there’s a bit less caffeine content than a light or medium roast. I still love a good dark roast, nonetheless.

Anyway, when I first moved to Lebanon about a year ago, I was excited about the prospect of the coffee shop opening up on the Lebanon Square. Come to find out, the signage there was just window dressing that had been up for about a year before I got here. At this point we’re all pretty confident that the Level Ground coffee shop will not open, but there are also plenty of people in the community that would love to see a locally owned coffee shop. 

The square is lacking of a restaurant of any kind if you don’t mind the Burger King. City officials have told me this is mainly because of the codes and the way the old buildings were built, it’s just not safe to cook in those buildings, apparently. A building needs to have two exits and good ventilation to meet code standards. This is something that would take a lot of money and effort, but it’s not impossible. Another reason there are no restaurants on the square is the fact that people often underestimate the cost of starting a business. Couple that with the safety and code issue and it’s almost a perfect recipe for failure.  

I’ve heard that a number of successful local coffee shops have existed in Lebanon over the years – on the square or otherwise – but nothing stands out today. We have a Starbucks and we have the Roast. I have never visited the Roast so I can’t speak about the business, and I meet my dad for coffee sometimes at Starbucks, but the true coffee-lover in me craves that little local place that has interesting food and probably serves Bongo Java or some other delicious local coffee, a place that has a cozy atmosphere with a space for local bands to hone their talents and play their first-ever show. A place that is safe to suggest for a first date without worrying that they’re one of those Starbucks haters, and a quite place to catch up with a long-lost friend. 

They’d probably serve things like a fishy bomb bagel and delicious muffins and name their coffee creations after the theme of the store in true hipster style. I’m no big fan of hipsters but you seriously shouldn’t underestimate their ability to make an outstanding latte. 

Yes, all of these things and more would make a wonderful addition to the city of Lebanon. There are rumors of some attempting to open, so dream away about that perfect little cafe. 

Sinclaire Sparkman is The Democrat’s news editor. Email her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @wilsoncoreports.

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