Coffee Shops in Brighton

Brighton has a tidy little list of distinct coffee shops. I've ranked them from best down, but they're so different that you really should read my distinguishing notes as one may be better for you depending on your needs.

#1: Fuel America - Best coffee, best menu
They do ristretto espresso 8/10, announce the day's pour over coffee and espresso and describe their notes. It was full-bodied but with a super bitter aftertaste. It really begs to be paired with a sweet pastry.

Fortunately, they have a nice selection of pastry options:
This almond croissant had a very subtle almond filling - perhaps too subtle - and was drizzled with honey. It was pleasant, but not great.

There's also a chocolate croissant, the same chocolate cream puff we'd just seen at Dash Cafe (see below) three blocks away, what looked to be a large and decadent chocolate and graham cracker muffin, and many more goodies.

You really should check out their fun menu, including a vanilla cardamom whoopee pie with homemade lemon-zest cream cheese filling, a basil orange-lime drink with organic agave nectar, Persian lime juice, valencia orange juice, seltzer, fresh basil leaf, and lime juice, as well as other fun juice concoctions, a handful of breakfast sandwiches, omelettes and lunch sandwiches, two salads, and four smoothies.

There were also a few breakfast options written on a presumable daily (or so)-changing chalkboard, like the bacon, egg and cheese sandwich my girlfriend ordered:

$5.99 - This price seemed steep on the menu, but when we got it I saw why: it's more lunch- than breakfast-sized. Split it with a friend, or, rather, don't order it. What the crap are they thinking doing their eggs this way? A thick and almost worthless sponge of egg with some seasoning pressed on, of which I ate some only to not waste the protein as there was almost no egg flavor from this McDonalds-esque kind of egg preparation. Ciabatta bread for a breakfast sandwich? Sigh. The West Coast lunch sandwich I saw a guy eating looked like a pretty good idea, and the regular menu breakfast items use different kinds of bread, but don't get the chalkboard sandwiches.

I threw this pointlessness away, and I hate to throw food away.

I love the idea of this place, and I want to come back and try a lot of their stuff. The one big issues is that, at noon on a Saturday at least, not a single seat at their numerous and variously sized and shaped tables was available. They also had bar seating and some chairs, only one of which was open, sandwiched between other patrons. My girlfriend stood at another counter while I sat at the bar to take pictures. Then we had to do the horrible vulture dance for seating. I wanted to work on my laptop, but that just wasn't going to happen. Every single person was on her laptop, and she was clearly there to stay. Obviously I don't blame them as I wanted to do the same, but be warned.

I still want to give this place another try. My girlfriend says Fuel doesn't look busy at all on weekdays when she drives past it on her way to work.

They also don't have any outside seating.

Still, it is the best espresso and the best menu in Brighton.

Free wifi.

#2: Dash Cafe - Best for peace and workspace availability

Look how cute their espresso cups are! Espresso Rating: 7/10 - A heady, fruity espresso, not too bitter. It paired nicely with the Nonni's almond chocolate biscotti, which had also a nice anise flavor.

They have a few real fast pastries and a few dessert treats, a nice, but they seem more focused on their lunch options: salads, burritos, wraps, and sandwiches. They even have a banh mi sandwich! They also have a an Asian Fried Chicken Salad and a Vietnamese Noodle salad, which seem promising since there's an Asian lady back there making the food.

There's a bench and one small table outside as well as eight tables inside. The really nice thing about Dash is that, unlike Fuel, they were not too busy at all even on a Saturday at 11 AM.

No need to eat and dash at Dash Cafe.

They take LevelUp payments, which means paying with your credit card by using the LevelUp app on your phone. You get $1 credit at Dash right away, and then $5 off for every $50 you spend there. If you haven't signed up for LevelUp yet, click here to get an extra $5 credit for signing up that you can use anywhere. Plus, you'll get me $5 too!

Free wifi.

#3: Cafenation (Creperie and Cafe) - Best for healthful breakfast options

I was trying to be fairly healthful as this hadn't been a scheduled off diet day, so I had an omelette instead of a crepe:

"2 poached eggs served with baby spinach and hollandaise sauce - sans cheese," except I got the Florentine as omelette instead of poached eggs - $8

I could've just gotten poached eggs and probably should've since I love poached eggs, but I had it in my head that I wanted an omelette without cheese, and so when I saw the "sans cheese" in the omelette section and I can't think straight before I've had my coffee, I latched onto the idea without realizing I could just get the eggs poached, which is usually actually better for you anyway. Either way, it was very good and I felt healthy about my breakfast while still getting to indulge in the deliciousness. I didn't mean to get those carbs with my breakfast, but when the lady mentioned pepper toast I obviously couldn't turn that down. You also get whatever fruit is seasonal with your omelette or crepe, and it was nice to have watermelon since I never buy watermelon for myself.

Their large iced red eye fixed my mental clarity issues right up:

Large Iced Red Eye

Available for use on the counter condiment-wise they have:
  • Fresh Pepper
  • Salt
  • Ketchup
  • Tabasco
  • Frank's Red Hot
  • Sriracha - yay!
They have a decent amount of seating, but it'll be just as full as Fuel is you go at peak weekend hours. On the plus side, they were so friendly! 

Cafe Nation on Urbanspoon

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