Cool Beans Coffee Co.
Hours: Monday – Friday 7 a.m. to midnight and Saturday – Sunday 9 a.m. to midnight
Distance from Campus: 0.3 miles
If you step off the curb in front of The Horseshoe and walk about 100 steps, you’ll see a little two-story house that has been converted into a coffee shop called Cool Beans Coffee Co. The place is always buzzing with people doing their own thing, with the smell of coffee filling every corner.
The coffee shop is currently owned by Kitty Mirosavich, a 2000 graduate of the Darla Moore School of Business, who tries to make Cool Beans feel like a place college students and any Columbia resident can come relax and enjoy.
“We want people to feel like the world is out there," Mirosavich said, "and they come into Cool Beans and it’s a different world, and we just want people to feel like they’re coming home.”
When you walk in, you’ll have to go up the stairs to order yourself a drink, but there will be plenty of art to look at on your way. Some of the pieces are even for sale. If you just want some food or a plain brew, you simply order at the counter downstairs and cozy up in one of the chairs in the main room.
Amit Patel, a second-year global supply chain operations management and finance student, said he really liked the vibe, mentioning, “The music is nothing too exciting, but it definitely keeps me focused, so I really enjoy that.”
Patel also mentioned the scarcity of outlets, which I’ll have to agree with.
Audria Byrd, a fourth-year African-American studies and media arts student, commented on the vibe saying, “It’s so chill, it’s like indie coffee shop except everyone comes here. It’s simultaneously quiet, but also busy.”
Byrd, however, also mentioned that she liked it when it was less busy, which is a rarity in the constant hustle and bustle of Cool Beans.
Coffee, Drinks, Etc.
If you aren’t a fancy coffee junkie and like good food, Cool Beans is the place for you. Not every cup of coffee is made perfectly proportioned, and often times you can find grounds at the bottom of your cup, but seasonal drinks and flavored drinks of any kind are pretty good.
The food also tastes wonderful and doesn’t break the bank. The breakfast bowl is an awesome pairing for a cup of coffee and some early morning homework, and they even have homemade doughnuts. Brunch is also a daily thing.
Byrd also said she really loved the caramel cider and said, “I have enjoyed literally every drink that I have gotten here.”
It’s a delightful little spot if you want to hang out with your friends or study way into the night somewhere other than the library. There is always a place to sit, and it’s got a wonderful, quirky personality.
There’s also a wall next to the counter upstairs that has a map and stickers that symbolize where you wish you were and where you’re from. The idea is awesome, and you feel like you’re adding something to the place when you stick your own little marker there, adding another positive factor to the overall homey feel of Cool Beans.
Mirosavich hopes to make her coffee shop somewhere students want to come, saying, “It’s comfortable, and people can relax, and even if you have to study or have a work meeting or whatever, it's just in a fun environment and that everybody’s welcome.”
She definitely achieved this, and as Patel said, “There’s really nice people if you come here often, then like, they get to know you and actually want to know more about you.”
I will say though, that it is loud, and that some of the chairs will have you standing up funny if you’ve sat there a long time. The music is often blasting upstairs, and if you come at a busy time, people are always hanging out and laughing loudly — not exactly a study room in the library.
Overall, Cool Beans truly does have a homey, community-oriented atmosphere, but if you’re looking for a place to study hard and long without any interruptions, it might not be the place for you. If you have a date and don’t have a lot of money to spend, or if you want to hang out and gossip with some girlfriends, however, I would completely recommend it. It’s a good place to relax and enjoy a home-away-from-home in Columbia.