I’ve long thought that there was very little scientific and technological progress in the Middle Ages because, seeing as water quality was dicey at best, people sat around drinking beer and hard cider all day. Life with a steady buzz isn’t very conducive to invention and productivity. It’s not by chance the Age of Enlightenment coincided with the mainstream availability of coffee. An entire continent shook off a centuries-long muddled haze and embraced the caffeine-fueled investigation of rational thought.

And there’s no better place in town to pursue a caffeinated buzz than Verve Coffee Roasters. Verve’s coffee has personality, style, rich chewy flavor and the satisfying balance of flavors you find in expensive red wine. My favorite storefront is the Santa Cruz Pacific Avenue location with the slabs of rustic wooden furniture, hip concrete floor, slate blue walls, gleaming chrome, fresh flowers and colorful artwork . . . it’s gorgeous. Even the cookies are lovely:



You can get to know the terroir of your beans:


No problem if you’re not in the mood for coffee – this coffee cherry tea is light and zingy and tastes nothing of coffee:



And it’s not just me – Verve consistently wins awards’ recently it made Thrillist’s 11 Best Coffee Roasters in America, the Epicurious 25 Best Coffee Shops in America and Eater’s 38 Essential Coffee Shops Across America.

There’s an art to making the best-looking cappuccino in town:



Watch this video to learn how the award-wining baristas at Verve create their caffeine-fueled art. And next time you’re in Santa Cruz, make this a destination coffee shop stop.

What’s your favorite coffee place? Tweet me @lifeinaskillet or comment below. I’m always on the lookout for cool places when I travel.