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Coffee Corner: 'The Purple Bean' a hidden gem worth discovering

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The Purple Bean building

Friends don't let friends drink Starbucks

Coffee is so much more than a beverage — it’s a community. An expensive community, I might add. But there's something about traveling to a new city and finding a locally owned coffee shop that makes it worthwhile.

My coffee "addiction" started after my college softball career ended in 2016. Weirdly enough, I never felt like I needed the extra energy boost a shot of expresso provides, even after playing multiple games in a day and staying up all night studying for a final. But then I moved to Reno and started working for the University of Nevada, which included covering 15 sports at one time in a department of three people, only two full-time.

I also worked at Victoria's Secret in the early hours of the morning, so slowly but surely I became best friends with the Wolf Pack sales team's coffee maker — I called her Betsy — that sat next door to my office in Legacy Hall. She got me through a lot of post-game video editing sessions that lasted until 3 or 4 in the morning. For that, I'll always be thankful for Betsy.

I guess you could say I started cheating on Betsy in fall 2018. However, it wasn't my fault. The sales team told me I needed to refill our girl with coffee grounds since I was basically the only one who ever used her. Fair enough. Where might one purchase coffee grounds, you might ask? Local coffee shops! Imagine that.

I walked into Coffee Bar in Midtown — that was the first place that came up on Yelp — and I looked around in awe. The whole place had a hipster, relaxing vibe and as I looked around I noticed a wide range of people. Some were sitting on the back patio enjoying a book. Some looked like they might be studying for a test. Others were chatting with a group of friends. I remember thinking, "Is every coffee shop like this?"

Since that day, I have developed a hobby of searching for the most unique coffee shops every where I go. Starbucks is the exact same in Nevada as it is in Alabama. I can promise you that. So why not support local businesses and see what original coffee shops the Biggest Little City has to offer? We will do that in the coming months with a bi-weekly feature called "Coffee Corner" that will review one locally owned coffee shop in Northern Nevada.

Today's review: The Purple Bean

The Purple Bean is open Monday-Friday 6 a.m.- 5 p.m., Saturday 7 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 7 a.m.-2 p.m. A lot of coffee shops close around 2 or 3 p.m., so if you are looking for a late-day pick-me-up, this is your spot!

Location

The Purple Bean is tucked between Bighorn Tavern and Pizza Hut in a small parking lot on Keystone Avenue and West Seventh Street. I would like to say it's in a good location, but I have lived here for almost 5 years and just discovered it a little more than a year ago thanks to my roommate. Even though it took me a while to find this cute spot, it is right off the highway and could be a quick and easy pitstop for you on your way to work. I know what you're thinking: "I'd rather go to Starbucks because of the convenience of a drive-thru." Guess what? The Purple Bean has a drive-thru.

Pro tip: If you choose to park and enjoy your coffee inside, make sure you are parked on a spot that is not labeled "Pizza Hut" or anything else. Pizza Hut loves calling tow trucks.

Aesthetic

I live for an aesthetically pleasing coffee shop. This is quite possibly the most "basic" thing about me, but I don't care. The Purple Bean gives off a very "homey" vibe. It's small and cozy, yet warm and inviting at the same time. It might not be the most Instagram-worthy coffee shop in town, but I love coming here and reading a good book.

Pro tip: There's a couch on the back side of this photo that is pretty comfortable. I may or may not have accidentally fallen asleep there once or twice, so take that for what it's worth!

Taste

I'm a big ice coffee girl, especially during summer time. I'm also self-proclaimed lactose intolerant, so I only drink oat milk (almond milk if it's a do-or-die situation). I sound like a picky coffee drinker but those are my only two requirements. Iced coffee, oat milk. Is that too much to ask?

Don't get me wrong: I love the taste of rich black coffee (shout-out Betsy). But sometimes I'll get a little crazy with my order and try a latte with some type of flavored syrup in it. You know, a little vanilla here and a little caramel there. All the real coffee drinkers know what I'm talking about. The baristas at The Purple Bean seem to have mastered the perfect coffee-to-milk-to-syrup ratio because this is one of the best iced caramel oat milk lattes in town.

They also have smoothie options for people who aren't big coffee drinkers or if you are a coffee guy/gal and want your kids to be able to snack on something, too. Did I mention they also have gourmet smoothies? My favorite is the post-workout smoothie, even when it's not after a workout. No judgment please.

What makes this coffee establishment stand out over the rest? The amount of specialty drinks offered. You can tell whoever created the menu put a lot of time and effort into every drink. So if you're new to the coffee community and are never quite sure sure what to get, The Purple Bean has you covered. There are over 25 detailed options for you to try. Not to mention they have every type of flavored syrup from vanilla to hazelnut to caramel and much more.

Bang for your buck

Overall, The Purple Bean is the perfect bang-for-your-buck type of spot. A lot of coffee shops only offer one size for iced coffee. This place offers three sizes, all under $5. That is a steal. If you're like me and have issues with drinking regular milk, the alternative choices cost a little extra but not much. The hot coffee options are about the same!

This local business is the bee's knees, and I hope you drive out to Keystone to give it a try. Twice-a-month I am going to highlight some of my favorite coffee shops in Northern Nevada. Some of these "hidden gems" you might not have heard of before, but what I can promise is that every one is unique in their own way. In two weeks, we are driving down Keystone to California Avenue into Midtown where we will find Magpie Coffee Roasters.

Nevada Sports Net creative producer Jenna Holland is a former college softball player and avid traveler. She is also a regular contributor to NevadaSportsNet.com. You can contact her at jmholland@sbgtv.com or follow her on Twitter at @JennaHolland4.


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