spro vs common ground: battle of the coffee shops

i found myself on the avenue in hampden this friday afternoon, taking advantage of the gorgeous fall weather and wandering around.

hampden is a curious little pocket in baltimore, full of fun little shops and home to ma petite shoe

— a shoe/sock/chocolate shop that sells the most mouth-watering sea salt caramels ever made.

hampden also offers tremendous opportunity for people watching, a fun and slightly creepy activity if you don’t have the art of it down juuuust right.

i ducked into common ground on the avenue for some tea and a quiet place to read my book.

the tea is nothing fancy – just a bag thrown into some hot water, but there are three different cup sizes, and all cost just $1.50. i got some sort of mint green tea, and it smelled fantastic. i settled into a corner and remained there for an hour or so, reading and spying on the occasional person through the window. there is an eclectic assortment of chairs and booth-style seats, with cushions strewn about and fun little tables. it’s a really great place to curl up with a book or laptop, very cozy and small. the baristas are very friendly, and the sign on the tip jar makes me laugh:

i then wandered down to spro.

i’m not sure why i felt the need to visit two coffee shops back to back, but i’d never been to spro and heard really good things, so i figured i might as well. it was certainly cool inside – lots of fancy coffee making equipment, including a very long drip coffee maker thing, where ice water runs into the coffee grounds and comes out the other side into a curly tube and then drips down into a glass container. this apparently makes excellent coffee, among the most caffeinated they sell, and it takes 8-12 hours to fill one glass container. i am intimidated by fancy coffee, so i edged around this particular machine and headed for the tea. at spro loose tea is kept in little jars and when you ask for some, the barista throws your tea into a mini french press and there it steeps for 3-4 minutes. i must say, i do love a mini french press. the tea at spro, however, comes in a much smaller container than at common ground, and at $3.50, is a bit pricier. not a huge increase, but when you are poor $2 = lunch. not a good lunch, but lunch.

in this edition of battle of the coffee shops, common ground won out due to overall coziness, welcoming-ness, and more tea for your dollar (fifty). however, spro is known for their coffee, so i shall have to make a return visit to compare coffees and see what’s what. stay tuned.



One thought on “spro vs common ground: battle of the coffee shops

  1. Katie-

    Thanks for coming to visit us at Spro! We certainly understand that “fancy” coffee can be a bit intimidating for the first-time visitor, but we love to welcome first timers and do what we can to put your intimidation at ease when selecting coffees with us. For example, you can choose from our ever-changing selection of coffees (we write up a fresh menu weekly with the tasting notes to help you decide) or you can simply tell us you want a “coffee” and we’ll prepare that as well!

    Come see us again.


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