Review: Sparrow Specialty Coffee

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Sparrow Specialty Coffee lively and warm atmosphere welcomes patrons. (Austin Fuller | The Collegian)

A little further from K-State’s campus, Sparrow Specialty Coffee seems to be a perfect retreat from all the students and hustle-and-bustle. It might not be the greatest spot for a grab-and-go cup of coffee to power you through that early morning class, but it seems to be a great place to sit, enjoy the quiet and read a book or study.

Service

Sparrow’s customer service was just the average, polite experience that never really stands out. The cashier was helpful when asked what was in the drinks, and he quickly rang up the transaction. I did not have to wait long for my beverage.

Atmosphere

Probably the greatest thing about this cafe is the quiet. When I sat down there were only two other customers, each on opposite sides of the cafe. It could easily be busier early morning or later afternoon, but around noon, the place was a ghost town. For those who like extra background noise while studying, this might not be your new study spot because you can hardly even hear the music, it is so quiet. If you are looking for a place to simply get away from the regular noise that is in the cafes closer to campus, though, this is a great little hide-away.

The decor sort of reminded me of my hipster friend’s bedroom in high school. There were twinkle lights, a large silhouette of a tree with a bird and antique looking photography hung on the walls. Despite bringing me back to my awkward high school days, the atmosphere was very pleasant.

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Emma York, 2014 alum, works on some of her photos for her photography business on Mar. 7, 2016 at Sparrow Coffee. (Austin Fuller | The Collegian)

Drinks

I decided to be adventurous today and tried something I had never heard of before. The cortado is a small drink with 2 ounces of espresso and 2 ounces of steamed milk. It also came with a small cup of soda water, but, not being a fan, I just stuck with regular water. I tried to add some flavors to it, knowing I have a bit of a sweet tooth, but was informed they do not add flavors to really any of their drinks besides the lattes.

This made me a little hesitant to try the cortado. It was one of those moments where I knew if the drink was not good, it would be a poor first impression of Sparrow Specialty Coffee. Good news was, it was great. I normally have a hard time appreciating just espresso and milk together, but there was enough sweetness to the espresso itself, there was no awkward bitterness. My only problem with it was the drink was so small.

Probably the biggest shortcoming of this cafe is the limited menu. I didn’t see any mochas or specialty drinks that are so familiar in other cafes. If you are a die-hard coffee-lover, this isn’t a real problem. Someone looking for a decaf, venti peppermint mocha might want to take their search elsewhere.

Price

For being a specialty coffee place, the prices seemed about average. My cortado cost $2.70 after the 10 percent student discount was taken off. Despite the small cup size, I felt like I was not being cheated out of too much money, though it did feel like it was starting to lean toward the pricier end of the spectrum. The rest of the prices seemed about right, though.

Overall, this is a nice hole-in-the-wall space that if you really like plain espresso drinks, it could easily be a favorite. If you prefer more sweet coffee drinks, this might not be the greatest choice for a pick-me-up. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I did enjoy my cortado and would definitely return for more.

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Hi everyone! I'm a senior in journalism and cultural anthropology. My favorite things are storytelling, coffee and meeting new people. In that order.