Culture Espresso is an independent and locally owned coffee shop that started in 2009. There are three locations, all of which are within a few blocks of one another, and I’m not sure why. They are each small, no frills, and just straight up serve coffee beverages and a few edible accompaniments.
There is a bit of seating in each location, but often all seats are taken and you’ll have to wait. Culture Espresso isn’t setting out to be the type of coffee shop in which you can lounge for hours, instead catering more to the workweek crowd and passersby who just want to grab a cup of coffee and go.
They take their coffee seriously and have a lot of fans, but I’m not one of them. Having tried a few of their coffee beverages, they all taste bitter to me. From their drip coffee to their flat whites, I don’t find them palatable and I ended up tossing more than I drank. So, why ever patron this place if they can’t nail the main product they are trying to execute? Because of one of the coffee accompaniments mentioned above.
The thing is, they have this cookie. It’s a chocolate chip cookie. And I know you’re thinking, ok so everyone has a chocolate chip cookie, so what’s the big deal? Yes, everyone does have a chocolate chip cookie, but almost everyone has a bad or mediocre chocolate chip cookie. Maybe one or two places make a good chocolate chip cookie. But this place makes an amazing chocolate chip cookie, which is way harder to find than it should be. Even though their cafes are tiny, they still make these cookies from scratch, on site, every day, throughout the day in each of their locations. They aren’t frozen and shipped from elsewhere, they aren’t purchased from another bakery. The dough is made and baked every single day, so when you walk in, you can often even have one fresh out of the oven. It’s still warm, melty, and ooey gooey.
The cookies are about 3 inches in diameter, but thicker than most. The outside is a bit crispier than I would like, but the inside is so incredibly soft, doughy, and filled with super melty chocolate chips (remember, they are usually fresh out of the oven so they are still warm). And though they are exaggeratedly packed with chocolate chips, they are surprisingly not overly sweet, likely as a result of using semi-sweet chocolate chips and showing restraint with the sugar. The cookies are Levain-esque. Now, I’m not saying these cookies are better than Levain’s, because nothing is better than Levain’s. Feel free to check out our review here. But, Culture Espresso’s chocolate chip cookies give Levain a bit of a run for its money. Plus, for some inexplicable, bizarre, and unacceptable reason, Levain does not have a chocolate chip cookie without nuts! I forgive them because they have a double chocolate, which is the best. But still. Sometimes, you need a chocolate chip cookie and not a double chocolate cookie and then you’re out of luck at Levain. Culture Espresso to the rescue!
Whether you get the coffee or not is up to you. Whether you sit in or take out is up to you. But you’ve got to swing by a Culture Espresso and try these cookies. As an alternative, they have an oatmeal cranberry, which is incredibly popular, and they also offer pastries that are brought in by other good quality bakeries like Ceci Cela, Blue Sky Bakery, and Dough Doughnuts. But do yourself a favor and just go for the chocolate chip. You will not be disappointed!