Alternative coffee options for an alternative way of life

Derek and I love coffee shops. You can read about some of the ones we frequent here.

The one thing I have missed the most during the pandemic is sitting inside a coffee shop. Getting to-go orders, or sitting outside, is just not the same. I miss the cozy ambience of being inside.

The only coffee shop we’ve never stopped going to is Rembrandt’s, because they have a large outdoor patio. I love going to Rembrandt’s, truly, but I ultimately want to rotate with the other places again.

Since the pandemic started, we have found two new coffee places. Except they’re not really places at all, which is best during a pandemic.

(Be) Caffeinated is a drive thru in Red Bank on Dayton Blvd, not far from where we live. It’s been open a little over a year. We had passed it multiple times, but never gave it a second thought. A drive thru is now one of the safest places you can go these days.

Again, as I’ve noted before, I can’t offer any opinions on the coffee. I only get chai lattes. However, at (Be) Caffeinated, Derek has ordered the Hazelnut Bliss as well as the Gig City Mocha. Derek says it is worth noting that their cold brew is strong. So strong that, getting a coffee in the early afternoon kept him up all night! We now know to go here in the morning.

A few months ago, when the Chattanooga Market opened up, we also discovered Spill the Beans, a coffee truck. At Spill the Beans, Derek has ordered the toffee nut cold brew. Spill the Beans’ schedule looks a little different these days, but normally you would find them at some of the bigger events in Chattanooga, as well as sporting events. We always look forward to going to the Market on weekends, and now Spill the Beans is included in that.

Our desire to get coffee and chai on the weekends has not waned despite the pandemic. At least we have these two options, which we will keep in rotation even after the pandemic has ended.


Our favorite coffee shops in Chattanooga

Derek and I love coffee shops. Going out for a drink and a light meal/snack is our favorite thing to do on the weekends. Our first date was actually at a coffee shop in our college town, so I guess that’s where the whole habit started.

Chattanooga, and the Chattanooga area, has many different coffee shops to choose from. I am highlighting our favorite five: Frothy Monkey, Milk & Honey, The Meeting House, Rembrandt’s Coffee House and Mayfly Coffee.

Full disclosure: I don’t even like coffee! So if you’re looking for coffee recommendations, I am sorry, but I cannot help you here. My husband on the other hand though loves coffee, and loves trying out the different flavors. I always order a chai latte at coffee shops.

The Frothy Monkey is my favorite overall. It is inside the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel. I love trains and history, so it’s a treat to be able to go there, walk around the hotel grounds a bit, and then get a drink at the Frothy Monkey. The location is gorgeous, with two levels of seating, and large exposed ceilings.

They have the most expansive menu too. However, I will admit they are a bit on the pricier side. We’ve ordered it all though, sandwiches, salads, and pastries. Most recently we ordered a huge cinnamon roll to share. It was delicious.

Chattanooga Choo Choo29
Chattanooga Choo Choo31

Milk & Honey was the first coffee shop we went to when we first moved to Chattanooga. I think their chai latte is the best out of all of these coffee shops. I’ll drink a super sweet chai but it’s not my favorite. (I’m looking at you Starbucks…) I prefer my chai to have spices in it, like cinnamon.

We have also ordered many different things off the menu there too. Derek likes the “Hot Mess” open sandwich, and I recommend their oatmeal, and their grilled cheese and tomato soup.

The downside to Milk & Honey is that it’s small, so there’s not much inside seating. There is plenty of outdoor seating, but it’s not really helpful when we’re in the middle of winter.


The Meeting House is in Red Bank, Tenn., a few miles north from downtown. This is the coffee shop that is closest to where we live. The Meeting House, like the name implies, is used for many community events. The coffee shop business side is closed on Sundays, and the building space is a church. Some people have warned us about this closure when we asked for coffee shop recommendations, but this doesn’t bother us, because I work on Sundays, so our weekend is Friday and Saturday.

Their menu is small, but the most reasonably priced out of this bunch. You can get a large bowl of grits for cheap there. Grits are one of my favorite breakfast foods, so I was sold from the start. You can also get an oatmeal bowl with cranberries and almonds in it. Yum!


Rembrandt’s Coffee House is in Bluff View Art District, and our go-to when we want to spend an afternoon out and about. We park in the free two-hour parking spots, get something to eat/drink at Rembrandt’s and then walk across the Walnut Street pedestrian bridge, which is just a few blocks over.

Rembrandt’s, like Milk & Honey, does not have much seating inside. This coffee shop is the most packed out of them all, at least from our experience. However, when it’s warmer out, their outdoor patio is my favorite.

They have an pretty good sized menu, and have an expansive pastry selection. I really enjoy their biscotti. I also like to order the Italian Flag sandwich, which is mozzarella, tomato and pesto.

Walnut Street Bridge19
Walnut Street Bridge20

The last but not least on this list is Mayfly Coffee, which is in Signal Mountain. We usually couple a visit to Mayfly with some other things in Signal Mountain, like a visit to Fairmount Orchard’s store or the Cookie Lady for some delicious tasting cookies.

A visit to Mayfly Coffee feels special. After living in Houston for three years, “going up the mountain” for the afternoon is like a mini adventure.

I like the ambiance of this coffee shop a lot. It is in a rustic looking building. The decorations inside are eclectic and adventurous. There is one wall that is covered with a mountain print that I’d love to have in my house! There is a nice outdoor seating area too.

So far to eat there, I’ve had a delicious breakfast bagel sandwich, and some cookies too. They have soups on their menu in the winter time that I’m planning on trying out next.


Of course there are so many more coffee shops than just these few I have listed here. Others that we have been to, but only once, include Mean Mug and Stone Cup Cafe. Do you like coffee shops? What are your favorites in your area, or in Chattanooga?

Moving in and an interview

I’m back tracking a bit with this post. I had originally wrote this entry in the beginning of August, and I wanted to wait to post this.

Derek moved to Chattanooga on Wednesday, July 31, and somehow, everything worked out in a way that I was able to go with him, and help him get settled in.

In the middle of July, I applied for a copywriting position. The position opened up on a Friday, and I applied for it on Saturday. They contacted me on Monday. I had an initial screening interview. Then I settled in for an unknown waiting period.

I was just starting to think that maybe they didn’t think I was good enough for an in-person interview, when they got back to me with hours to spare.

Derek and I were up early, out to breakfast at one of our favorite places. The time difference was on our side. It was 8 a.m. in Tennessee, and 7 a.m. in Houston.  I got an email saying they wanted to see me for an in-person interview.

We scheduled an interview for Friday afternoon. I called my boss in Houston at 7:30 a.m. to tell him that yes, I was going to Chattanooga that day. It’s okay, he knew it was a possibility, and he and my coworkers had planned for it.

So, to reiterate, I got the email at 7:15 a.m., and we left at 9:30 a.m. Derek loaded up the last few things into the truck and I quickly packed a duffle bag.

I drove our one car while Derek drove the truck and towed the second car on a trailer. It was a long 12 hour drive, made longer by having to tend to cats in the car, and Derek not being able to drive the speed limit with a large load.

We arrived in Chattanooga at 1:50 a.m., and I felt like I was arriving home. We crossed over the Tennessee River and we could see the other bridges all light up, with the lights reflecting in the water. It was beautiful. And we didn’t even get to see the mountains all around us yet because it was nighttime. 

Our apartment is nice, and an upgrade from what we have in Houston. It is bigger, and townhome style with two floors. It’s also cheaper too. That’s the nice perk of moving to a smaller city.

I was in Chattanooga for three full days, and we packed them in full (and unpacked as well, ha.)

We visited the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga campus, and got to see where Derek’s office is and meet his colleagues. They were all nice and welcoming. The campus is beautiful too.

We also drove around a bit and got the lay of the land. We found the local grocery store, Walmart and tons of restaurants and coffee shops to check out in the future. We live north of the city proper, but Derek will still have an easy commute. Everything is a quick drive away. 

We found a coffee shop that we both liked, called Milk&Honey. After eating there, we checked out nearby Coolidge Park, which is is a large green area on the banks of the Tennessee River. There is also a carousel in the park! We also checked out a couple of stores and found an ice cream shop. This was all in a neighborhood called Northshore.

On our last night together, we were coming home from shopping and Derek took a back road the last few miles home. It was heavily wooded, and the homes back there were gorgeous. On one front lawn we saw a deer and two babies. I thought, “Welcome home.”  

By the time I left on Sunday morning, almost everything was in place, aside from things in the second bedroom, which is to be the office, and wall hangings, which Derek can get to in his own time.

As of today (August 21st) I am still waiting to hear if I got the job. I followed up earlier this week and they told me they are still in the process of interviewing candidates.

I am happy that it worked out this way though, even if the outcome ends up not being what I hoped for. It allowed me to come out and help with the moving process. While I am in Houston, I can picture where Derek is, both at home and at work. This also made the total separation only 38 days and not 42. And now we’re down to 22 days!

Derek at breakfast at our favorite place, before we left for the long 12 hour drive. He looks sleepy, he most definitely was; it was 6:30 in the morning!
Driving over the Mississippi River.
The before picture. I’ll post after pictures once I’m in Chattanooga for good!
Checking out the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s campus. This is the University Center building.
Checking out Milk&Honey, a cafe in the NorthShore.
The Walnut Street Bridge, a pedestrian bridge, spans the Tennessee River. This photo was taken at Coolidge Park.
The front of our new apartment.