I am not new to coffee shop hunting. Ever since my love for this strongly and offensive flavor began, even the smallest café still catches my eye. By accident I found The Perfect Blend Café tucked into a corner building—a short walk from where East Patrick Street becomes West Patrick in downtown Frederick, a literal crossroads of flavor, unique shops, and a thriving arts scene.
There’s something timeless and original about a good coffee shop, particularly once summer hands-off the season to fall. Entering a new coffee shop is like dating. I’m a little nervous (Will I like the place?). I’m not sure what to expect (Will the staff notice I’m new?) Am I wasting my money? (Will I be disappointed?). I decide to take a chance. Why not?
I’m surprised to find the space is funky. I get a good feeling the moment I enter through the door. The bakery display case is full of treats with crumb toppings or icing or fresh fruit with smells to match. Stacks of paper cups are awaiting someone’s order. Baskets of creamers and pitchers of half-and-half line the counter. There’s not much room, which is not a deal-breaker. Some cafés are meant to have couches, and others, only tables, like this one, I’m meant to get my coffee and not linger. I’m supposed to get on with my day. Go walk through nearby Baker Park or do some window shopping. There’s an efficient pace of the staff which I appreciate.
And the staff are friendly. I’m greeted with Good Morning and a grin. There’s a start. Sincerity counts for something at these places. It’s never out of style to be kind. Three tables make up the inside sitting options and there’s more outside. I order my coffee and a blueberry muffin, and take my cup over to the stand full of three flavor-of-the day selections. I go with hazelnut. You can’t go wrong with that flavor, especially as I pour a decent amount of half-and-half in the cup and catch a view of the intersection, already scattered with leaves.
One sign of a good coffee shop is the black board menu, which they have. If I gave out points to coffee shops for accessories, they’d get some for sure. These are classic, changeable, and written by a real human. I like to look up and see that someone took the effort to write the word Espresso or Mocha because that means they can change it to make room for seasonal goodies. Coffee is no different from a summer salad at a restaurant with seasonal veggies or pecan pie special in the heart of winter. There’s a time for coffee flavors of the fall like cinnamon, pumpkin spice, almond, and bold blends. There’s a time for fresh made cinnamon rolls, blueberry muffins, and soups too (which they have daily). The beverage selection is broad and full of specialty drinks like lattes, espressos, Chai, teas, frozen/iced drinks and smoothies.
I decide I’m not in the mood for sitting at one of the wrought-iron tables outdoors, their seats are full, which I imagine they stay that way until well past the respectable coffee hour (ten-thirty, in my opinion). Charged by the steaming cup of caffeine, I’m eager to get outside and walk around. The visit is quick enough that it leaves me wanting more and it’s safe to say, I’ve got a crush on this place.