“Adventure in life is good; consistency in coffee even better.”

― Justina Chen Headley, North of Beautiful

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What about consistency in coffee shops?

When Starbucks decided to open a Lake Jackson location, I remember, there was some fear—at least on my part, if on no one else’s—that Brew-n-Bake wouldn’t be able to compete with it. So it was a relief that the locally owned coffee shop has not only continued to thrive, but, according to the award banner from The Facts newspaper, was also voted Readers’ Choice for 2016 and 2017.

It doesn’t surprise me, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it won again for 2018. It’s certainly been my coffee shop of choice ever since it opened back in 2011.

What I find remarkable is that this place doesn’t seem to have changed at all in that time. It’s stayed pretty consistent, from the dark wood tables with lacquered tops to the creamy white paint on the walls to the local art that decorates the perimeter of the room. The menu incorporates innovative new treats (lemon meringue cheesecake, chocolate cream cheese bundt cake) alongside old favorites (scones, pig ears, breakfast buns). The faces change, too, because I don’t come here often enough to recognize everybody, but one thing that’s always the same is the smile on the barista’s face. Maybe that’s why Brew-n-Bake is so popular: they don’t just create coffee. They create community.

So every time I come here, even though I never know whether it will be busy or I’ll be able to find a table, and even though I’m not here enough to be recognized and called by name, there’s always something familiar about walking in and smelling the coffee or the food, and being able to order something I know I love or try something new that I know I’ll like. There’s something about the feeling of being welcome.

I came to the startling realization earlier that, while set up at a table by the window with my laptop and trendy file folder—probably looking for all the world like your average college student—I’m not here as a student anymore but as an adult functioning in the adult world that gave me the day off today. I’ve changed so much in these past eight years. I never really thought about it before today, but it’s comforting to feel that while I’ve changed, my favorite coffee shop really hasn’t. Change is good, but consistency is good, too—in coffee, and sometimes also in coffee shops.

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