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The Caffeine Corridor? Coffee culture engrains itself in Dripping Springs

It’s no shock that the culture of coffee continues to spread across the country.

Where once coffee was just limited to the house or a convenience store, dedicated coffee shops are now offering luxury lattes and espressos.

Success of those businesses, however, depends on popularity, traffic, customer service and location, location, location.

In Dripping Springs, where four local coffee shops have thrived in the area, increased traffic for a variety of reasons has helped keep business brewing, even as a corporate competitor in Starbucks has opened shop.

A sixth coffee shop, Austin Java, is slated to open along U.S. 290 later this year.

With a multitude of coffee shops in the area, each must find its own way to attract customers. The soon-to-be-opened Austin Java will feature a playground for customers. (photo by Samantha Smith)

One of the primary reasons stems from the city’s designation as the Wedding Capital of Texas, according to baristas at the various coffee shops.

What each coffee shop brings to the table is also a factor in its success as well.

Laurie Green, manager of Mazama Coffee on Mercer Street, said people come to the shop for a relaxed atmosphere where customers can meet friends or colleagues while sipping on an Italian style cappuccino.

“It feels more like a small town shop rather than a corporate coffee chain,” Green said of Mazama’s success.

Dripping Springs residents have no trouble “drinking local,” as a Mazama Coffee Company shirt says. (photo by Samantha Smith)

Juan Chan, owner of Le Muse Coffee Bar, thinks that people in the Dripping Springs area have a craving for “craft” in everything from food to beverages. His coffee shop has something to offer to their discerning palettes.

“Everything that we make here is craft,” Chan said.

Cory Deardorff, a barista at Summer Moon coffee house on U.S. 290, said the designation as the Wedding Capital of Texas has brought in more business than he initially expected. Deardorff added that customers also recognize the brand from chain locations in Buda and in Austin as well.

Emily Brunken, a barista at Jolt Coffee and Beverage, a coffee stand on U.S. 290, said customers may stop by on their commute, but the customer service brings them back with their friends and even a few wedding parties.

Even Starbucks has had success from the Wedding Capital designation.

Starbucks barista Taylor Fluitt said the combination of the chain coffee shop’s location on U.S. 290 and the designation has made the store an overnight success since opening in February 2017.

“I know a lot of people came in the other day from a wedding party that chose to come in and hang out during a rainstorm while the wedding was delayed,” Fluitt said.

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