The dull roar of West 5th street and its thousands of exhaust belching automobiles fills the confines of Dunn Bros Coffee’s street-side patio. There is little pleasure in my treasured morning cup.

Austin, Texas has an inordinate amount of coffee shops with quality ranging from phenomenal {Once Over Coffee Bar, Caffe Medici} to dreadful {any number of local joints with sticky tables,listless baristas and cups going for north of $2.} I’ll happily drive ten miles out of my way for a superior pull from a la marzocco espresso machine, but I’ll also venture into the uncharted waters of corporate coffee and report back from those dark regions of Austin’s furry nethers.

This is one of those times.

Ambiance is crucial when choosing my morning hang.The unrivaled pleasure dome that is Once Over’s rear deck can not always be experienced when time is precious. Which is how I ended up at Dunn Bros Coffee.

With business in West Austin I clambered up on the internet for a moment and quickly found high value for the mammoth coffee chain from Minnesota. Misplaced, as it turns out.

The coffee arrives steaming hot. It’s a light roast and after a few sips some actual caffeine begins working its magic. I’ve had worse. The patio is another matter entirely. 3 tables have just sort of been heaved onto a cement slab off to one side of the cafe. A lone umbrella splits the difference between all 3 with the result being there is nary a speck of shade for anyone.

The soundtrack is all gas powered leaf blowers and steady thrum of high volume traffic. It’s very urban if you’re into that sort of thing. Dunn Bros is the eastern most tenant in another boring, ugly as Hell, mixed-use building that will be a tenement in ten years. Faceless siblings like Subway and Sushi Zushi are co-occupants on the bottom floor of the drab,lifeless building.

The crowd is the typical Clarksville area mix of sabre tooths, cougars, joggers and crusty old bankers in deep blue vestments driving late model Euro-knockoff Japanese sedans.

Good people watching.

With all the mom n pop coffee shops in Austin I won’t be returning to Dunn Bros. They’re one of the ten largest coffee conglomerates in the USA so they won’t be missing the business. There are just too many secluded oases scattered around town to be bothered with a noisy, homely patio outlet of a vast Minnesota-based coffee chain.

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