Conservatives retreat to their own special coffee shops

A cup of coffee with latte art in the image of Donald Trump
Latte art produced by Hymas Ho Wai-him in Hong Kong
Photo: Jonathan Wong/South China Morning Post (Getty Images)

Since they were founded, coffeehouses have always been a go-to place for revolutionaries to do their plotting. Historically, the vast majority of those revolutionaries were left of center, politically. When you are aggrieved about something, it’s always more fun to gather with your fellow aggrieved citizens to complain and drink coffee and listen to angry folk music. American conservatives, who have felt very aggrieved since the November election (well, to be honest, since before the November election because their leader kept telling them that America is no longer Great), are now discovering this pleasure, and several entrepreneurs have made coffee shops especially for them.

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You may be unsurprised to learn that several of them are in Florida. Vox paid a visit to Conservative Grounds, which occupies space in a strip mall in Tampa:

The interior looks surprisingly cozy; Conservative Grounds has a homey blackboard menu, a smattering of wooden supper chairs, and an overflowing bounty of MAGA merch. Presidential portraits of both Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan gaze over from the rightmost wall, and cardboard standees of the most recent former First Couple beckon toward a selfie-ready re-creation of the Oval Office in the back.

Donald Trump Jr. even paid a visit and noted, approvingly, that the TV plays Fox News.

Proprietor Cliff Gephart rejects the label “coffee shop,” however. “We refer to ourselves as a camaraderie shop,” he told Vox. “Because there’s a lot more camaraderie going around in Conservative Grounds than there is coffee.”

Gephart said he came up with the idea for Conservative Grounds after an incident in 2019 when six police officers were expelled from a Starbucks in Tempe, Arizona, because they were making another customer uncomfortable. (A Starbucks exec later apologized.) But conservatives were already primed to be angry at Starbucks after the great 2018 Holiday Cup Controversy and, Vox notes, “Slowly but surely, coffee became a wedge issue in America, and an easy target for the relentless MAGA grift.”

Other conservative coffeehouses show off their politics in the actual coffee, although their leader, Donald Trump, famously prefers his caffeine in the form of Diet Coke. Thrasher Coffee in Hiram, Georgia, for instance, sells #45 Blend and #47 Blend (in honor of the hope that Trump will return), which a spokeswoman described to Vox as “bold” and “very strong.” The inspiredly-named roaster Covfefe Coffee is far less subtle; it sells MAGA Dark Roast, Drain The Swamp Medium Roast, and Red Pill Light Roast, plus hats, mugs, and stickers bearing the company logo, a stylized portrait of Trump.

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And then, of course, there is Black Rifle Coffee Company, founded by former military personnel, which earned $163 million in revenue in 2020. While it does not overtly mention Trump in its marketing materials, it has taken a strong stand against what it perceives to be prejudice against cops.

Well, good. I’m glad nobody ever has to go to a Starbucks again and feel oppressed. But what kind of music would they listen to in a conservative coffeehouse? Would it be angsty ballads about feeling misunderstood? Or maybe thrash metal arrangements of Trump speeches? And are there frappuccinos?

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Associate editor of The Takeout. Chicagoan. Owned by dog.

DISCUSSION

magnuscanis
Shannon Nethery

I see a lot of hate in the comments... if your going to stand as anti fascist.... perhaps be a little less fascist? And as a foot note coffee shops were supposed to be a place that people could gather for intelligent debate and political discourse... meaning all opinions were welcomed except those that would bully or silence others.. so that all could learn. Irony in that the one’s screaming acceptance the most refuse to accept everyone....

But then I take my coffee at home. I’ve seen enough generations fail to their own hubris, while getting mad that the one behind it is just as ignorant to the normal plight of youthful narcissisms.  Cheers