May 21, 2024

Opinion: Old City Java is an artistic hideaway

Katy Hill takes her coffee blog to the Old City this week with a review of Old City Java.

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Knoxville’s Old City: where the city’s young and hip residents unite. There is a certain vibe to this place that almost anyone can enjoy. High-end restaurants, bars and clubs and most importantly, the beloved coffee shop Old City Java. This favorite spot is always busy with coffee-loving visitors and is ready to warm you up as the holiday season approaches.

When I say that atmosphere is almost as important as the coffee that is served, I absolutely mean it. I also immediately think of “Java” (as us natives refer to it) when I want to be inspired by the old and eclectic look.

The “Starry Night” ceiling is one of Old City Java’s most distinctive features. //Photo by Katy Hill

This tiny shop, fitted with UPVC Shopfronts, is defined by its exposed brick walls, worn hard wood floors and the iconic “Starry Night” ceiling. Indeed, it was the painted ceiling in the second room that truly made me fall in love with this spot. Just look up and you will see all the artistic inspiration you need for the day!

Take a look around at any spot in the shop and you will see intriguing local art and photography. I sometimes find it hard to focus on my homework because I am simply taken away by the talent that is displayed throughout.

This artistic talent directly translates into the coffee and pastries that are made daily and only adds to the overall experience. Expertly steamed milk makes these espresso drinks truly standout amongst others. My usual drink at Java is a cappuccino, no sugar no flavors. When milk is steamed correctly, the foam should be slightly sweet and very frothy, leaving a wonderful mouthfeel to enhance the espresso.

This is exactly why I order my cappuccino every time.

You can also never go wrong with a black coffee here. They will serve two different roasts and will explain in detail the flavor notes and the region in which it was grown and roasted.

I mentioned pastries earlier, and I honestly believe I could write a whole post talking about these things. I am not usually one to eat a pastry with my coffee or espresso because I believe my indulgence should be in the handcrafted drink that was made specifically for me.

However, Old City Java has proven to be my exception.

As soon as you walk in, you immediately see the whole set up of every delicious baked treat you could want alongside your favorite coffee. My first experience with this little piece of heaven was the blueberry muffin. Juicy whole blueberries filled this little confection and burst in my mouth with each bite. I am currently enjoying a pumpkin muffin (‘tis the season) and it has proved to be just as delicious with its powerful cinnamon and pumpkin spice flavor.

Old City Java also creates homemade pie, scones, cookies, croissants, and other wholesome treats that are just as delicious as those muffins.

If you wish to experience a classic Knoxville hub, a trip to Old City Java is a must. Just don’t be surprised if you get swept away by the artistic overload!

You can find Old City Java at 109 S Central Street.

Join me next week for my final and absolute favorite coffee spot in Knoxville!

Photos by Katy Hill

Edited by Taylor Owens

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Assistant Arts and Culture editor, Katy Hill, is new to the journalism world. She began as an Exercise Science major before transferring to UT her junior year. After taking a media writing elective, she quickly found that she loved writing and switched to a Public Relations major. Her passion for blogging and local culture inspired her to begin her journey at Tennessee Journalist. Within her first year, she went from a 175 student completing a project to an assistant editor. She hopes to one day travel the world with her future pugs as a travel and food writer. When Katy is not writing, you can find her watching Food Network, playing soccer, or sitting at a local coffee shop.