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Coffee Corner: A grand opening for Summer Moon Coffee

Katie Bradham // Video Editor
A half moon latte at the grand opening of Summer Moon Coffee.

It’s been a special time here at Coffee Corner, as I’ve been trying out a brand-new coffee shop right in the heart of downtown.

On March 2, Summer Moon Coffee had the grand opening of its Clemson location. Students and residents alike lined up to see what this new caffeine competitor would bring, and suffice it to say, Summer Moon came out swinging.

The vibes of the coffee shop were some of the best in recent memory. We attended its grand opening, which saw a line wrapped around the building by the time it opened at 7 a.m. Stalls were out selling merch, and those who arrived earlier got some free tote bags, hats, a few coupons and a couple of taste tests of Summer Moon’s coffee and signature Moon Milk.

If there’s one way to win me over, it’s free things, but the enthusiasm didn’t stop there. As many of us have had the grueling misfortune of working service jobs, you can tell when a cafe’s employees enjoy their shop, and every barista we met was beaming. The energy was high, and the service was Chick-fil-A level courteous, and that held true in the following days I revisited.

While the interior is small, no detail was left unaligned with the rustic-chic atmosphere of Summer Moon. There’s a cohesion that any casual coffee drinker or an overstimulated caffeine columnist will appreciate. The vibes have no doubt remained a 5 out of 5.

The food was the only thing that wasn’t blowing me away. It’s not really what the shop’s focus is, nor do I think that the lack of options detracts from the overall experience, but you’re just never going to come to Summer Moon specifically for the food. It offers a few of the standard pastries, and they’re just fine. Nothing more, nothing less. Food gets a 2.5 out of 5.

The coffee, however, is wildly more interesting. Summer Moon brings one of the more unique approaches to everyday coffee I’ve seen. The menu is centered around its specially formulated sweet cream, “Moon Milk.” You can add it to any black coffee of choice, and the lattes are made from a ratio of nonfat milk to Moon Milk, which you can choose anywhere from standard, which is 1/4 Moon Milk, all the way to an entirely sweet cream-based latte. I originally thought this would be overpowering, but when I tried a Half Moon latte — 1/2 Moon Milk, 1/2 nonfat — with just one pump of vanilla, I had one of the silkiest, balanced drinks I’ve bought. The coffee is strong and well-sourced, biting through the density of the Moon Milk, but still holds the right amount of sweetness and makes for a smooth and heavy drink. The coffee gets a 5 out of 5.

Summer Moon offers good, unique, quality coffee while creating an enjoyable moment for each customer. It’s not a game changer, but it will definitely continue to rise as a new downtown staple.

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