Coffee Comparisons: Q vs. Spencer’s

Q Coffee Emporium located at 3031 Nashville Rd

Katelyn Latture

There’s finally a crispness to the fall air, and people can now switch from their iced lattes to hot coffee. Bowling Green residents now have more than just one coffee shop from whom to buy their favorite fall-flavored drinks. As of the beginning of the semester, Q Coffee Emporium joined Spencer’s Coffee among the local coffee shop ranks.

Q Coffee Emporium:

Opening in late August, Q has only been around for a couple months, but there’s already quite a buzz surrounding it.

The coffee shop is in a renovated mechanic shop. Its exterior has been repainted a dark gray and black, and there’s a large black and white Q on the side.

“I love both Q and Spencer’s,” James Hill, a 2019 alumnus and “self-proclaimed non-coffee drinker,” said. “They’re the perfect places to chill after church on Sundays. They’re the perfect places to reunite with an old friend on a Thursday afternoon. And they’re the perfect places to grab breakfast Wednesday morning before class.”

Hill said he likes the location of Q. It might be out of the way for many college students, but it is right down the street from his church.

“Great if you need a quiet place with less college students,” senior Sarah-Beth Strong said about Q. “There is always a place with a plug, and it makes it the ideal study spot or a cute lunch place.”

Q’s black brick walls and cement floors give the interior a more modern, get-down-to-business look. When you walk in, you will see a display case full of homemade pastries straight from the Q bakery.

The pastries, especially the bagels, have become the stars of this new coffee shop. Since Q is still in training mode, it appears the coffee has not yet reached a consistent quality. 

The next room is filled with tables made of wood and metal, giving it a more restaurant-like feel. The last room, which is connected to the bakery, is warmer. There’s a couch and a few armchairs surrounded by shelves upon shelves of books. If you’re looking for a cozier spot, that’s the place to be. 

Spencer’s Coffee: 

Having been around since 2001, Spencer’s is undoubtedly a Bowling Green go-to. 

Located downtown, the shop is within walking distance from campus if you head straight down College Street from Cherry Hall. 

The baristas are seasoned, some having been there for multiple years.

“[Spencer’s] is the place to go for great coffee and a great atmosphere,” Strong said. 

The building’s exposed brick and artisan-style tables make it more homey than other coffee shops. There’s art created by locals displayed on their walls, as well, which is one of Hill’s favorite characteristics. 

Right now you can find photographs taken by one of their baristas hung in the main room. 

Spencer’s, besides being a coffee hub, is also a social scene in Bowling Green. Many a college student has procrastinated their homework by running into friends at Spencer’s.

“You never know who you’ll run into,” Hill said. “I’ve seen friends I hadn’t seen in years at Spencer’s before.”

Q might not yet be up to local-staple standards, but it’s learning and growing with time. It’s doubtful Q or Spencer’s will leave town or even be rivals. Bowling Green is a catalyst for many local businesses, and there’s room here for more than one great local coffee shop.

“Coffee shops are a central part of societies and cultures all over the world,” Strong said. 

Strong has sat on a floor in a Ugandan home laughing and drinking coffee, she’s handed out hot coffee to the homeless in Denver and she’s shared coffee with friends over a study date in the comfort of her college town.

“I’ve found one universal thing to be true — coffee brings people together, and wherever that may be, it is special.”

Features reporter Katelyn Latture can be reached at [email protected].