Today we travel northeast of Orlando to the legendary Daytona Beach, famous for Spring Break, the Daytona 500, and Bike Week. You would expect such a tourist magnet to be clogged with chain restaurants…and it is.
There are a few sparks in the sunny landscape that is otherwise clouded with dreary sameness. After all, you travel to Daytona to get away from the rat race and the last thing you want to do is drink the same McBucks coffee you get at home. That spark is Sweet Marley’s Coffee on Beach Street.
As you walk up to Sweet Marley’s, you immediately know it is not going to be a Buckdonalds clone and it is not going to be a greasy spoon. There are a few tables outside for those wishing to soak in the beautiful Florida weather. There is also a nondescript coffee sign above the door and a coffee mural on the wall of the entry.
Upon entering, you are not greeted with Seattle’s idea of efficient design, but with warm, welcoming, comfortable decor. There are plenty of tables of various sizes and a couch at the front window. The service area is a standard arrangement, with a pyramid of products and easily readable signage.
OK, you say. So far, it is just like the small, trendy coffee shop back home. What sets Sweet Marlay’s apart? I’m glad you asked…
The first thing that is special about Sweet Marlay’s is the owner, Tammy Kozinski. When she opened her coffee shop, she wanted it to be different and good. Her baked goods are excellent. The pastries are all fresh and Tammy is not afraid to try something different. On my visits there, I tried a Maple Bacon Cupcake, made with a sugar sunny side up egg on top of bacon strips, and a guava cheese turnover. Both were incredibly delicious. Tammy tells me that when she tries a new recipe, she polls her customers. If the new item is not well received, it is not made again. Survival of the tastiest.
Something else that sets Sweet Marley’s apart is Choffy. That’s not a spelling error. Choffy is a tea made from crushed chocolate pods. Instead of being ground and processed into chocolate, the pods are put into a French Press and brewed. Here’s Tammy herself telling us all about it:
Choffy tastes like a very weak dark hot chocolate made with water. There is no hint of creaminess, but a bit of malty sweetness that is also prevalent in the aroma. The bitterness from dark chocolate is there, but not overwhelming. I finished the pot about 5pm and was pleasantly awake for many hours with no hint of caffeine edginess.
More about Tammy. She clearly works to offer her customers something special and to make her business successful…and that is the thing that sets Sweet Marlay’s apart. Tammy cares. She does not know what “good enough” means. If it is not different and great, it is not in her coffee shop.
If you are in or remotely near Daytona and want to relax with a great pastry or want to try a pot of choffy, make your way to Sweet Marlay’s.
Sweet Marlay’s Coffee
214 South Beach Street
Daytona Beach, FL 32114