Birdie’s Cafe owner Sherri Hosfeld Joseph proudly displays one of her caffeinated beverages.

Written By David Greisman, Photos by: Phil Grout

The coffee shop has become seemingly ubiquitous in our highly driven, and hence highly caffeinated, society, culminating with the joking observation that you can find a Starbucks on every street corner.

Coffee shops are not on every corner in Carroll County, but there is a veritable wealth of java joints. These offerings go far beyond Starbucks — which has locations in Eldersburg, Mt. Airy and Westminster. Another chain, Dunkin’ Donuts, has shops in Eldersburg, Hampstead, Mt. Airy, Taneytown and Westminster.

Here is what to expect when you walk into these establishments for a cup of Joe and a bite to eat:

Situated in the Illiano Plaza at 903 S. Main St. in Hampstead, Snickerdoodles Bakery and Coffee House does not skimp on the bakery portion of its name, offering ample temptations for eating in and taking out. Those temptations range from artistically adorned cupcakes to bagels, cakes, cookies, croissants, danishes, turnovers and other pastries.

The treats flank the counter in large cases and are lit by the sun streaming in from large picture windows — they simply cannot be avoided, particularly at prices that are inversely proportional to the grand size of the snacks.

A regular cup of coffee at Snickerdoodles runs from $1.69 for 12 ounces to $2.19 for 20 ounces. Its standard coffee shop fare includes cafŽ latte, cappuccino, cafŽ mocha, cafŽ caramel, cafŽ au lait, breve and cafŽ Americano. The shop also offers variations of its specialties. On a weekend before Valentine’s Day, for example, the menu offered drinks such as chocolate raspberry truffle latte, tiramisu breve, peppermint patty latte, chocolate-dipped strawberry latte and an espresso drink called the “Light-Hearted Milky Way,” all ranging from $3.29 for a small and $5.25 for a large.

There are coffee shops downtown, and there are the coffee shops off the highway. You can start at one end of Main Street with Birdie’s Cafe, at 233 E. Main St., where Birdie’s is in its third year of occupying the spot once held by The Pour House. Decorated with various works of art on the walls, it offers several tables in multiple rooms and earth tones on the walls.

Regular coffee starts at $1.50 for a small and ranges to $2 for a large, and there are also cafŽ au lait, cappuccino, cafŽ latte, mocha, white mocha, caramel latte, caramel mocha and caramel macchiato. The shop also offers iced blended drinks called “snowbirds”: coffee, mocha, white mocha, caramel and even a chai snowbird, which range from $3 .75 to $5.25.

Further down Main Street is Munch’s Court Street Cafe (199 E. Main St.), which offers a regular cup of coffee, though not any flavored variations. Further downtown is J CafŽ, at 172 E. Main St. in a restored Victorian house that has been home to other restaurants in the past. In addition to breakfast and lunch menus and bakery selections, the cafe offers regular coffee, cappuccino, latte and espresso.

Coffee is not the specialty at Cup Tea Bar & Cafe (7 E. Main St.) — tea is — although the locally brewed Furnace Hills Coffee is available for $3.50 for a pot, $1.89 for half a pot, $1.59 for a small cup to go and $1.89 for a large cup to go.

Sam’s Bagels (1 E. Main St.) has regular coffee, which ranges in price from $1.49 for a small to $1.89 for a large, and also sells cafŽ latte, cafŽ mocha, cappucino, white chocolate, vanilla latte, latte caramella, and shots of espresso. Further uptown, Heinz Bakery (42 W. Main St.) has regular coffee available at $1.40 for a small and $1.65 for a large.

Route 140 offers even more options.

In the Carroll Plaza shopping center, Westminster Station sells coffee that ranges from $1.49 for a small to $2.09 for a large. The establishment seeks to be many things: a tea room; a spot for open mics and band performances; a shop for toys, novelties, trinkets, jewelry and other merchandise; and an eccentric home to a large stuffed lion and bear, plus an empty fish tank with a “rare invisible fish” inside. There are paninis and snacks, as well as espresso, cafŽ latte, cafŽ cappuccino, cafŽ Americano, cafŽ mocha, white chocolate mocha, caramel macchiato and spiced lattes. The specialty coffees, however, add the option of French press, chemex and Turkish, which range from $3.99 to $4.99.

At the Westminster TownMall, MugShots Coffee sells a huge variety of drinks. Regular coffee starts at $1.75 for a small and ranges to $2.05 for a large, but there are also Americano, latte, misto, mocha, cappuccino, caramel macchiato, white chocolate mocha, espresso and breve.

And then there are the specialties on the expansive menu: flavored versions of the aforementioned offerings; holiday specialties; syrup flavorings; iced and frozen blended versions and even the option of ordering your drink sugar-free.

Last, the Starry Night Bakery & Coffeehouse (330 One Forty Village Road) is a shop that appeared on the “Cupcake Wars” television show. Beyond the cupcakes are confections such as cakes, cookies, whoopie pies, brownies, cannolis and even vegan dog treats, never mind the paninis and breakfast sandwiches. As for the drinks, regular coffee is $1.70 for a small and $2.10 for a large, and there are also lattes, frozen lattes, cappuccinos, Americanos and something called the Starry Night Drink: caramel, vanilla, steamed milk and four shots of espresso.

The Zi Pani Breads CafŽ in Eldersburg, located at 1311 Londontowne Boulevard off Route 32 and north of Route 26, has the usual fare available at coffee shops: a plain cup of java runs from $1.65 for 12 ounces to $2.05 for 20 ounces, and there is also espresso, caffe latte, cappuccino, caffe mocha, caffe Americano and caffe breve.

Zi Pani’s specialty drinks, however, are clearly its flavored mochas — wild cherry, coconut, raspberry dream, almond joy, crme de mint, banana royal and white chocolate, nearly all of which start at $3.69 for 12 ounces and increase to around $4.59 for 20 ounces.

Walk on the tile floor past the picture windows, two flat-screen televisions and six photos of canyons and caves, and you will find bagel shop and deli fare, including paninis, salads, sandwiches, soups and wraps. The shop also offers several varieties of cream cheese to go.