I love a good local coffee shop as much as the next guy. Probably even more than the next guy. I can rattle off a good dozen or so that I’m happy to frequent when I’m in the area. Around home in Chandler, Peixoto Coffee is my jam. Julia brings a passion for her family’s coffee and flavors inspired by her Brazilian heritage, and Spencer is a badass barista-ninja. I’ve enjoyed many a sunny or rainy day drinking the latest iced or hot beverages Peixoto’s pumped out.

Around Phoenix, I’ve got a laundry list of joints I frequent. Lola has the delicious Mexican-inspired Matador and some ridiculously low prices for the area. Street Coffee has badass art and a genuinely friendly staff serving up solid standards. (And pie!) Lux is your definitive hipster coffee paradise, with chunky-spectacled Gen Y women serving up lattes in giant mugs that you drink at picnic tables full of typewriters. (Also the in-house baker is a total pastry badass and if you don’t eat one of her creations you’re missing out.)

But as a working creative, there is no more vital part of my workday than Starbucks. It’s everywhere. It’s consistent. Wherever I go, the menu is the same, the beverages are consistent, the bathrooms are clean, and Starbucks is open. Up at 4:30 in the morning for an early call time? Starbucks is there, the cafĂ© is empty, and the staff are unnaturally perky and happy to see you. Crew coffee run during a break? There are probably a half-dozen Starbuckses within a mile. Coming home after putting in your 15 hours, and every other coffee shop has shuttered for the night? The green maiden invites you in with her welcoming glow and the aroma of a fresh-brewed caffeine injection.

And when you’re barely awake at the beginning of your day or barely awake at the end, that welcoming glow and the knowledge I’m getting something generally palatable are exactly what I need. Solid community involvement and support of causes I believe in are just the whipped cream on top of my latte.