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People have recommended Carabello to me since I moved to Cincinnati. Maybe it’s not fair, but this local obsession with the place negatively affected my experience there. It is indeed good in some ways, and probably has the best coffee offerings in Cincinnati: they have their own roastery, they sell a wide variety of drinks, and the actual coffee is quite good. But the music is too loud, the chairs aren’t great, and the place is very busy – to the point that I have been unable to sit down on several occasions! As we all know, a coffee shop without seating is strictly inferior to just making coffee at home and sitting on your couch. The bigger problem with Carabello is its pretension. I think this is part of how it has earned its reputation for excellent coffee, which (as noted above) is correct but unrelated to the weird decor, high prices, and hipster vibes. Though they do sell coffee beans, they generally don’t put roast dates on the bags – a totally unacceptable practice for someone who wants to buy good coffee beans, and particularly galling given the prices at Carabello. Worst of all, I recently visited and found a sign that said they don’t have wifi on Saturdays to foster a sense of “community”. Obviously I don’t need to tell you that not having wifi is the cardinal sin of ethanswan.com/coffee_shop_ratings. It’s like choosing to turn off the water and electricity. But worse. I had no choice but to give Carabello a 3.