Keeping Up With The Coffeehouses: Valhalla Coffee Company

By Ron Swarner on September 27, 2010


Neighborhood: Sixth Avenue

Address/phone: 3918 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.761.5116

Hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday-Sunday

Standard Cup o' Joe: $2-$2.50

Bean Source: They hand roast their coffee in small batches out of their store.

Crowd: undercaffeinated engineers in the morning, quiet book readers, band members, service industry, fashion designers

Soundtrack: Arcade Fire, The National, Radiohead

WiFi: Yes

Noshing/Sipping: Traditional espresso drinks with a French Press option. They sell six blends by the pound including their popular Ethiopian Harar. Regular, organic and decaf beans range from $11 to $16. They do not sell food.

Bonus: Valhalla presents a bake-off inviting the public to enter original dessert recipes using one or more of the Valhalla beans. The contest judging begins at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 16 inside Sanford & Son Antiques in Tacoma. Drop by Valhalla on Sixth Avenue for an entry form.

Oh, another bonus is that they serve damn delicious coffee ... from TACOMA!

The House:

The rapid growth of Valhalla Coffee Company, which includes shipments overseas, forced A.J. Anderson to relocate his operation from his embedded situation at Mandolin Café to the small storefront on Sixth Avenue. He, along with co-owner Byron T. Betts and head roaster Stephanie Powell think in terms of flavor profiles and uses adjectives like "robust, rich, and acidic" to describe their product. They want people to realize that coffee is not just a cup of black liquid but a complex and important commodity. They would know. Together they bring 31 years of general coffee, espresso and equipment expertise to their business.

The roasting magic can be heard, smelled and seen while lounging on their black couch, one of three small tables or the wooden counter littered with coffee books about coffee. Burlap coffee sacks pile high on the floor and well as drape the painted brown walls as art. Photographer Shawn McManus has a beautiful piece titled Titlow on display, too. A fan spins frantically trying to keep customers cool during the roasting process.

LINK: They've been called vikings

LINK: Byron T. Betts was in the Tacoma Files