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Posts made in: 'Keeping Up With The Coffeehouses' (22) Currently Viewing: 11 - 20 of 22

January 21, 2011 at 12:28pm

Keeping Up With The Coffeehouses: C & D Gourmet Coffee Company

C&D Gourmet Coffee: Co-owner Charles Lampard prepares a triple mocha (light on the syrup) for a customer.


Neighborhood:  The heart of Olympia

Address/phone:  203A Fourth Ave., Olympia, 360.943.1434

Hours:  8 a.m. to 6: 00 p.m. Monday through Friday

Standard Cup o' Joe:  $2

Bean Source:  Batdorf & Bronson

Crowd:  Middle class professionals and some Evergreen State College students with a sprinkling of seniors.

Soundtrack:  Jazz, easy listening

Wifi:  Absolutely

Noshing/Sipping:  Traditional espresso drinks with made-on-the-premises donuts and cookies.  Also, soft drinks and sandwiches are available.

Bonus:  Very comfortable seating to enjoy one's brew and newspaper.  Owners Charles Lampard and Travis Shetler provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

C & D Gourmet Coffee:  Lampard and Shelter have been in business for the past 18 months, and they say business has been good.  They've clearly taken the time and effort to learn market demographics and stay on top of how to serve the best mochas.  What's more, they take the time to get to know their customers.

Outside on Fourth Avenue, the life of Olympia moves by.

LINK: More local coffee houses

January 14, 2011 at 6:41am

Keeping Up With The Coffeehouses: Milltown Caffe

Nestled in downtown Milton, Milltown Caffe offers good food and great coffees and espresso.


Neighborhood:  Downtown Milton

Address/phone:  2416 Milton Way, Milton, 253.943.5248

Hours: 5:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday; 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Saturday; 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Sunday

Standard Cup of Brew: $2

Bean Source: The omnipresent Dillanos Coffee and its incomparable taste

Crowd: Middle age to seniors, some high schoolers, soccer moms and Dads

WiFi:  You have to ask?

Noshing/Sipping:  Breakfast and lunch are always available.  The most popular mocha is called "the Snakebite," a mixture of white chocolate, white coffee and coconut.  Yikes!  There is also a drive-thru for those on the run.

Bonus:  Milltown Caffe offers a warm and friendly ambiance that clearly has a small town feel to it.  The lighting, the wooden tables and the friendly service are nice touches. 

LINK: More local coffee houses

October 6, 2010 at 6:19am

Keeping Up With The Coffeehouses: Metropolitan Market's Espresso Bar


Neighborhood: Proctor District

Address/phone: 2420 N. Proctor St., Tacoma/253.761.3663

Website: Click here

Hours: 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday

Standard Cup o' Joe: $1.45-$1.85

Bean Source: They roast their own blend espresso in small batches from 100 percent Arabica beans. The espresso is a real treat - rich and a bit nutty, thick but not so roasted as to make you feel like the beans have been burned (like, ahem, the coffees served by a certain national chain we know).

Crowd: Undercaffeinated shoppers lured in by creative specials on the espresso bar's blackboards, jazz trumpeters, neighborhood walkers and those same two guys every morning on the patio.

Soundtrack: The sweet sound of top-shelf wine crossing the barcode scanner, kids scavenging the candy bins, expensive jewelry rattling in the artisan cheese section and the occasional "Why it's Grey Poupon."

WiFi: Nope

Noshing/Sipping: You may tip or sip traditional espresso drinks, Italian sodas, hot or cold chai, 16 teas and fruit smoothies, or nosh on Gelatiamo Gelato out of downtown Seattle, wrapped cookies by Alternative Baking Company, four different kinds of biscotti, and oh lord the pastries.

Bonus: Morgan, Jenny and the other barista's have listed their favorite espresso drinks for the fall on the espresso bar's blackboard, complete with cute ghost drawings. Pumpkin Cream white chocolate mochas with pumpkin syrup, Citrus Ghost white chocolate mocha with Orange and vanilla syrup, The Muffin Man's Gingerbread Latte and many more. They also serve drinking chocolate - a 2-ounce steamed milk with bittersweet chocolate - that's kickass.

Oh, they also have a special parking spot in front of the espresso bar's side entrance for expecting mothers.

The House:

It's freakin' minuscule. It's smaller than a Starbucks bathroom. Customers sitting at the two tiny rectangular high-top tables could easily get slapped upside the head by a loaf of French bread. It's an espresso bar in the strictest sense. But it's also much, much more. Factor in relatively ambitious drink specials, some congenial barista banter, 11 tables outside on the patio and a design so cheerful it could cure seasonal affective disorder, and you have the perfect spot to grab a quick cup of delicious coffee and a croissant.

September 27, 2010 at 1:22pm

Keeping Up With The Coffeehouses: Valhalla Coffee Company


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

September 21, 2010 at 9:11am

Keeping Up With The Coffeehouses: Espresso Yourself Neighborhood Coffee House & Deli


Neighborhood: Fircrest

Address/phone: 1009 Regents Blvd., 253.564.3066

Hours: 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday

Standard Cup o' Joe: $1.24-$2.16

Bean Source: "We roast our own beans daily," says the morning baristas.

Crowd: Fircrest locals, dads in North Face apparel, and seniors providing a battle ground for White Shoulders by Evyan and Aviance Night Musk by Prince Matchabelli to face off.

Soundtrack: Often too low to hear over the crowd, but I have caught "Hey There Delilah" by Plain White T's, Taylor Swift's "Love Story" and "My Heart Is The Worst Kind of Weapon" by Fall Out Boy.

WiFi: Yes

Noshing/Sipping: Bakery goods, breakfast sandwiches, 10 sandwiches (including three different turkey pairings, chicken salad, shrimp croissant), soups, salads, and specials. Most items are made in-house. The sandwiches and soups are tasty. They offer all the standard espresso drinks, plus ice cream shakes and fruit smoothies.

Bonus: Their in-house made buttery scones are 99 cents during the Puyallup Fair. They've recently added a hummus plate. They sport a drive-thru window, but it's a tight squeeze in a small parking lot. Morning sun reaches the front outdoor deck.

The House:

As any of the loyal regulars will tell you, Espresso Yourself makes a perfect home away from home. Located off the turnabout on Regents Boulevard this cozy spot is the perfect refuge from the cold community center, overcrowded retirement community dining hall, and undercaffeinated library rooms. For a chunk of the Fircrest population, it provides a spot to show off pictures of the grandchildren and catch up with friends. Over the summer, the outside deck was a sea of North Face warm-up jackets worn by men discussing outdoor adventures and the stock market.

Inside, the room resembles an apartment complex community room, but with cool antique coffee signs and accessories. Seven low tables and three hightops give just enough room to squeeze by, providing an opportunity to catch a glimpse of Marge's 7-year-old grandson, Mikey.

September 20, 2010 at 9:25am

Keeping Up With The Coffeehouses: Latte Art Competition


Every coffee snob has his favorite barista; it's sort of like rooting for your home state football team.

Wait. Bad example since our home state teams sucked this weekend.

Anyway - how do you determine who's actually the best barista? The answer is the Latte Art Competition tonight at Beyond the Bridge Café. South Sound baristas will battle it out - pouring a perfect espresso topped by a smooth, airy layer of foamy crema art - in front of judges Angie Hill of Caffe D'arte, Pat Brown of Satellite Coffee, A.J. Anderson of Valhalla Coffee Company and Bryan Reynolds of Puyallup Forza.

Drop by the new coffeehouse on Sixth Avenue tonight and check out the crema of the crop.

Latte Art Competition

Monday, Sept. 20, 7 p.m., no cover
Beyond the Bridge Café
2717 Sixth Ave., Tacoma

September 14, 2010 at 7:53am

Keeping Up With The Coffeehouses: Beyond the Bridge Cafe


Neighborhood: Sixth Avenue Business District

Address/phone: 2717 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.572.9199

Website: Click here

Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday

Noshing/Sipping: Old-school chicken noodle and vegan black bean with zucchini soups are made in-house and served with a roll. More soups will be offered soon. All for less than $5.50, eight different bagel sandwiches are ramped up with stellar in-house made honey french or red pepper sauce, pesto, cranberry and spiced marinara. Garlic, parmesan, jalapeno cheddar and plain bagels are from Puyallup’s Bagel Boyz. Various sweet pastries are currently provided by Corina Bakery. BBC owners have a goal to be making and baking their own muffins, scones, granola and chocolate chip cookies within two weeks. They’ll offer some gluten-free items at that point.

Not after a coffee, latte, mocha, cappuccino or other coffee bean based beverage? Grab a fresh fruit smoothie, hot cocoa, flavored milk steamers, hot or iced tea, chai, or signature drink – the Sunrise Sunset made from black tea with orange juice and strawberry and raspberry.

Newly added, the BBC serves beer and wine! As of Sept. 13, South American malbec and chardonnay wines are from Salsa de Tango and beers are bottled Dead Guy Rogue, Fat Tire and Alaskan Amber. The beer selection will change when the beer taps are hooked up and it becomes draft city.

Standard Cup o' Joe: 12-ounce cup for $1.70 plus tax

Bean Source: Award winning Caffe D’arte Coffee

Crowd: It varies wildly depending on what’s going on.

Soundtrack: Smart thoughtful lyrics and mellow grooves by Ray Lamontagne, Ryan Adams, Martin Sexton, Ben Harper, Joe Purdy and the like.

WiFi: You know it.

Bonus Points: Since moving their café from Sumner to Tacoma this summer, owners Ben and Trish Rubke are intent on creating a “haven for art, music, free expression, and good coffee.” The BBC will crank up the entertainment next week with grand opening fun: Monday, Sept. 20 Latte Art Competition at 7 p.m. featuring judges Angie Hill of Caffe D’arte, Pat Brown of Satellite Coffee, A.J. Anderson of Valhalla Coffee Company, and Bryan Reynolds of Puyallup Forza; Tuesday, Sept. 21 Kindermusik lessons at 10:30 a.m.; Wednesday, Sept. 22 Caffe D’arte Cupping at 7 p.m.; Thursday, Sept. 23 Unveiling of the Taps at 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, Sept. 24-25 The Phoenix show from 8-10 p.m. presenting an underworld of music and dance with Vicci Martinez as the musical guest.

The House:
It’s a love-in. Staff is warm, welcoming and glad you’re there. No snobby espresso shot pullers here. Dark eggplanty purple painted walls run against cream ones, light from a high up window shines in on the coffee counter as a cheerful barista pours foam into a swirled masterpiece atop a latte. An eclectic feel is furthered by mismatched tables and chairs scattered throughout the room; an area at the front windows is reserved for musicians, Friday night open mic and other performances.

September 5, 2010 at 9:00am

Keeping Up With The Coffeehouses: Clancy's Coffee


Neighborhood: Downtown, Tacoma

Address/phone: 1911 Pacific Ave., 253.572.4263

Hours: 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday, open till 9 p.m. Third Thursday

Noshing/Sipping: Bagged Tim's Cascade potato chips, pre-made cold pasta and green salads, saran wrapped breakfast and lunch sandwiches, various sweets and pastries, fruit cups, milkshakes, smoothies, and bagels and breakfast breads from Puyallup's Bagel Boyz. Bottled Snapple, Perrier, Minute Maid juices, canned tall-boy Arizona Teas and energy drinks, and the like are housed in a grab-it-yourself cooler. Get your morning bean grind on with mocha, latte, cappuccino, and their friends. Soaring Spirit Teas of Enumclaw provide the non-bean hot pick-me up.

Standard Cup o' Joe: $1.25 for 12-ounce drip

Bean Source: Caffe D'arte Coffee

Crowd: Students with laptops and shoulder bags, museum patrons, suits from the courthouse, guys in ties from local architectural firm.

Soundtrack: Barista John Laurenzo's iPod has cool sounds from David Bazan (Pedro the Lion). I'm betting there's some Franz Ferdinand, Killers, Last Shadow Puppets, Kaiser Chiefs and Kings of Leon.

Bonus Points: Great big windows provide tons of natural light while being just slightly too high to look out (or in from the street) and so Clancy's doesn't have the fishbowl feel.

WiFi: Yes! And plenty of power plug-in options.

The House:

Sister coffee shop to an Enumclaw location, Tacoma's Clancy's Coffee opened the end of July between the Washington State History Museum and Union Station on Pacific Avenue. Soaring ceilings and just as high windows are impressive. So is how very, very clean it is. Dare I say, Clancy's still has that new business smell of energetic, staff just waiting to wait on you. Square high top tables and a long buddy bar with power underneath for electronics plug-in, two black leather-looking couches and a padded two-person bench comprise the seating options. Blown glass works from Hilltop Artists in Residence are tastefully displayed.

September 2, 2010 at 12:18pm



Neighborhood: University Place

Address/Phone: 4828 Bridgeport Way W., 253.564.9112

Website: Click here

Hours: 4:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. Sunday

Noshing/Sipping: In a glass display case, sandwiches, salads, breakfast sandwiches, yogurt and baked goods await your pressed nose. The sandwiches and salads are straight out of the Europa Bistro kitchen. My favorite, the Al Capone with proscuito, mozzarella, artichoke heart, basil, olive oil on sliced Como bread, bursts with flavor. Asked for it grilled. It's to kill for. I believe a full stick of butter went into the making of the bacon breakfast sandwich. Schwartz Bros. Bakery out of Seattle supplies the pastries, including bagged bagels.

Espresso is delicious. Their creamy, Mocha Italia tastes chocolaty but never sickly sweet, and the cappuccinos and lattes are rich and full flavored. The Venetian Latte with its brown sugar sends me to heaven without the crash. They also serve juices, sodas, tea and wine. Yup, wine.

Standard Cup o' Joe: $1.60-$2.10

Bean Source: Signature bean blend from Dillano's Coffee Roasters in Sumner

Crowd: I think it's the world headquarters for the Mother/Daughter Beauty Pageant. Seriously, at least in the morning, moms and their 20-something daughters have the full attention of the neighboring Precision Tune employees, that guy who's always there with his laptop, guys just back from a run and, surprisingly, the two elderly women knitting in front of the fireplace, which isn't turned on yet.

Soundtrack: Sometimes there's music in the morning, but it's too low to hear over the people chatting.

WiFi: Yes

Bonus Points: Choose glass pours and bottles of Novelty Hill-Januik, Stina's and Woodhouse Family Cellars off the wine board in the back. Also, Forza is giving away a scooter. Fill out the slip of paper before Sept. 15, then cross your fingers. You can enter once a day.

The House:

Forza, in Italian, signifies "Strength." You'll need every bit of your strength trying to pull into this Forza between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. on weekdays. The traffic stacks up in front of the parking lot in which is already filled with cars waiting for a tune-up. Plus, the cars idling in the drive-thru line overflow out onto Cirque Drive West. It's mayhem! Inside, during this hour, the baristas play bumper cars with their bodies.

The other hours of the day, this Forza - part of a local franchise founded by Brad Carpenter - has a mellower vibe. Golden hues and dark woodsdominate the long, narrow space. It's on the small side compared to the other Forza locations.

My guess if I hurled a Schwartz Bros. bagel at one of the barista's heads, I'd still receive a smile. Forza Coffee Company has received awards for its customer service. At this location, the staff has their sights on the next award.

August 31, 2010 at 7:21am


Caffe Dei sits on Sixth Avenue in the same building as Gateway to India.


Neighborhood: Sixth Avenue, Tacoma

Address/phone: 2607 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.572.2550

Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

Noshing/Sipping: Vegans, rejoice! Finally, a coffee joint for the fan of Tofurky and baked potato loaf in all of us. Shuanna Holt and Shane Siegfried's Caffe Dei is a combination espresso bar/cafe/neighborhood hang that offers breakfast sandwiches, bagels and spreads, soups, and sandwiches - some vegetarian, some vegan, some gluten-free and all of them are super-delicious - including a killer grilled cheese (cheddar and pepperjack) on baked potato bread. They carry the Mighty-O organic donut out of Seattle in French toast, lemon poppyseed, chocolate cake, blueberry and glazed.

They also happen to makes some of the best espresso drinks around - with healthy ingredients in interesting combinations, then saddled with funny names such as Sasquatch (when Americano meets cappuccino), Arancione Moka (espresso, dark Dutch chocolate, steamed sweetened condensed milk and orange zest) and Abominus (four espresso shots over sweetened condensed milk). Thai coffee, Vietnamese coffee, exotic teas, steeped drinks that includes chrysanthemum flavors, root beer and Izze drinks don the menu board, too.

Standard Cup o' Joe: $1.25-$2

Bean Source: True North Coffee (Seattle) AND Ipsut Creek Roasters (Tacoma) - try them both or combine them, maybe like a waterfall shot drink. Oh, nice.

Crowd: Neighborhood friends, UPS students, writers, wandering gypsies

Soundtrack: The Cardigans, PJ Harvey, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

WiFi: Yes

Bonus Points: Um, Vegan! Plus aromatic spices meet espresso, all sandwiches come with Kettle chips, draw curtain in front of couch for making out, local art (this month Ann Kendall), Macrina bakery goods (delicious!), reading material, jewelry, and the owners are just cool.

The House:

Whatever mood you're in (and coffee drinkers tend to be a moody lot), odds are you'll feel comfortable at Café Dei. Light or dark. Indoors or out. Manic or depressive. Take your pick and you'll be fine.

Out front underneath the tree, there's minimal seating for watching the theater that is Sixth Avenue. Inside, it's deep, sober with concrete floors and gray walls. Up front by the makeout couch, the large windows allow ample light for focused study or a leisurely reading of the Weekly Volcano, while the back darkens up a bit, perfect for overexposing slide film or contemplative hangover recovery. Wooden tables and chairs dot the large space with modern light fixtures above. Huge speakers give hope.

The joint also receives high marks for opening on Sundays.

No animals were harmed or eaten in the writing of this article.

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