Day 13: On Coffee


Living in the Pacific Northwest there are a couple things, which stand true about this sublime region.  

  1. It rains or is overcast quite a bit.
  2. When it's sunny, everyone is out in it.
  3. Vitamin D deficiency is prominent as a result.
  4. Coffee is a way of life.
  5. Good coffee is a way of life.

Once while visiting in Burlington, Vermont, I believe I tasted the worst coffee ever.  Ben and I were heading to the airport to come back to Washington.  His punctuality got us there about two hours early.  Have you ever been to Burlington, VT airport?  There is no need to arrive two hours early.  After arriving and him seeing the look on my face communicating, "we didn't even get any coffee yet."  We left.

I was imagining some coffee joint, but when we pulled into Dunkin Donuts I wondered what he was doing.  Did he want a doughnut?  

"What are we doing here?" I asked.

"You wanted coffee?" he replied.

There are moments worth fighting for and had I known what the taste of that coffee would be like, I would have pulled out the guns.  I conceded out of love of my husband and timeliness.  We entered in and ordered two coffees.  I was pouting inside, but it was pretty evident on the outside.  It became an all out internal temper tantrum when I saw the "cream" they offered.  

You know when you're getting your tires rotated or oil changed and they offer coffee.  Rarely is there real cream.  It's that sad, sad excuse for cream called powder creamer (by the way--don't use that as a hospitality centerpiece ever).  Well, my friends, I'm sorry to report on that fateful day in Dunkin' Donuts offered gas station powder creamer.  

I took a drink of the coffee alone and it tasted like sour nastiness.  I added the powdered cream (I know--I was desperate) and it tasted like pond scum sour nastiness.  Needless to say, the cup of coffee couldn't be stomached and met it's destiny...the garbage can.

I gave Dunkin Donuts coffee another try a couple years later, because I'm sensible enough to give food second chances.  I'm willing to admit defeat and humble myself to a good cup of coffee, especially when I hear the praises of DD coffee.  I even did a french press of it.  Result: still gross.  

So why am I telling you that story?  

Living in Western Washington typically means a bit of snobbery on the coffee front.  It's not that we are trying to be snobby, it's just that we know what good coffee can taste like and when a whole lot of the nation is raving about DD coffee, it makes one wonder.  Here are some good cups of coffee that I can remember in recent memory:

  1. I am an Americano gal.  I take it with a splash of HWC (heavy whipping cream).  I can drink it black too.  
  2. Onyx Coffee Bar in Bellingham has some of the finest coffee around.  They only serve pour over coffee there, no frills style.  This means no cream or sugar.  You drink it black.  The coffee is ethereal though as you pull out all sorts of flavors.  After getting my first cup there I realized how much wine, chocolate & coffee are interrelated.  How soil, climate, & region effect the bean.  It's truly amazing, but also expensive.  
  3. Bellingham Bay Coffee Roasters is a great little local roaster company.  They recently opened a coffee truck where you can text in your order for pick up.  I like the taste of their americano, because it's not that burnt taste many are used to.  They take pride in their craftsmanship by paying attention to roasting detail.  Their beans are sold locally and other restaurants use their beans for coffee.  
  4. Stumptown: yes, I said it, but they make a good cup of coffee.  It has a nice smooth & distinct taste.  Not overpowering or relying on over roasting, but precision.  I've ordered a mocha (short 8 oz) and loved it, because they use cocoa powder without overdosing it with sticky sweet chocolate overload.  
  5. Starbucks: I'm giving Starbucks a mention, because I refuse to be "that" girl.  A hipster proclaiming to be too elite for Starbucks.  Like I mentioned, Starbucks wasn't born to be the coffee elite; rather, to create an experience.  That said, here's what I like about the place: 1. You can use an app on the phone 2. You know what you're going to get (they have a formula).  3. They have amazing customer service & I never feel like I'm not "cool enough" when I order there.  4. They're everywhere, so I don't have to rely on Dunkin Donuts.  
  6. Bellingham coffee shops I enjoy: Avelinos, Cafe Adagio, Rustic Coffee Bar

Okay, so what is your favorite way to drink coffee?  What is your favorite roast?  What are some of your favorite places?