Tag Archives: ElCafeDe2013

#ElCafeDe2013: The Coffee of Inside Passage Alaska.

While on an Alaskan Cruise this summer we made three stops within the Inside Passage of Alaska. Of course there was going to be some coffee shop exploration at each. Our first stop was in Ketchikan and the coffee shop of choice was Good Coffee Company.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Ketchikan

After a pre-dawn start watching our ship come into port and then exploring the town and having some cruise excursion fun, the basic latte I ordered definitely hit the spot. Note: Good Coffee is cash only.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Ketchikan

I scoped out the cream and sugar stand. Notice the Deadman’s Reach sticker? Foreshadowing for the coffee I’d be trying out later. 🙂

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Ketchikan

The outdoor terrace behind the building was the place to enjoy the coffee. It was fun being in an establishment with a quiet and local feel versus the countless cruise ship owned jewelry and tourist shops that lined the streets.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Ketchikan

It’s a recommended spot being a short walk from the cruise ship docks.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Ketchikan

Further up the Inside Passage and the next day we were in the capital city of Juneau. The first place (shop) we went into off the cruise ship was Heritage Coffee Roasting Company.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Juneau, Heritage Coffee

We were at their downtown location, as they have six locations in and around Juneau. It was a mix of locals and their laptops and tourists charging their phones. All were enjoying freshly roasted coffee from Heritage’s vintage roaster.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Juneau, Heritage Coffee

I enjoyed checking out their logo everywhere and chatting with the friendly baristas.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Juneau, Heritage Coffee

Went more specialty coffee here getting the recommended Almond Joy Latte. I normally would go for a coffee mug, but the paper cup was distinctive with the logo on it. Note: Get the paper cup, it also makes for a great souvenir.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Juneau, Heritage Coffee

At the top of the Inside Passage and another day later we were in the gold rush town of Skagway. We checked out a couple of coffee hot spots, the first being Glacial Smoothies and Espresso in the heart of town, but off to the side from the tourist shops.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Skagway

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Skagway

A warm inside atmosphere awaited us as well as…

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Skagway

…locally brewed coffee. They serve the aforementioned Raven’s Brew Coffee. Raven’s Brew was originally based in Ketchikan, Alaska.

I went with their Deadman’s Reach coffee. The dark roast hit the spot while watching fellow cruise ship patrons and locals come and go. You’ll find a large offering of smoothies naturally as well as sandwiches, muffins, bagels and more. Note: If you’re looking for wi-fi, the only place to reliability find it in this town is the library.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Skagway

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Skagway

While walking along the cruise ship docks in Skagway heading towards the ship, we stopped in at The Caboose On the Dock for another caffeine pick me up.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Skagway

Within the small, train car shaped building I ordered their White Pass Gold coffee. More Alaskan brew, more caffeine, more deliciousness.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Skagway

Checking out the coffee shop and local brew scene within the Inside Passage of Alaska was fun, delicious and helped to keep the motor running in order to enjoy everything Alaska has to offer.

#ElCafeDe2013: The Coffee of Grand Rapids.

Those that know me know I spend a lot of time at coffee shops. I’m usually working while enjoying the coffee and atmosphere at various establishments. On a weekday morning recently I decided to make an enjoyable day of working and enjoying coffee from various places, while at the same time be out on the open road. I got up before the crack of dawn and made the 2+ hour trek over to Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Upon arriving in town at day break, I headed over to my first stop of day Wealthy Street Bakery. I started at a place I knew would serve a great latte. One of their homemade cinnamon rolls sat alongside. The work day was rolling now in style! Checkout my previous post for more on this popular neighborhood bakery.

Wealthy Street Bakery, Grand Rapids, Michigan

After a couple of hours I moved a few blocks down the old-school red bricked Wealthy Street to The Sparrow Coffee Tea & Newstand.

The Sparrows Coffee Tea & Newsstand, Grand Rapids, Michigan

The Sparrows Coffee Tea & Newsstand, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Their name says it all with an expansive offering of coffees, teas, magazines and newspapers along with pastries. The artsy and fun atmosphere inside definitely would help to get the juices flowing as I was going to be in web design mode. To help the cause, I was Looking for something a look stronger at this stop. Their signature “Betemoth”, a shot of espresso deliciousness, was the choice.

The Sparrows Coffee Tea & Newsstand, Grand Rapids, Michigan

The cream and sugar stand at Sparrows caught the eye as well as…

The Sparrows Coffee Tea & Newsstand, Grand Rapids, Michigan

…their outdoor seating area. A great spot this time of year to enjoy a caffeinated beverage and the Autumn leaves of the neighborhood.

The Sparrows Coffee Tea & Newsstand, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Morning became afternoon so I decided to leave the Wealthy Street neighborhood area and head through downtown and across the Grand River to The Bitter End Coffee House.

The Bitter End, coffee, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Upon entering I immediately noticed the old-school art covering the walls of the 100-year-old building. It had the immediate feel of being in a college town as it was filled with students from the nearby Grand Rapids campus of Grand Valley State University. An aspect I don’t come across very often with independent coffee shops is that they are open 24/7. If you have that middle of the night craving in western Michigan, you know where to go now.

The Bitter End, coffee, Grand Rapids, Michigan

I went the specialty coffee route this time, getting one of their signature lattes, the Macaroon Carabella. It definitely hit the spot.

The Bitter End, coffee, Grand Rapids, Michigan

The best was saved for last. I jumped back across the river in the late afternoon into the heart of downtown and came up upon Mad Cap Coffee.

Mad Cap Coffee, Grand Rapids, Michigan

I had been there before, but just to grab a coffee to-go. It was time to enjoy their coffee experience and finish my day of work. I poured over (no pun intended) their pour over offerings and decided on the Luis Reinoso. All the words in its description “delicate, citrus, stone fruit, chocolate” caught the eye. I wandered over to the counter to watch my drink and someone else’s come to life. Can I have them all I said to myself haha.

My coffee arrived in a beaker reminding me of chemistry class back in high school. I appreciated the coffee even more after watching it up close be made.

Mad Cap Coffee, Grand Rapids, Michigan, pour over

Mad Cap’s coffee is roasted on site and great care is taken into making each individual coffee. The award-winning knowledge of the baristas also enhances the coffee experience. The open, modern and minimalistic atmosphere, with people working and engaging in conversation made for a great environment to get what I needed done. Being on a corner and with lots of windows, it was great watching people come-and-go through downtown too.

Mad Cap Coffee, Grand Rapids, Michigan, pour over

What a great day! I got to be out on the open road. I got to experience some coffee shops for the first time and got to know others better. I got a lot of work done while consuming a lot of caffeine, meeting lots of new people along the way.

Another working day like this will be in the cards soon I’m sure. The fun part is who knows where that will be! 🙂

#ElCafeDe2013: The Coffee of Intelligentsia.

On my trip to Chicago this summer, my #ElCafeDe2013 and coffee wanderings took me to two Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea locations within the Windy City.

The first was the Millennium Park coffeebar off East Randolph St.

Intelligentsia Millennium Park, Chicago, Toarco, Jaya, Sulawesi Pour Over

This location is always beaming with activity. I was there at the crack of dawn so lots of people were grabbing drip coffee and pour over’s on their way to work.

Intelligentsia Millennium Park, Chicago, Toarco, Jaya, Sulawesi Pour Over

I hung out amongst the post-industrial decor, enjoying a Toarco Jaya Sulawesi Pour Over after the usual routine of capturing my coffee from every angle imaginable. 🙂

Intelligentsia Millennium Park, Chicago, Toarco, Jaya, Sulawesi Pour Over

Intelligentsia Millennium Park, Chicago, Toarco, Jaya, Sulawesi Pour Over

Intelligentsia Millennium Park, Chicago, Toarco, Jaya, Sulawesi Pour Over

Intelligentsia is a coffee roasting company headquartered in Chicago, with coffee shops also in New York and Los Angeles. It has a cult following and you’ll find it being served and experienced by people everywhere. 🙂

On another early morning while in Chi-town I hit up the Monadnock coffeebar off West Jackson Boulevard within the South Loop.

Intelligentsia Monadnock, Chicago

This location has the look of an Italian espresso bar and is within the Monadnock building built-in 1891.

Intelligentsia Monadnock, Chicago

This location was not quite as busy so I had the chance to converse with the nice and very knowledgeable baristas as I watched my pour over being made.

Intelligentsia Monadnock, Chicago, pour over

Intelligentsia Monadnock, Chicago, La Tortuga, Honduras Pour Over

Watching my coffee come to life, it made me appreciate the La Tortuga Honduras Pour Over even more.

Intelligentsia Monadnock, Chicago, La Tortuga, Honduras Pour Over

Intelligentsia Monadnock, Chicago, La Tortuga, Honduras Pour Over

It was fun checking out multiple Intelligentsia locations while in the city. I hope to get to more the next time I am in town.

Checkout two of the other coffee shops I visited during my most recent Chicago coffee wanderings.

What other coffee shops would you recommend checking out in Chicago?

#ElCafeDe2013: The Local Color Art, Coffee & More of Seattle.

It was a late-summer afternoon in Seattle and we were hanging out in the foodie and market heaven that is Pike Place Market. There was only a short time to explore and of course that included finding a local, non-chain, independent coffee spot.

Local Color Art, Coffee & More, Pike Place Market, Seattle coffee shop

Right along the main stretch of the market at the corner of Pike and Stewart is Local Color Art, Coffee & More.

Local Color Art, Coffee & More, Pike Place Market, Seattle coffee shop

Local Color Art, Coffee & More, Pike Place Market, Seattle coffee shop

Upon entering you’ll not just be in a cafe, but an art gallery as well. A variety of work from local artists hangs on the walls, with a full-time working studio within. Local Color immediately gave off a relaxing atmosphere with locals and tourists inter-mixed. A nice change of pace from the crowded, crammed, touristy feel of the original Starbucks down the street.

Local Color Art, Coffee & More, Pike Place Market, Seattle coffee shop

The cafe includes coffee from Seattle-based Caffé Vita and service from friendly baristas.

Local Color Art, Coffee & More, Pike Place Market, Seattle coffee shop

It was a warmer, sunny day so we went with an iced vanilla latte and mocha which hit the spot! 🙂 Desserts, pastries, beer, wine and music are also among their offerings.

Local Color Art, Coffee & More, Pike Place Market, Seattle coffee shop

Depending on your seat it’s a great place to people watch, checking out the hustle-and-bustle of the market.

Local Color Art, Coffee & More, Pike Place Market, Seattle coffee shop

It was a short, but good time hanging out at Local Color Art, Coffee & More in Seattle. What a great way to dive into the well-known Seattle coffee culture.

What non-chain, independent coffee shops would you recommend in Seattle?

#ElCafeDe2013: The Coffee of Silicon Valley.

Silicon Valley is the heart of the technology world but it’s also got a thriving coffee scene. No matter where you at from San Jose to San Mateo and everywhere in-between, your bound to find one non-Starbucks coffee shop after another. Don’t worry there are plenty of those around too.

On my most recent visit I decided to dive into the java scene, surprise, surprise and three places stuck out.

Blvd Coffee is unassuming from the outside and is tucked away from the main road in Los Gatos, but their coffee and family atmosphere inside more than makes up for it. I had friendly conversation with many of the baristas while grabbing a Naked Coffee w/ Chocolate.

Blvd Coffee, Los Gatos, California, Naked Coffee w/ chocolate

Philz Coffee is a small coffee chain in Silicon Valley and the greater Bay Area. Making a stop at their Palo Alto location, right down the street from Stanford University, I got what I’ve been craving for a long time, the Mint Mojito Iced Coffee. I love coffee and I love mojitos, two great things in one! Don’t worry I did get around to drinking it after capturing several photos from their outdoor patio. It’s a great spot to read the paper, breathe in the fresh morning air and hangout with friends before the day begins.

Mint Mojito Iced Coffee, Philz Coffee, Palo Alto, California

Mint Mojito Iced Coffee, Philz e.Coffee, Palo Alto, California

Mint Mojito Iced Coffee, Philz Coffee, Palo Alto, California

Mint Mojito Iced Coffee, Philz Coffee, Palo Alto, California

Red Rock Coffee Company is right in downtown Mountain View and in the heart of Silicon Valley. You’ll find lots of laptops and technology meetings going on, along with the local, delicious Four Barrel Coffee. I’ll take one of the Four Barrel handcrafted coffees please!

Red Rock Coffee Company, Mountain View, California, Four Barrel handcrafted coffee

It was a great time hanging out in coffee shops amongst all the technology in the valley. I look forward to diving into the scene more soon.

What coffee shops would you recommended visiting in Silicon Valley?