God must love us because he gave us the coffee bean.
We Pacific Northwesterners love coffee. After all, Starbucks was founded here in Seattle in 1971. Thanks to our obsession with the delicious brew, there are now 23,000 Starbucks coffeehouses worldwide, with 560 in Washington State! Seattle boasts 142 alone. That is one for every 4,000 Seattle residents. That’s not even close to the most in one city. Seoul, South Korea, has a whopping 2,100! There is no doubt that coffee has evolved to more than a mere beverage, it is a cultural phenomenon. I definitely want (need) my mocha latte pick-me-up every day (sometimes more if I am having a rough day).
I hold Starbucks in very high esteem and it is my go-to coffee of choice. However, I do love to taste test other types when we are out and about on a family adventure. I make sure that I stop into a new place every time we are out (strictly for scientific comparison of taste of course). Sometimes I am sadly disappointed by the quality of a mocha latte, but other times I find a true java delight. You need the perfect combination of great rich coffee, friendly barista, and relaxing ambiance for the maximum effect. Most people have their favorite spot. If you are headed our way and want to have a really good coffee experience, please stop into one of these cafés.
1. Java Reef – Seaside, Oregon (2674 Highway 101): Very whimsical décor with a drive-thru and outdoor seating. The owner and barista is very friendly and polite. The coffee is amazing! For the White coffee’s they roast their own Wabi Sabi White espresso blend, which is made from the finest Costa Rican coffee beans. Watch out, their white coffees can have as much as 3X the caffeine as regular dark roast! Their “Shark Attack” has some serious bite! 4 / 5 beans. Check them out @ https://www.facebook.com/JavaReefCoffee/?ref=page_internal
2. Rainshadow Coffee Roasting Company – Sequim, Washington (157 W Cedar Street): Hand-picked coffees from around the world and roasted right on the premises. Their coffee is truly superb! The views of the Olympic Mountains from the café are spectacular also. 5 / 5 beans. Find them @ http://www.rainshadowcoffee.com/
3. Moonstruck Chocolate Café – Portland, Oregon (6th and Alder Street): Combine my two favorite food groups, coffee and chocolate, and you have a winner! Moonstruck chocolates are simply amazing. When they blend their gourmet home-made chocolate into their rich coffee, they make a mocha latte of sheer perfection. I would drive all the way from Seattle to Portland for one (I just might…). 5 / 5 beans. Check them out @ http://www.moonstruckchocolate.com/category/cafes
4. ChocMo – Poulsbo, Washington (19880 7th Ave NE): Founded by three high school seniors from Bainbridge as their senior project, it has taken off and surpassed their wildest dreams. The three friends started from making chocolate truffles in their mom’s kitchen to a successful gourmet café. Their mocha lattes (as well as all of their fine chocolate concoctions) are worth the drive. 5 / 5 beans. Be tempted @ http://www.chocmo.com.
5. Café Allegro – Seattle, Washington (4214 University Way NE): It is possibly the oldest espresso shop in Seattle, believe it or not older than Starbucks! The café is hidden in a small alley off of the main road, so it can be difficult to find. But it is worth the extra effort. The shop boasts good coffee in a historic setting next to the University of Washington, very hipster. 4 / 5 beans. Locate them @ http://seattleallegro.com/
Let us know your favorite coffee shop. I am always looking for a good cup of Joe when we travel. Cheers!