I didn’t know there was such a thing as National Coffee Day until Hoda and Kathie Lee were yakking about it on a segment of TODAY. In fact, they were drinking to it, sipping a coffee cocktail made with Coffee of Grace Medium Dark Roast and Cognac Cherry Brandy. This year, National Coffee Day is Sunday, September 29, 2013.
I’m a morning coffee drinker, either enjoying a cappuccino I make at home with our DeLonghi espresso machine or a tall non-fat latte at one of my local coffee hangouts. When I’m on the road, I try to patronize locally owned coffee shops, but do rely on Starbucks when in need of a restroom! Here are five spots for coffee, from Whidbey Island to Halifax, that do a fine job of transforming beans into a good brew and serving it in a cool space.
Zeitgeist Coffee, Seattle
Zeitgeist Coffee is a classic coffee house in the heart of Pioneer Square. I stop in before taking Amtrak Cascades south to Portland or north to Vancouver BC, and it never disappoints. They roast their own (Zeitgeist) beans, have an extensive breakfast and lunch menu, and offer free WiFi. Brick walls, high ceilings and local art make for a cozy combination.
The Wired Monk, Halifax
Although The Wired Monk coffee bistros are mainly in British Columbia, I discovered the Canadian franchise operation while in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Initially drawn in by the quirky name, the coffee is might tasty, too. Serving “bird friendly, fairly traded organic coffee,” you can also enjoy a glass of wine, beer or even a Monk Martini. The breakfast menu includes muffins, bagels and wraps; and for lunch it’s soup, salad and sandwiches.
Blue Star Coffee Roasters, Twisp (Washington)
Blue Star Coffee Roasters is the place to stop for coffee while in Washington’s Methow Valley. The Twisp-based business produces small batch, artisan roasted coffee. Owners Dan Donohue and his wife Meg are passionate about coffee, and were honored as America’s Best Espresso at the 2012 Seattle Coffee Fest. Their roasting plant/coffee bar is located off Highway 20, where they also serve fresh, locally baked pastries.
Useless Bay Coffee Company, Langley, WA
Before the stores and shops in Langley open for the day, many Whidbey Islanders start their mornings at Useless Bay Coffee Company. Des Rock, owner and chief roaster, has assembled a cool team of baristas who take their beans seriously. The cafe has expanded over the years, and is now open seven days a week, serving breakfast and lunch. During warm weather, enjoy outside seating among the lush gardens of this Second Street coffee house.
Mukilteo Coffee Roasters, Langley, WA
One of Whidbey Island’s first coffee roasters is Mukilteo Coffee Roasters, which has been operating since 1983. Owned by Gary Smith and his wife Beth, their tucked-in-the-woods roasterie and cafe is located just outside Langley. This oasis in the forest has become a hub for people, food, art, music and coffee. Enjoy breakfast and lunch in the cafe (indoors or out), take a tour of the roasterie, or attend a concert in their on-site music venue (Gary is a member of the Lost Vuarnets).