Weekly Volcano Blogs: Served blog

Posts made in: 'Keeping Up With The Coffeehouses' (8) Currently Viewing: 1 - 8 of 8

November 11, 2014 at 10:55am

Eat This Now: Mountain Goat Salad

True North Coffee House in downtown Tacoma serves a Mountain Goat Salad made by Molly's Grown To Eat in Seattle. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

There's a new coffee house in downtown Tacoma that goes by the name True North Coffee House. Having opened last month off 11th Street on Broadway, the little joint offers a cozy space to sip coffee concoctions created with roasted beans from Olympia Coffee Roasting Company, plus sammies and salads from Molly's Grown To Eat - a wholesale space based in Seattle specializing in "grown to eat" fresh and organic products.

True North only thinks, and sells, Western Washington goods - even their syrups are local, save for the vanilla used in their vanilla syrup, which is from Madagascar.

My Eat This Now recommendation is True North's Mountain Goat Salad. Though all meals are prepared and packaged by Molly's, everything is über fresh and beautiful. The Mountain Goat is a savory salad featuring loads of organic quinoa and spinach topped with goat cheese crumbles, tart dried cranberries, aromatic green onion, sliced almonds with a side of super tasty mustard thyme vinaigrette. POW! It's healthy, fulfilling and tasty. A solid lunchtime option, whether eaten in or taken out.

True North's charming ambiance and intimate space invites conversation over coffee or enjoying open mic night, which occurs every Saturday afternoon.

TRUE NORTH COFFEE HOUSE, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 1127 Broadway, Tacoma, 253.353.7322

October 20, 2014 at 9:47am

Served Blog Banner Girl: Q&A with Rachele Piety of Valhalla Coffee Co.

Rachele Piety has a mocha with your name on it at Valhalla Coffee Co. at 3918 Sixth Ave. in Tacoma. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Every week we swap out the Served banner art above, introducing you to the people who serve food and drinks in the South Sound. This week, meet Rachele Piety.

Server Banner Girl, Oct. 20-26, 2014

Rachele Piety

The South Sound is teeming with baristas: tattooed, spike-haired baristas; convenience-store baristas; baristas entombed in drive-up booths; barely breathing baristas. But once in a while you come across someone who just understands the art of making espresso, and Rachele Piety has clearly bean there and done that. She patiently extracts her wicked brew from Valhalla Coffee Company's espresso machine, but that's after giving you a shout out as you walk in the door. Piety has had a handful of jobs the last 10 years - including Big Foot Java where she worked evenings for about 5 years. "I was well known by my regulars as 'the chick with dreads'," she says. Piety has been a "barista" for eight years, but she became a "real" barista two years ago when she met A.J. Anderson, owner of Valhalla in Tacoma. "A.J. taught me everything I know. I learned quickly to dispose of my old fast-paced, drive-through barista habits and replace them with knowledge of craft coffee." When she's not pulling shots or managing Valhalla's retail side, she's crafting, baking, gardening, living green and playing with her almost 4-year-old daughter, Ivie.

Why do you serve?

"I serve for the smiles. I have always been a people person, and love that I can be myself at Valhalla. I am here to caffeinate the community!" 

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?

"There are a lot of great servers in the South Sound. Definitely my mom, Robbin Piety, she is an excellent server and one of the hardest workers I know. Being raised by a waitress, I was taught at an early age what a server should and shouldn't do. Jil at Marlene's Market and Deli is such a crowd pleaser. Her witty humor, excessive tie-dyed shirts, and knowledge of health food are astonishing. That woman is contagious and has the biggest heart.  Anyone who can handle a crowd with a smile, and show they are working to better the customer's experience through their product is a good server in my eyes."

What are you most proud to serve?

"I am proud of everything we put out at Valhalla. Our staff goes above and beyond to produce quality, and nothing but that. A.J. runs a tight ship, and that shows through our product and consistency. Seeing a customer light up over the latte art in their cup is absolutely gratifying. I'm also proud of our mochas. We use a semi-sweet chocolate made by Trop's Chocolates in Gig Harbor, and it pairs so well with our Espresso Blend. When someone comes in baffled by the simplicity of our menu: I always recommend the mocha."

What's your current drink of choice?

"My drink is dependent on my mood and the weather. I could drink pour overs of the Ethiopian Harrar all day long at work. Sometimes, I drink a quad shot vanilla Americano, but sometimes I just want a honey latte. At home it's mostly Rainier beer. I have been on a green smoothie kick, though."

Favorite movie?

"My favorite movie is Almost Famous. Everything seventies, all the time!"

What don't you serve?

"We do not serve anything ‘trendy, or fluffy.'  We serve traditional Northwest style drinks. Everything is done by the cup, and is handcrafted.  If you're looking for that blended fluff - you're gonna have to travel elsewhere."

What's on your radar at Valhalla Coffee Co.?

"Since I started with Valhalla we have only progressed. We are gaining new customers daily, and even shipping pounds across the country weekly. Winning ("Best Coffee" in the Weekly Volcano's 2014) Best of Tacoma was a great mark for us and we plan to hold the crown for the years to follow. As a company, and for myself, the answer is growth. We will continue to climb uphill and are ready for a busy holiday season. Save Tacoma, drink Valhalla Coffee."

LINK: Meet other South Sound servers

September 22, 2014 at 10:14am

Served Blog Banner Boy: Q&A with barista Seth Roth of Hop Coffee

Singer-songwriter Seth Roth serves espresso drinks at Hop Coffee inside the Harmon Tap Room in Tacoma. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Every week we swap out the Served banner art above, introducing you to the people who serve food and drinks in the South Sound. This week, meet Seth Roth.

Server Banner Boy, Sept. 22-28, 2014

Seth Roth

Seth Roth has been singing since the age of 5. The Tacoma singer-songwriter grew up on Steve Perry and Lou Gramm, but has one solid foot in the Bob Dylan and Neil Young camp. Roth has been serving coffee at Harmon's Hop Coffee since the day it opened inside the Harmon Tap Room in Tacoma's Stadium District. Hop Coffee combines beans from Bluebeard Coffee Roasters with sweetened coffee syrups developed by Melina Eshinski, pastry chef for Harmon Brewing Co. Drop by Hop Coffee and have a cup. Be sure to ask Roth about his 8 p.m. show at Cork! A Wine Bar Sept. 27.

Why do you serve?

"Because I like interaction with people. I am a people person. I like to be able to provide a genuine experience for any person that comes into an establishment that I am a part of."

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?

"Amy Hiibel from Bluebeard Coffee Roasters. She is just amazing at what she does."

What are you most proud to serve?

"I am most proud to serve a cappuccino."

What's your current drink of choice?

"An Old Fashioned - I'm keeping it classy."

Favorite movie?

"That's such a hard question. ... Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock."

What don't you serve?


What's on your radar at Hop Coffee?

"The biggest thing right now is our Amber Harvest latte. It's a great mix of the Harmon's Amber Expedition beer and our pumpkin spice flavor. And it will be a great drink for the quickly approaching fall."

LINK: Meet other South Sound servers

August 19, 2014 at 2:15pm

Cafe and music venue Obsidian to replace Jezebels in Olympia

Nathan Weaver, left, and Chris Beug are turning the old Jezebels into Obsidian, a cafe and music venue in downtown Olympia. Courtesy photo

A few weeks ago, Jezebels, a club in downtown Olympia, closed its doors. Now, as demolition takes place, the rumor mill is churning about what's going on behind those same doors. Is it a concert venue? A cafe?  A bar?

We caught up with new owners and seasoned musicians Nathan Weaver and Chris Beug about their vision for Obsidian, and how that includes all of the above.

WEEKLY VOLCANO: First, why the name Obsidian?

TEAM OBSIDIAN: Obsidian is a black crystal formed from fast cooling volcanic lava. It is essentially volcanic glass. We chose the name because of the healing and purifying properties associated with the stone. Many people believe that obsidian absorbs negative energy.  Beyond that, it is simply a beautiful word.

VOLCANO: How did this opportunity arise?

OBSIDIAN: We've been planning on opening a venue in downtown Olympia for many years. A little over a year ago we began working in earnest to find the right property. The location we chose has a perfect layout for a concert hall-cafe and lounge and we couldn't be happier with how the design of the space is progressing.

VOLCANO: What is your plan for Obsidian?

OBSIDIAN: Our goal has always been to join in the longstanding Olympia tradition of supporting underground music and art while simultaneously providing a safe space for our community. During daytime hours, Obsidian will be a cafe and coffee house. We'll offer a full menu with local, organic and gluten-free options that will include waffles, sandwiches, salads and small plates. The cafe will also feature Stumptown coffee, traditional espresso drinks, Nitro Toddy and a selection of handcrafted tea blends. We'll also carry locally sourced baked goods delivered daily from Left Bank, Blue Heron and Bearded Lady bakeries.

After dark, the lounge will offer a selection of craft cocktails, local craft beer, hard cider and wine while providing unique ethereal ambience.

Obsidian's main focus will be booking live performances of all varieties. The concert hall will be well equipped with a proper stage, powerful PA system, lighting rig and sound engineer. Events will be a combination of all ages and 21+.

VOLCANO: So the space will be divided in half - the front will be a café and coffee shop and the back will be the show space?

OBSIDIAN: Yes. We have gutted every inch of the previous build-out and are completely redesigning the venue. The aesthetic of Obsidian will be an amalgamation of the building's existing industrial architecture and organic elements such as cedar and natural fibers. We hope to create a warm, creative and inspiring space.

VOLCANO: When is your first show?

Obsidian: We're putting together a grand opening for the fall arts walk. We are currently available for booking requests October through December. Obsidian will book local and established national acts regularly and will host DJs every Friday night. We are launching an online event calendar that will be updated weekly.  

VOLCANO: What do you feel sets you apart from other venues in town?

OBSIDIAN: We have both had the chance to perform in some of the best and worst venues in the world. We're taking what we've learned about what works and what doesn't and are applying it to Olympia. I don't think anyone else is doing this.

VOLCANO: Anything else you feel compelled to say?

OBSIDIAN:Olympia has long been known as a hub of Pacific Northwest culture, particularly in the realm of music. We both feel extremely grateful for this opportunity to contribute to such a rich history.   

Opening is slated for Oct 3. A website will launch soon. In the meantime, visit https://www.facebook.com/obsidianolympia. For booking inquiries, go to booking@obsidianolympia.com. To send them a virtual hug, go to obsidianolympia@gmail.com.

OBSIDIAN, opening Oct. 3, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., all ages until 11 p.m., 414 Fourth Ave. SE, Olympia,  

July 21, 2014 at 8:52am

Served Blog Banner Girl: Q&A with Amy Hiibel of Bluebeard Coffee Roasters

Amy Hiibel serves espresso at Bluebeard Coffee Roasters, which was named Best Coffee in the 2012 and 2013 Best of Tacoma issues. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Every week we swap out the Served banner art above, introducing you to the people who serve food and drinks in the South Sound. This week, meet Amy Hiibel.

Server Banner Girl, July 21-27, 2014

Amy Hiibel

The person behind the coffee shop counter is a kind-of saint, what with all those grouchy morning people in need of caffeine (never me, of course). The Bluebeard Coffee Roasters baristas are always ready with your morning or afternoon brew, and there's no friendlier face than Amy Hiibel. Voted Best Barista in the Weekly Volcano's 2013 Best of Tacoma issue, Hiibel there serving up your latté or red-eye with a smile - even if you are a little grumpy in the AM.

Why do you serve?

"I honestly love being a part of the community. Getting to see so many people from so many different social circles and backgrounds each day makes me feel like I am contributing to the Tacoma community I love so much. I tried for years to do a desk job, and it was just never fulfilling for me. I came back to coffee about four years ago, and it was the best life choice I could have made."

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?

"There are so many wonderful people in the service industry, it's hard to pick just one. However I do love seeing Greg Rodriquez whenever he is bartending at Top of Tacoma. He was my first bartender at Magoo's before I even moved to Tacoma. He is such a genuinely sweet and caring human, it's always a pleasure to see him and hear him laugh as he's pouring beers and drinks."

What are you most proud to serve?

"I don't drink milk, but I do love serving someone a latte and having them exclaim over the art on top of their beverage. It's pretty adorable to have people whipping out their phones to take documentation of what they are about to put in their mouth. It's a simple act, but it can make someone's whole day."

What is your current drink of choice?

"Depends on what sort of beverage we are talking about. For caffeinated purposes, I will always pick a chemex. It's my favorite method of brewing, and there is something satisfying about making one for yourself. If we're talking an adult beverages, forever a bourbon neat and cold IPA. Or Rainier. I like to keep it classic."

What is your favorite movie?

"I am a glutton for eighties action movies. I think I've tortured my neighbors with sounds of explosions entirely too much, especially Bruce Willis. I mean, c'mon. Die Hard is the best classic holiday movie."

What don't you serve?

"White chocolate. Or white coffee. It's not happening."

What's on your radar at Bluebeard Coffee?

"It's always exciting to see a new line up of coffee as the seasons change. For instance, right now we have a Costa Rican, Las Lajas. It's amazing. Think serious strawberries. I want to drink it forever."

LINK: Meet other South Sound servers

July 17, 2014 at 10:40am

Harmon Brewing to open Hop Coffee during its Progressive Party July 26

Nikki Johnson will be pouring Hop Coffee and other coffee drinks at the Harmon Tap Room. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Coffee-infused stouts are fairly common in the craft beer industry, especially in imperial stouts. It makes perfect sense to match roasted coffee with roasted malt.

Harmon Brewing Company has taken the coffee-beer combination in a different direction with its Hop Coffee - a coffee roast accented with its beer. Made with Bluebeard Coffee beans, Hop Coffee is a coffee that is all about the beer.

"We have taken two of America's most favorite tastes - coffee and beer - and fused them," says Harmon Brewing Co. co-owner Pat Nagle. "My business partner Carole Ford came up with the idea of taking some of our beers, reducing them down to syrups for flavoring for local coffee."

Ford chose Tacoma coffee roaster Bluebeard Coffee, which buys its beans from Latin America, Indonesia and East Africa, as their partner.

Bluebeard principle Kevin McGlocklin is excited to work with Harmon Brewing. "They are go-getters, always coming up with something new," says McGlocklin.

McGlocklin is creating a special dark roast for Hop Coffee, which the Harmon folks believe will work better with their beer reduction.

According to a news release, Harmon Brewing hired Melina Eshinshi, a professional chef, to handle the special alchemy between the coffee and beer. The flavored syrups are reductions of four Harmon signature craft beers: Mt. Takhoma Blonde with Orange Zest, Pinnacle Peak Pale Ale with Vanilla Bean, Pt. Defiance IPA with housemade Torani caramel sauce and Puget Sound Porter with housemade chocolate sauce.

"I can't reveal all the trade secrets, but for example I mixed our Pale Ale with an all-natural vanilla extract and that is going to make a fantastic Macchiato," said Eshinski in the news release. "The Puget Sound Porter seems a natural fit with any mocha drink."

Ford and Nagle will sell their Hop Coffee and standard coffee drinks from the northwest corner of the Harmon Tap Room. Stadium Bistro, the restaurant that occupied this space before the Harmon Tap Room, had hired a guy to build a coffee shop in the corner. The Harmon Brewing Co. will take the concept to completion, opening the Hop Coffee business during its Progressive Party Saturday, July 26 - the official merging of the two St. Helens neighborhood sister restaurants Harmon Tap Room and The Hub into one giant beer complex, which I announced several months ago. Meet the brewers, drink specialty beers, taste the new menu, sample desserts from Harmon's new in-house baker, hug a Harmon employee - the Progressive Party will run 1-6 p.m. for $15 a head. Spac eis limited; grab your tickets at The Hub and Harmon Tap Room.

The homebrewing competition Aroma of Tacoma awards ceremony will also be held during the Progressive Party.

"You can come in and grab your regular coffee drinks, or you can get one of our specialty Hop Coffees," explains Nagle. "It's going to be its own coffee shop, open at 6 a.m., where you can come in with your laptop, have a cup of coffee, watch our guys brew beer in the brewery room. It will be like having your own large office, complete with Wifi."

Bluebeard Coffee will help hire and train the Hop Coffee staff.

The Hop Coffee logo carries the "H" from the Harmon logo and the "O" is a big hop.

"It's a beautiful logo," says Nagle with a big smile.

The Hop Coffee space will also house Harmon's merchandise - shirts, caps and such - which Nagle hopes to set up an online store to sell both the coffee and swag.

"We're looking to remodel the Harmon downtown to have a Hop Coffee outlet there, maybe a Hop Coffee out at the Gig Harbor Hub."

Could there be Hop Coffee huts?

In any case, you won't be sorry to wake up and smell the coffee with Hop Coffee.

HOP COFFEE OPENING/PROGRESSIVE PARTY/AROMA OF TACOMA AWARDS, 1-6 p.m., Saturday, July 26, Harmon Tap Room/The Hub, 204 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, 253.212.2725

July 1, 2014 at 3:34pm

Café Brosseau bringing Shakerato, not "Sharknado," to Tacoma


In case you missed SyFy's so-bad-it's-awesome made-for-TV movie Sharknado, Café Brosseau is the first to bring a screening of the movie to Tacoma. As you may have guessed, the movie is about a freak disaster in which man-eating sharks swim through the streets and fall from the air in Los Angeles.

Ah, crap. We apologize. We read the press release wrong.

Cafe Brosseau, a Tacoma Coffee House featuring Tacoma's own Madrona Coffee Co., is bringing SHAKERATO, not Sharknado, to Tacoma.

According to Café Brosseau, "The Shakerato, is a foamy, frosty, cold mix of premium roasted Madrona Coffee Co espresso beans, extracted by a caring Barista, from an Italian race car of an espresso machine, La Marzocco. The resulting espresso shots are hand-shaken, cocktail-style, with a simple sweetness, and ice."

Oh, man. That's much better than Tara Reid, John Heard, a chainsaw wielding Ian Ziering battling an inexplicable series of tornadoes loaded with sharks.

Apparently Cafe Brosseau is happy to add a touch of creaminess to its Shakerato, such as almond milk, hemp milk or dairy cream.

CAFÉ BROSSEAU, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, 2716 N. 21st St., Tacoma, 253.327.1306

May 22, 2014 at 11:49am

Intern Report: Checking in with Anthem Beverage and Bistro

The Anthem in downtown Tacoma hosts live music often. Photo credit: Drake Birnbaum

Hello! My name is Drake Birnbaum. I'm a runner, dancer and a Jew. I prefer my pizza cold and my hair styled. As the newest member of team Volcano, I'm like the communal sidekick. This is my first article, and I gotta say, I think I did great.

Some places hold memories. For me, one of those places is the Puyallup coffee shop Anthem Beverage and Bistro. It was a Forza back then, yet equally wonderful for enjoying gelato with my mom and brother. Suddenly, it was called Anthem Coffee & Tea, but that didn't stop me from painting on Buddha Board with family and friends. Before I knew it, another Anthem had opened on Pacific Avenue in downtown Tacoma.


About this blog

Served, a blog by the Weekly Volcano, is the region’s feedbag of fresh chow daily, local restaurant news, New Beer Column, bar and restaurant openings and closings, breaking culinary news and breaking culinary ground - all brought to the table with a dollop of Internet frivolity on top.

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