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Posts made in: 'Keeping Up With The Coffeehouses' (22) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 22

September 26, 2013 at 10:59am

Keeping Up With The Coffeehouses: Sippin' Out to reopen

Hailey Gift is one of the more badass baristas in T-town. She's young, but at just 18 she scored a spot to compete in Seattle's Northwest Barista Classic in July 2013. She's most recently worked at the new Café Brosseau, but soon will go for the gold - with a café of her own. Well, mostly her own. She'll have a 40 percent stake in the business and will manage the day-to-day operations.

The café is next to Flippin' Out Burgers - snappily titled Sippin' Out - on South 12th Street. Gift has a vision for the sure-to-be hotspot - the first gourmet drive-thru in Tacoma.

"The big bosses name is Marina Lomis who started the coffee business up at the beginning of this year," says Gift. "But, due to some issues in management, things didn't work out and the shop has sat empty for a few months. I got in touch with her through a few connections and after discussing some shared values; she decided that she wanted to bring me in. This September I was told to go and buy anything I need and remodel however I feel is best."


July 23, 2013 at 9:37am

Keeping Up With The Coffeehouses: B Sharp Coffee House in Tacoma

Live music coming to Tacoma's Opera Alley. Photo courtesy of Facebook

Opera Alley, arguably Tacoma's most charming street, will soon be home to B Sharp Coffee House, slated to open early August. Adding to the street's already bewitching vibe, coffee, beer, wine and music will soon be flowing.

It's owner Dennis Ellis's first venture into the food/drink business, and he hopes to combine it with his love of music. "I have been a musician for many years, playing the saxophone at different venues, and have always had a dream of opening a place of my own," he says. "We want to focus on roots music: blues, jazz, bluegrass and country."

Coffee is the star at B Sharp, and it's meant to be savored. They will feature Bluebeard Coffee, a Tacoma favorite. "We'll have a focus on slow coffee, with Chemex, pour over, vacuum pot and French press," says Ellis. "We want people to enjoy the coffee they are drinking, sit down and enjoy it."

Also on the menu will be handmade sandwiches, fresh salads, soups, pastries from Corina Bakery and Mad Hat teas. Stop by later in the day for craft beer, Belgian ales and wine.

Look for the coffee house to be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and until midnight Friday and 2 a.m. Saturdays, closed Sunday.

February 21, 2013 at 10:07am

Keeping Up With The Coffeehouses: Renaissance Café

RENAISSANCE CAFE: A home away from home for visitors from all over the world. Photo credit: Jackie Fender


Among Tacoma's bustling Theater District shops and eateries, you'll find the Renaissance Cafe. For the last 13 years owner Keith Flowers has brewed up a kitschy cafe dining space that is welcoming, fun and colorful. Old school art fills the wall space, an etch-a-sketch can be found among the bookshelves and housemade soups, cookies and deli sandwiches are abundant.

And breakfast?

According to Flowers, "that's our specialty, though our lunch is pretty good too you'll find."

Flowers has seen the emergence of the Museum of Glass, LeMay Car Museum and Tacoma's light rail as well as a slew of local shops. All of which you'd think would exponentially increase business. Think again.

"Here's my paradigm. Someone will fly in from San Francisco or New York and find us before they find their hotel even. Meanwhile locals walk by with their cups of Starbucks and Subway sandwiches. It goes against the conventional wisdom ‘eat where the locals go.' I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone sometimes."

Flowers even recalls how he decided to run a $1 latte special for a while. Advertising on a sandwich board placed on a sidewalk that receives ample foot traffic. While outside sweeping one day he spied the Starbucks manager wiping down their outdoor seating area and jokingly asked if his deal was stealing away some business. The manager pulled him to the side and stated that some clientele was actually warning them that the place down the way was undercutting their prices. Locals were warning a coffee giant that the ma and pa place next door was offering a deal?

That doesn't sound like an overwhelming sense of support for a local business owner.

"When it comes down to it," say Flower, "we depend on the 'irregular', our out-of-towners to keep us afloat. I sometimes feel like Rod Serling wrote this place's story."

So then the question begs to be asked, why not support a local joint that offers up good coffee and great sandwiches and breakfast?

Do tell my fellow Tacomans.


February 1, 2013 at 12:28am

Keeping Up With The Coffeehouses: Cavanaugh's

KELLI HASKINS: She'll carry on Cavanaugh's Coffee House's friendly vibe. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner


Fans of the quiet coffeehouse will appreciate the offbeat serenity of Cavanaugh's Coffee House - provided, of course, that they manage to find the joint. Set back off the low-traffic end of North Stevens, the cafe sits behind Sherman Elementary on the corner of North 41st and North Cheyenne. Yes, it's the definition of "neighborhood coffee house." It has a corner store feel, as if Opie would burst in and show everyone his tadpole. Built in the 1920's, the building has housed a salon, hardware store, daycare and real estate office.

In 2006, Linda and Mike Soden moved their coffee cart business at Sixth and Orchard into the building, furnished it with re-used furniture for folks to sit and eat salads, bagels, sandwiches and drink espresso variations.

Cavanaugh's ain't fancy, but its comfortably lazy feel encourages strident leisure. On any fair day, the quiet patio is a great place to take in the fresh air while listening to the occasional child's laugh or dog bark.

The Soden have become family to many in the neighborhood. Ask anyone, and they'd tell you the Sodens care deeply about the community and employees - especially barista Kelli Haskins, who will be taking over the business this month. Rest assured, Haskins comes equipped with Soden hospitality. The 20-somehting is eager to please, and can jump into any conversation with ease.

The Weekly Volcano caught up with Haskins as she eagerly eases into coffee house ownership.

WEEKLY VOLCANO: How did you get your start in the coffee field?

KELLI HASKINS: At age 16 I worked at Char Burger in Cascade Locks, Oregon - in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, where I grew up.  I served espresso along with homemade fudge and desserts. From there I moved into Portland at age 18 to pursue a different line of work in the coffee industry - working as a delivery driver for local roaster K&F Select fine coffees. Being a small business means sometimes things happen where you can't pay for all of the employees, and since I was the last one hired I got the boot after we had introduced a new product that didn't take off the way we had hoped. After that I touched basis with one of my customers and began to work for his small coffee company in downtown Portland before venturing up to Tacoma to work for the big dogs, Tully's coffee. Working for the corporation made me really miss the local vibe.

VOLCANO: What do you miss most about Tully's?

HASKINS: Truly, the thing that I will miss about Tully's is the friends I've made, and the people I encountered that have made me love Tacoma. So many different people make their way downtown for many different reasons, but they all love coffee. Hearing their stories, dreams, hardships, and really getting to know the people of Tacoma bring another level of respect that I really want to give back to the community.

VOLCANO: When will you take over Cavanaugh's?

HASKINS: I'm hoping to take over Cavanaugh's in February. I would love to do a grand reopening to reintroduce the community to local artists and musicians. My friend guitarist Justin MacDonald will be the first performer. Artist Alexis St. John will hang her art March 1. She has also put out her very first children's book on Amazon. I'm thinking Cavanaugh's would be the perfect place to have a book signing.

VOLCANO: What kind of changes will you make?

HASKINS: I'm hoping to get people who don't live around here to support the coffee house just as much as the neighbors.
New furniture is a major thing seeing as this is a small space and the large tables and chairs that are here really take up a lot of much needed space. The beer and wine selection is small as of right now, but I plan on improving it to showcase local brewers and winemakers as well as across state of Washington. Introducing Mad Hat Tea is something that I will transition into not long after taking over the shop. Cavanaugh's serves doughnuts and scones rom Pao's Donuts, which I will continue to use because they have a great reputation and are located right on 6th Ave.

VOLCANO: Sounds as if you champion local goods.

HASKINS: The important thing about all of these changes is that the people of this city support not only Cavanaugh's Coffee House, but other local Tacoma businesses as well. Tacoma has a lot to offer its people, and the more community support changes such as mine, the more our community can grow and really have a chance to make our economy ours. Timing has a way of working with you sometimes, and in this case it did. Cavanaugh's Coffee House has now become my own, and I look forward to always supporting Tacoma businesses through the products that I serve no matter where the coffee shop life takes me.   

Cavanaugh's Coffee House, 3928 N. Cheyenne St., Tacoma, 253.756.8875

September 9, 2011 at 4:37pm

No White-T Tuesdays at new Starbucks

A new Starbuck with a drive-thru window opened today at the corner of Lakewood Drive and Custer Road in Lakewood. Tajana offered free pastry samples to those idling at the stop light.


Usually, those entering the City of Lakewood via Custer Road grabbed their morning coffee from a shack in front of a carwash or from a young woman frothing skim milk in a bikini 20 yards down the road.

This morning, at the corner of Lakewood Drive and Custer Road, Starbucks Coffee finally moved in under the sign that's been hanging since March. The new fancy coffee joint with a drive-thru opened in a mini-strip mall anchored by Sound Glass across from H&L Produce. Cheery apron-clad barista Tajana handed out free pastry samples to motorists idling in front of the Chevron station.

No word yet if Starbucks will try to compete with neighboring Hot Chick-a-latte's "White-T Tuesdays." campaign.

August 17, 2011 at 9:52am

Darth Vader, Dwight Schrute and new pastries

Manicor art and new scones at Caffe Dei in Tacoma.

NEW >>>

When Caffe Dei hit the scene last year, foodies raved about the bakery's vegan approach and tasty coffee. Foodies still rave.

A week ago, the spot made a change. They changed bakers. The maybe too-big-for-their-britches baked goods supplier out of Seattle made too many tardy drops. They're out. Caffe Dei now serves tasty goods from Blazing Bagels, also out of Seattle. This morning I munched on the new blueberry scone - a thumbs up treat that's sweet, salty, doughy and moist. 

Also, Dei's coffee bean supplier periodically drops off mystery blends. Today's mysterious blend produced a smooth Sasquatch, which is Dei's cappuccino and Americano love child. Try it.

Oh, and Bremerton artist Dave Ryan, also known as Manicore, has another show hanging in the Sixth Avenue coffee house. Love his wacky pop culture art.

OK, that's it.

Caffe Dei

8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
2607 Sixth Ave., Tacoma

February 18, 2011 at 12:51pm


Photography by J.M. Simpson


Neighborhood:  Ft. Steilacoom Park

Address:  8520 Steilacoom Blvd. SW, Lakewood, 253.292.1260

Hours:  6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week

Standard Cup of Joe:  $3

Bean Source:  They grind Dillano coffee.

Crowd:  Everyone from eigth to 80 for the coffee and yogurt.  "We'll serve anyone and provide a great coffee and or yogurt experience," says owner Jesse Roberge.

WiFi:  Oh yeah.

Noshing/Sipping:  Traditional espresso drinks.  Also, six types of yogurts with more than 25 different toppings are available.

Bonus:  Spotless place with a courteous staff imbued with the attitude of providing the customer with a great experience.  Roomy, nicely lit and a fireplace welcome those who want to sit with friends and talk.

LINK: South Sound Restaurant Guide

February 11, 2011 at 2:26pm


The Satellite Coffee on Tacoma's Sixth Avenue is embedded into Masa Restaurant. Photography by J.M. Simpson


Neighborhood: Division, Sixth Avenue, Downtown


2811 Sixth Avenue, Tacoma, 253-753-5858

817 Division Ave., Tacoma, 253-753-5858

112 Market St., Tacoma, 253-753-5858

Hours: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday; 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday-Sunday

Standard Cup of Heaven: $2-$3

Bean Source:  Stumptown Coffee - some would say the very best in the world - is used in making the very best coffees and espresso.

Crowd: College students, dinners at Masa's and folks looking for a quiet spot to read or blog.

Wifi: Of course

Noshing/Sipping: There are cookies and breads for sale.  Also, you can pick up Coca-Cola in the bottle for $2.

Bonus: Nice, quiet area to sit and enjoy the ambiance of the Satellite to visit and/or read.  Pictures of satellites adorn the walls; neat little toys are also showcased.  As to the mochas, they are simply the best I have ever tasted.

The Satellite:  Besides the Sixth Avenue location, there are two others in orbit in T-Town - one at 817 Division Ave. and another at 1122 Market St.  

LINK: South Sound Restaurant Guide

February 4, 2011 at 12:52pm

Keeping Up with the Coffeehouses: Clancy’s Coffee

Clancy’s: Karissa Myking and Kaity Rawson enjoy a cup of joe at Clancy’s Coffee in downtown Tacoma.


Neighborhood:  Downtown T-Town by UWT campus

Address/phone:  1911 Pacific Ave.; 253. 572.4060

Hours:  6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday & Sunday.  Also, open until 9:00 p.m. on the third Thursday of every month

Standard cup of bean juice:  $3

Bean Source:  Caffe' D'arte

Crowd:  Business people, college and art students, visitors to the Washington State Historical Museum and folks, like me, passing by.

WiFi:  Yes

Noshing/Sipping:  Muffins, cinnamon rolls, sandwiches, soups and soft drinks are also available.  Great selection of espressos and coffees; Pumpkin Spice lattes are a big draw.

Bonus:  Named after Kaity Rawson's dog, Clancy, the architecture, décor and light, airy feel of Clancy's Coffee is worth a visit.  Artwork by Lisa Brown adorns the walls.  Baristas are polite and very knowledgeable.  The mocha I had was superb.

LINK: More "Keeping Up with the Coffeehouses"

January 28, 2011 at 12:19pm

Keeping Up With The Coffeehouses: Mud Bay Coffee Company

Located in the Cooper Point Pavilion, Mud Bay Coffee offers its own roasted bean. Photography by J.M. Simpson


Neighborhood:  Cooper Point Pavilion, West Olympia

Address/phone:  1600 Cooper Pt. Road, SW, Olympia, 360.754.6222

Hours:  7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday; 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday

Standard Cup o'Joe:  $1.50 - $2

Bean Source:  Eclectic in focus, coffee beans come from most regions of the world and are roasted in small batches at the store.

Crowd:  Business people, college students, moms, and people who think they are important.

WiFi:  Ya think?

Noshing/Sipping:  Local, natural and gluten free foods are available.  Assorted cookies and muffins tempt the eye and nose.  Nice selection of drinks.

Bonus:  A nice view, conference room, polite baristas and a large seating area for customers are plusses. 

Mud Bay Coffee's website boasts the following:  "Coffee ... it's what we do."

They do it well. 

LINK: South Sound Restaurant Guide

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