In Pursuit of Coffee
By Douglas Carlsen:
Walking downtown to get my morning cup of coffee, I pass other coffee shops before I get to the one where friends and I gather on Thursday mornings. These are my regular haunts, where I sit with friends in conversation or alone to write, because they are all within walking distance of my home. There are a handful of others, which, if they were close enough so that I might walk, would also be included in my weekly regulars. These are all local coffee shops, places where you can sit and study, work or converse. All are owned by people I know, some of whom have lived in Walla Walla their entire lives.
Even though one of these is closest to my home and my “favorite,” I still make a point of patronizing a variety of locations, if for no other reason than to spread my business around, or to experience the talents of the many local baristas.
It was in the late ‘70s that Merchants Ltd. first brought espresso to Walla Walla. Well before the coffee culture and its concomitant terms of baristas, crema, and pull times became common place, Walla Walla was offering lattes, cappuccinos, and, of course, the Americano. Since then the number of locally-owned coffee shops has increased. Some have come and gone. Others changed hands. But, most are still here serving their patrons coffee, often from coffee beans roasted locally and delivered fresh.
In all of these places, coffee provides an opportunity for conversation or reflection. Places where you can sit without being disturbed as you check your email, read a book, or, as has happened, write a book.
Fortunately, our local coffee shops are nicely distributed around Walla Walla. East of town is the Walla Walla Roastery on Avenue A just past the airport. Southside are two on College Avenue in College Place – The Atlas and The Black Cup. West on Pine Street is Hot Mama’s Espresso. Downtown one will find Coffee Perk on First Avenue, Olive Market Place on Main Street, and The Colville Street Patisserie on the corner of Colville & Alder Streets.
Certainly one can find excellent espressos at many of the local restaurants, but these are less likely to provide space just for spending time working over a cup of coffee. And espresso is to be found at the multitude of drive-thru coffee stands around town.
I encourage visitors to discover what our local coffee shops have to offer. Don’t forget to tip your baristas.