Coffee

Lucky Llama Coffee – Carpinteria, CA

[one_half] 5100 Carpinteria Ave
Carpinteria, CA 93013

(805) 684-8811

Lucky Llama Website

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We stumbled across the Lucky Llama on our way back to Los Angeles from the Santa Ynez wine country.  This quirky little espresso house has great coffee.

Just a few blocks off the Linden Av exit from the 101 and a few blocks from Carpinteria Beach Park, sits the Lucky Llama.  It sits back a bit from Carpinteria Avenue, so keep your eye out.

The Lucky Llama has great espresso.  And they serve it in a lot of unique combinations, if you’re not an espresso purist.  The combinations change based upon the changes in the seasons.  The baristas behind the small counter know what they’re doing and while sometimes service is a bit slow, it’s worth the wait. The Lucky Llama is also known for it’s breakfast bowls.  Featuring a wide array of acai bowls and oat bowls, every review you’ll read raves about them.  We didn’t have a chance to try them, but it’s something you might want to consider.

The shop is long and narrow, with a few various style chairs and sofas inside.  Out front, there’a large patio area with plenty of seating to enjoy the California weather.

 

Clive Coffee – Portland, OR

[one_half] 79 SE Taylor St #100
Portland, OR 97214

(800) 520-2890

Clive Coffee Website

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Clive Coffee is a unique place that you must stop into if you’re in or near downtown Portland.  Originally, we thought it was your typical coffeehouse slash espresso bar.  Au contraire.

Clive Coffee is a temple to coffee.  From espresso machines, to coffee brewers, equipment, supplies, etc.  Clive is THE place to go, not just in Portland, but probably anywhere in the US.  From mid-range to high end, if it’s a quality espresso maker or brewing device, Clive has it.

Everything is displayed much like you were purchasing a fine imported automobile.  The machines are polished and glistening.  Displayed like works of art.  Which many are.  Clive does also sell their own beans.  A nice selection of beans from various regions around the world.  As you review the coffee equipment, you can test their coffees in various machines.

What surprised us most, is how long people linger.  This is really a unique experience and if you’re in to coffee, this is your place.  The staff is extremely knowledgeable and very friendly.  It’s worth your time.

Fuglen – Oslo

[one_half] Universitetsgata 2
0164 Oslo, Norway

+47 22 20 08 80

Fuglen Website

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New York Times

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Fuglen is one of the oldest continually operating coffee shops in Oslo. It’s espresso and coffee is as unique as it’s shop.  By evening, Fuglen transforms into a great place to have a cocktail.  The warm inviting atmosphere has a whole different vibe in the evenings.

Filled with scandinavian designed furniture and furnishings from the 50s and 60s, its a visit to a retro Norway living room.  It’s as much as an adventure to check out these iconic furnishings as it is their coffee.  Yes, you can buy any of these furnishings as well.Fuglen can be extremely busy at various times of the day. We stopped by at 3PM in the afternoon and there was a line out the door. In addition to great coffee, they also use home made syrups (such as the vanilla, which still had real vanilla beans in the bottle) for those who want to add a bit of flavor.

There is a row of chairs along the front of the shop to enjoy a sunny Oslo afternoon. If it’s bit chilly, they also have warm wool blankets you can borrow to stay warm.

Fuglen can be a bit difficult to find, but it’s definitely worth the effort.  Another bonus, Fuglen is one of the few coffee shops in Oslo that opens early in the morning.

If you happen to find yourself in Tokyo, Fuglen has a location there as well.

[box type=”info” ]Finding Fuglen isn’t as easy as following the address. We looked for it our first day in Oslo and couldn’t find it. The entrance is actually half way down the street on Pilestredet. [/box]

Tim Wendelboe – Oslo

[one_half] Grüners Gate 1
0552 Oslo, Norway

+47 400 04 062

Tim Wendelboe Website

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Village Voice

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Located on an unassuming street corner in the Grünerløkka neighboorhood, Tim Wendelboe is considered to be not just one of the best coffee houses in Oslo, but in the world.

How serious is Tim Wendelboe about coffee?  Very.  It’s much more than just about a retail coffee outlet.  It’s about educating people on coffee, sustainability and social responsibility.  It’s about helping coffee farmers in all parts of the world produce a better product and make a good living doing it.   Tim has their own channel on Vimeo with some great videos on a variety of these topics.

The shop is small and seats about 6-8 people. It also has a small coffee counter where you can fit about three or four more. It’s easiest, to get your coffee to go if the shop is busy.  A coffee roaster is located right in the middle of the small shop. Next to the shop, is a small, separate tasting room, where at 1PM on Saturdays, they offer a cupping session for a small number of guests. Due to our schedule, we weren’t able to attend during this visit to Oslo, but you can be sure that we will during our next visit.

The espresso here is fantastic. The selection changes from time to time. The employees are extremely knowledgeable about the espresso and coffee they serve. You can ask them just about any question and they’ll have the answer.

We loved Tim Wedelbhoe and well be back.  And yes, their coffee is THAT good.

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Four Barrel Coffee – San Francisco

[one_half] 375 Valencia St  (Mission)
736 Divisadero St.  (Alamo Square)
2 Burrows St.,  (Portola)

San Francisco, CA

(415) 896-4289

Fourbarrel Website

Other reviews:
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Four Barrel is a unique coffeehouse located in the Mission District.  What makes it different than others?  We’ll besides great coffee, no Wi-Fi.  That’s right.  You’ll actually get to have the experience of conversation here, instead of putting your nose in your laptop or tablet.  The space is voluminous, with plenty of community tables, high top counters and tables.  There’s rooms for tons of guests, so even during the busiest times, you should be able to easily find a place to have a seat.

Four Barrel has a wide variety of coffees and you can actually choose which one you want in pour over or espresso form when they make your order.  The counter here is designed for efficiency, with back to back espresso machines to make sure you get your coffee quickly.  Getting it quickly, does not mean they’re compromising quality.

Behind the espresso counter is the large coffee roasting operation.  There’s nothing like the smell of coffee roasting.  Four Barrel also offers a wide variety of classes and workshops on coffee.  They publish the calendar on their website.

Four Barrel offers a wide variety of various beans for sale on their website, as well as coffee by subscription.

If you’re in the Mission area of San Francisco, you’ll want to make sure to stop in and check out this location of Four Barrel.

 

Sightglass Coffee – San Francisco

[one_half] 270 Seventh Street  (SOMA)
3014 20th Street  (Mission)
San Francisco, CA

415–861–1313

SIghtglass Website

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Sightglass Coffee in SOMA has something for everybody.  They have great coffee with a front row seat where you can watch the roasting operation as you look through the floor to ceiling glass windows watching passersby.

Sightglass Coffee has two serving areas in their SOMA location.  On the main level, there’s plenty of space to relax.  A high top counter along the front window, along with several tables fill the space with ample light no matter what the weather outside.  Towards the front of the space in their roasting operation, where at the right time of day, you can watch coffee beans being roasted in the large roaster.  In the middle is a large counter area with espresso machines on both sides.  Sightglass has a small selection of pastries to go along with your coffee. Service is quick and efficient, so you can be on your way quickly. But that’s not all.

Upstairs on the second level is a more intimate space, with a small coffee bar with individualized service.  It’s a space where you can sit, linger, compare and discuss various coffees with a barista on the top of their game.  It’s definitely a different experience from most coffee houses.  It’s the perfect opportunity to hone your coffee knowledge from a coffee expert.  We didn’t have the opportunity to experience it on this visit, but you can be sure we will on our next one.

Sightglass has a variety of beans for sale in the stores and online.  Sightglass also offers coffee subscriptions, so you can make sure you never run out of a variety of fantastic beans from various parts of the world.

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Corvus Coffee – Denver

[one_half] 1740 S. Broadway
Denver, CO 80210

303-715-1740

Corvus Website

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Corvus is one of the premier coffeehouses in Denver. While there have been numerous coffee places open in Denver over the past three years, many consider Corvus to be the best. We’re inclined to agree.

Corvus has a very loyal following. And it’s well deserved. They recently were closed for what seemed like months, before moving to a new location just a few blocks up the street.

Their new location is large and spacious. Facing South Broadway, there’s lots of glass which brightens the space. It also makes for a great way to watch the colorful characters that stroll up and down the street. There are a series of small tables and community tables, as well as a seat at the coffee bar. In nice weather, there’s a small outdoor patio on the side of the building.

Corvus serves up their own coffee blends, from beans that are acquired from all over the world and roasted on site. You can view their roasting operation from the tables inside the coffeehouse.

Corvus menu is short and sweet. Just six items. Cafe mocha’s feature Mast Brothers chocolate, which makes for an exceptional espresso drink. There is a small selection of pastries available and you can also buy freshly roasted beans at the counter.  Corvus roasts on Mondays and Tuesday’s using a roaster made in the Netherlands.

Service is quick and efficient. The baristas here pay exquisite attention to detail. Every drink, simple or complex, gets the attention it deserves. If there’s a line (which there usually is), be patient. You may have to wait a short while, but it will be worth it.

Ebenezer’s – Washington DC

[one_half]201 “F” Street
Washington, DC  20002

(202) 558-6900

Ebenezer’s Website

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Ebenezer’s is just a hop, skip and a jump from Union Station, which makes it very convenient if you’re in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.  Ebenezer’s is unique in that it’s owned by National Community Church.  Located in a building that was built in 1901 and originally served as a diner, the space is large.  There’s plenty of room to sit, relax and enjoy their coffee.

Ebenezer’s sources its beans from Pennsylvania roaster, One Village Coffee.  The espresso is very good and there’s also a wide array of other drinks as well, including tea and hot cider.  A selection of pastries and other quick-style breakfast food is available.  Live events are held a couple of days a week, so check the events page on their website for more details.

Kicking Horse Coffee – Canada

[one_half]491 Arrow Rd
Invermere, BC  

Kicking Horse Coffee Website

Other reviews: 
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Kicking Horse Coffee is pretty darn good.  Roasted in rural British Columbia, Canada, they roast almost 20 different blends of coffee.  If you can’t find one in a taste profile you like at Kicking Horse, then you probably won’t find it anywhere.

We’ve never been to their main roasting facility or factory cafe, but we have ordered their coffee online, enjoyed at Tuff Beans in Tofino, BC and actually purchased it locally at Vitamin Cottage here in Denver.

Our favorite is the Kick Ass blend, which is a dark roast and very full bodied.  In addition to being available in vacuum sealed bags, you can also by Kicking Horse in cans.  For US customers, it’s easiest to buy their beans directly from Amazon.  In Canada, you can order directly from their website.

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Fire Creek Coffee – Sedona

[one_half]6500 Arizona 179
Sedona, AZ 86351

Additional locations in Cave Creek, AZ

(928) 284-5282

Firecreek Website

Other reviews: 
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FourSquare
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TripAdvisor

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 We have never been to the actual Fire Creek Coffee locations, but we’ve ordered their beans on-line. 

Fire Creek roasts their own coffees in small batches.  All of their coffee is organic and a few are also Fair Trade.  Roasted in Sedona, our favorite coffee of Fire Creek’s is the “Storm Chaser”.  It’s their darkest roast and makes a mean cup of espresso.  Even though it’s dark roast, it’s not overdone.  It has a good deep mocha taste profile, without tasting burnt.

As far as online ordering, their customer service and speed of delivery is excellent.  Their coffee beans are also reasonably priced at about $1 per oz.  If you can’t get to Sedona or Cave Creek, our advice is order some beans online.  You won’t be disappointed.  We can’t wait till we get back to Arizona to stop by one of their locations.