Today is national coffee day. You may be one of the masses enjoying your free cup of 7-11 joe, but here are three Tacoma roasters/coffee houses who deserve your patronage: Bluebeard Coffee, Metronome and Valhalla -- all coffee houses in the neighborhood I like to call Jittery Lane. Click "more" to read about my three favorite coffee houses on Sixth Avenue.
Metronome CoffeeWhere: 3518 Sixth Ave., TacomaInfo: 253-301-2375 or www.metronomecoffee.com
If you’re someone who appreciates the nuance of bean origin and brew technique and who enjoys the full-frontal palate assault of rich, dark coffee, then Metronome, which opened in January, is worth a visit. Metronome resides in a neighborhood filled with good coffee, including Valhalla and Bluebeard (both featured below), as well as Caffe Dei, the arty coffee house that specializes in well-pulled specialty espressos and vegan eats, Shakabrah, the downscale coffee cafe that serves good Joe and heaping breakfast plates, and Satellite Coffee, the tiny offshoot coffee stop located inside Masa.
Metronome’s mood clearly meanders into the Land of Big Coffee Geek. At this coffee house, the theater is in preparation, method, flavor and origin. The coffee vernacular includes a whiff of science class: Barometric pressure brewing, gold-mesh screen filtering, pressure power agitation, positive acidity, ceramic funnels. The coffee house is a flurry of machines. There’s the yama brewer, the chemex, the siphon brewer. And here's something I love beyond the excellent selection of beans from Dillanos: pastries from Corina Bakery. Check out the cinnamon roll I ate there a few weeks ago. Isn't it pretty?
Bluebeard Coffee RoastersWhere: 2201 Sixth Ave., TacomaFacebook: Here
Bluebeard Coffee Roasters opened in April and quickly became my place for a perfectly poured Americano with plenty of comfortable seating. Bluebeard is both a coffee roaster and espresso puller.
Like every coffee house on Sixth, Bluebeard exudes its own vibe, but it has overlapping qualities with nearby coffee kin. Bluebeard has the bare bones austerity of Valhalla, the coffee geek of Metronome and the hipster-ish vibe of Satellite. The one thing Bluebeard has that other Sixth Avenue coffee houses seem to lack is a well-organized space. The table area is expansive with well-spaced chairs and a few comfy couches. Big groups are not a problem.
Bluebeard also is a coffee roaster. I have spotted beans from El Salvador, Ethiopia and Indonesia. A pastry case offers a small selection of nibbles, both savory and sweet.
Valhalla Coffee Where: 3918 Sixth Ave., TacomaContact: 253-761-5116 or www.valhallacoffee.net
This is more coffee roaster than sit-and-sip coffeehouse. A few seats offer a view of the coffee action. Coffee geeks in search of technical descriptions and home brewing advice should head immediately to Valhalla.
If you recognize the coffeehouse’s name, it might be because it formerly operated inside Mandolin Café on Twelfth. The coffee menu is low-tech, but perfectly executed.
I can blame my addiction to Ethiopian coffee on Valhalla. Buy a bag of Valhalla’s Ethiopian Harar. It could change the entire tone of your mornings, it’s that delicious.