A quirk of the Pacific Northwest is that the streets of our region are lined with drive-thru coffee stands. If you need your caffeine fix, you need not drive more than 100 yards to find an aesthetically-pleasing, “cute” hut-like structure to satisfy your coffee dreams.
Although I am not a java drinker by any means, I am quite familiar with drive-thru coffee stands. Having a wife who is frequently in the mood for a white chocolate mocha will make you well-acquainted.
Tonight I thought I would share with you some of the eccentricities of these stands. I am well aware that National Coffee Day is tomorrow but who plans such a grandiose day on a Thursday? Don’t they know I write my rundown on that day? So excuse me for jumping the gun a day early, but here is my #NationalCoffeeDay post…
Every driver for themselves. Apparently the million coffee stands that already exist in our state aren’t enough. Go to any stand right before 8 a.m. or slightly after 5 p.m. and you will encounter a line even more intense than one at the grand opening of a new Chick-fil-A restaurant.
Free smells. Even for a non-coffee drinker like myself, the headache of waiting in line forever is lessened just a bit by the fresh smell of brew permeating from the stand. Roll those windows down!
Card club. If your coffee stand doesn’t have a punch card, is it even a coffee stand? If you live in Spokane, then nope. You should see the different colors, textures, and designs of all the different cards from various stands we have in our front stowage. People who want to save the trees would be appalled.
$$$. An additional way these places are all the same are the prices. Inflation gave the stands justification for another price hike and it’s a little paiful. Pretty much any 16 oz. drink will cost you north of $5.
The name game. Higher Ground. Brews Bros. Bean Me Up. Shotzy’s. These are all the coffee-inspired names of our favorite local stands. While these are all creative, I appreciate the name of the business that used its location in town for an especially unique moniker—Bigelow Gulp.
Do it for the gram. All of these stands are on Instagram and it is a cutthroat competition to see who can photograph the prettiest cup of coffee, which baristas can radiate the most spunk in their selfies, and what dog hanging out the driver’s seat window can generate the most likes.
Speaking of spunk. I would say that although a lot of the coffee stands are similar in many ways, these businesses differentiate themselves with their baristas. Some are super happy, some are sassy, some are reserved. Different stands carry different vibes.
Tip please. I pay with a card pretty much every time I visit a coffee stand. Half of them will shove a tablet in my face to leave a tip and the other half will just return my card to me. After paying $5.75 for 16 oz. of coffee, I prefer the latter gesture.
Coffee and more. Many of these businesses are transforming from coffee stands to restaurants—or at least bakeries. I have watched the menus of many places we frequent expand to include pastries, breakfast sandwiches, stuffed bagels, gourmet cookies, and much more. From cheers to Bon Appetit.
It’s about the kids. Kudos to the coffee stands who keep a cup of Dum Dum suckers at the window to give Sloan and Beau when they are riding with me. Congratulations, you legitimately increased your chances of me stopping at your stand if the wife calls and asks me to bring her a coffee home.
Hope everyone is able to get their favorite cup of coffee tomorrow…except for me, because I don’t drink coffee. Thanks to everyone in the business who keeps this city so well-caffeinated. Don’t Blink.