Sunday, June 25, 2017

Alaskans are rarely on the cutting edge of anything, except coffee consumption apparently.

Courtesy of The Guardian:  

You think your Starbucks cold-brew coffee is trendy? People in Anchorage were buying bottled cold brew five years ago. As for your pour-over black cup made with single-origin beans from a small farm in Africa? Yawn. Fairbanks has been doing that since the 1990s. 

Little-known fact: Alaska is among the most coffee-obsessed states in the nation. Some years, the coffee-shop-to-human ratio in Anchorage has been higher than Seattle, making it the most caffeinated place in the America (at last count, in 2011, it dropped to number two, with about one coffee shop for every 2,000 souls.) 

You cannot escape the coffee carts here, common as roadside moose, each with its unique brand: The Sugar Shack, Java the Hut, Fred’s Bail Bonding and Coffee Cabana. And then, there are the local coffee shops.

Anchorage-based Kaladi Brothers Coffee, the largest among half a dozen serious coffee roasters in the state, roasts 1.2m pounds of beans per year, enough for every man, woman and child in the state to brew at least five pots of strong coffee each. One of the biggest share goes to the oil fields on Alaska’s North Slope, where workers are on 24 hours a day, says Dale Tran, the company’s chief operating officer. Kaladi has 15 stores in Alaska and one in Seattle.

You know I am just happy with any story about Alaska that does not involve a gun death, a serial killer, or somebody being killed and eaten by a bear.

But I am especially happy to read that we were on the cutting edge of something.

And yes the coffee shops in Anchorage started popping up about 40 years ago, and these days you literally cannot travel half a mile in the city without passing at least half a dozen.

Sometimes in the winter the lines outside a coffee hut can be seven to ten cars deep, with another down the road with a line just as long.

Of course what can you expect in state where the winter nights are long and cold?

I am a little sad to say that I personally am not one of the Alaska coffee connoisseurs.

I am just a little too cheap to buy my coffee in a fancy shop, or kiosk along the road.

No I am a home brew man, who typically drinks about two to three cups of regular Folgers blend with a little Truvia and vanilla flavored non-dairy creamer added to fancy it up a bit.

But once in a while I do splurge and treat myself to a large Cafe Mocha.

Because after all, the winter nights are long and cold.


  1. From faraway iowa it seems like wingnuts in Alaska were cutting edge molly-coddling of BiG Awl. They mixed their religion with their tax breaks so they can show proof to us doubters that they followed their lord and saviour's advice and did miracles for the "Leased" among them.

  2. Now you're talking my language.

    The mug with me here by the desk - bought in 2000 at a North Dakota 'Superpumper' gas & go - holds a quart and gets filled three times a day (or more).

    Typically McDonald's Breakfast Blend or Dunkin' Donuts French Vanilla flavored, but I don't mind going up a price scale to try new things, either. Still using some aspartame type sweetener, but lightener is more critical.

    Half & half (10% milk fat) is routine, full light cream (18% fat) is an indulgence, and I'm willing to go 'down' to whole milk (3% fat) in a pinch, but I totally refuse to use any product that never had a relationship with a cow.

    And I'm die-hard enough that upper 90 degree heat does not intimidate me away from hot coffee. That's where the lovers and the pretenders get separated.

  3. Anonymous5:40 AM

    Good God man! ANy idea how many cockroachs you are drinking there (as with all pre-ground coffee.) At least get yourself a grinder and a French press. ANd uhm... non-dairy creamer + uhm...unpleanat flatulence. Real milk or just drink it black like an adult.

    1. Anonymous8:22 AM

      The hubbs and I found a nearby importer of green coffee beans which we roast ourselves.
      We choose organically grown in the shade beans, and concentrate on female-led and owned farms. The farmers get most of the $$, as it should be. The beans havent been sitting in piles in a warehouse for years, accumulating rat shit and roaches.
      Frrrreshly ground beans roasted to perfection just the day before and brewed in the french press, ahhhhhh.
      We "pollute" our coffee with heavy cream and honey, YUM. But coffee is such an individual drink. Everybody likes theirs differently. Awright, now I'm off to have another cup.....the power of suggestion.
      The latest roast came from Nicaragua, and do they know how to grow deeelish beans!

  4. Gawd if you people would drink coffee, you'd prolly be okay with eating liver and oysters. Triple Espresso YUCKS!!!!!

    Make mine H20 FROM THE TAP.

  5. Anonymous6:19 AM

    I have to go to the Anchorage and even Wasilla areas twice each year. All I know is that after the terrible service I got from Perfect Start Espresso, I will never go back to that place. I gave them two chances and that was two chances too many.

    1. Anonymous7:01 AM

      Given how many easillab road side stops there are, it's kind of hard to find a great one for a good price.

      Mocha moose ain't bad but I don't like patronizing Sarah's fave. Good dude though.

  6. Anonymous6:31 AM

    Starbucks and all those single-use coffee cups! If you're going out to Starbucks every morning to buy your coffee, do the environment a favor and bring your own travel mug.

    I'm with you Gryphen, I've been fixing my own home-brew since college when I used an old fashioned hand-me-down percolator. My roommates and I preferred the brand "Yuban" over Folgers but "college coffee" was just the best wasn't it?!

  7. Anonymous6:47 AM

    A Folgers and Yuban girl myself, McDonalds and Dunkin' Donuts coffee are actually quite good. Espresso type coffees mess with my stomach and, if you have to load 'em up with calories to get 'em down, are you enjoying the coffee or the fillers?

    As for cockroaches, 5:40 AM, I never think about that but I'm also a firm believer in the 5-second rule. :)

    1. Anonymous8:12 AM

      I'm with you on teh five second rule, but coffee in warehouses sits on teh floor for MUCH longer. It is then shoveled into commerical grinders and antyhign that was in that pile - well there's a government standard for insect parts ppm for ground ffee = what does taht tell you. If you buy whole beans that's not the case.

  8. Anonymous7:13 AM

    I've never purchased a cup of coffee from anywhere in Anchorage.

    I purchase my beans, grind them and then perc my coffee every morning. I usually drink two cups while working ADN's crossword puzzle.

    Oh, and I use a tiny bit of real sugar in each cup. Perfect for me!

  9. Anonymous7:33 AM

    North Pole:
    "the opportunity to join a class action lawsuit if former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee robocalled their houses with advertisements for a straight-to-DVD movie about the War on Christmas."
    "The suit hinges on the plaintiffs alleging that the calls are in potential violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which stipulates that unsolicited messages with commercial content via telephone IS unlawful."What’s more is that the complaint contends the calls were meant to appear as if they were a survey to see whether call recipients had “traditional American values.” And “if the recipients believed in freedom and liberty, they would enjoy 'Last Ounce of Courage.'”
    “Would you, like me, Mike Huckabee, like to see Hollywood respect and promote traditional American values?”
    “I am an enthusiastic supporter of a new movie called Last Ounce of Courage. It is a film about faith, freedom, and taking a stand for American VALUE$.”

  10. Anonymous7:38 AM


  11. Anonymous12:42 PM

    I never patronized them but I found the coffee stands a charming part of Alaska.

  12. Anonymous12:48 PM

    Better to be famous for your coffee than your covfefe.

  13. Anonymous4:40 PM

    Nothing better than a freshly ground whole bean 100% Kona cup of coffee. Next up is a Latte. 25 yrs ago I purchased my espresso machine. In those days the machines in stores were huge and the steam sound loud. Loved it. But! Too much caffeine, calories and cost, not good. Between fast food and coffee shops it is no wonder why we are fat.

  14. Anonymous5:53 PM

    Cowboy coffee: use percolator, add coffee, then eggs shells.
    Percolate it awhile. Removes the acidity in coffee.

  15. Anonymous6:40 PM

    I do a french press of Three Bears Blend or if in a hurry, old school in the miele. Never been a fan of the coffee shacks, they are too variable in their quality. I go to Portland and Seattle frequently and my family down there are Starbucks drones and it always cracks me up that they are such sheeple for Starbucks; I get a bottle of water and the grape/cheese tray, can't say I've ever tried one of their overpriced drinks.

  16. Anonymous3:46 PM

    Sailor the Junker kid sure has dad's eyebrow.


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