In this latest video cast: Derrick has a moment with a cup of coffee, we explore one of the premiere roasters in Tacoma, and we present the first ever GCF interview!
I can’t quite remember exactly when coffee transitioned from mid-day luxury to morning necessity, but sometime in college I began relying on my morning cup of coffee like a paratrooper relies on air resistance. It keeps me up…and prevents me from plummeting a great many leagues to certain doom. Coffee is an essential part of my morning, but is far from a mindless item on my to-do list, it is something I love so very dearly.
For a town that can’t even lay claim to one good homemade ice-cream shop (no, I will not stop obsessing until it happens), Tacoma is surprisingly rich in coffee roasters. Good roasters. In fact, you can’t seem to find a restaurant in town that doesn’t boast about having some locally roasted coffee on the drip. That is something you probably wouldn’t find in say…Wisconsin. Tacoma is a kickass place for coffee. So it is no small statement when I say that Valhalla Coffee is possibly the best coffee in town. Don’t you love being a Northwesterner? Almost makes you forget about all the friggin’ stereotypes about rain, however true.
Valhalla produces a line of rich deeply roasted coffees that will punch you in the face. Their beans tend to be darker and a touch more oily than some competitors, appealing to those who like flavorful coffee. Each variety of bean has differing qualities that Valhalla is so good at pulling into the limelight. Ever read a flavor description at a cafe counter and purchased a cup only to think to yourself…’this just tastes like coffee?’ Try the Ethiopian Harrar at Valhalla, you will no longer have to pretend for your hipster friends, you can actually taste the blueberry notes. Yup, turns out the emperor has no clothes on. Just sayin.
If you watch the video you’ll begin to understand why the coffee here is so fine-tuned. Their roast process is personal, as AJ and Byron will tell you…at great length. Each bag of coffee is treated differently. If you show up mid-week at Valhalla you might catch Stephanie intently running the roaster. She’s the one with the roaster tat on her arm (some serious dedication there, I’d be nervous getting a tattoo of the sun for fear it might implode one day and I’ll be stuck with something dated). The involvement in the roasting process is crazy, she is constantly checking gauges, timers, dropping levers, transferring beans, and checking the coffee peephole – like a sort of dipstick – to constantly monitor the progress of the roast, all next to a machine emitting massive amounts of heat on an already sweltering day. Your delicious cup of coffee was the product of some serious labor.
Valhalla has a limited menu, carrying just the bare essentials: hand hario-poured drip and standards espresso drinks. No fluffy sugary crap, although I doubt they’d make you feel bad if you mistakenly ordered one. You don’t need to run out and buy skinny jeans to feel at home here, and you can always catch Byron at the Valhalla stand each Farmer’s Market.
As always, mention us and you’ll get…nothing. Just regularly priced, but delicious, coffee.