It’s been a tumultuous time since I last wrote here . . . We’ve had a complete shutdown, a re-shifting of priorities, a re-modeling of operations in every sector, and a social uprising. And none of this is complete/over.
We’re grappling with trying to understand, survive, and recover from a global pandemic–and doing it all at once! We’re on a 400+ year journey of understanding, surviving, and recovering from foundational, institutionalized, and continued injustices–a system ingrained and enshrined for centuries will not topple in a day, or a week, or a month.
It’s not exactly the time to sit back and sip coffee right? But, we are entitled to enjoy a cup or two–and we do need our energy, especially as we can continue to innovate and advocate.
So, I’ve returned here. It will be a gradual return, but I’m excited to write and explore, as I adapt to a new normal and fight for something better. Cheers to being back, and to coffee ☕
Seattle, Washington, USA: Starbucks Reserve
I have made it!
As mentioned in Global Locations, there are just six Starbucks Reserves in the world. I had the chance, unplanned originally and a happy opportunity seized, to visit a Starbucks Reserve in Milan–the first Starbucks to touch Italy. It was a magical experience on multiple levels and it generated quite the conversation once I shared my post, photos, and my delight.
Once I discovered there were more Reserves, in already desired travel destinations at that, I made a goal of visiting more–eventually. That eventuality was more than a goal written on paper, it is now a goal that is being checked off!
In late October 2019, I was visiting a friend in Seattle and made sure our itinerary included a stop at the very first Reserve in Seattle.
Just like Milan, it was a golden treasure trove of all things caffeinated, of all things delicious.
With that . . . just four more to go!
Kona, Hawaii, USA: Daylight Mind Coffee Company
Daylight Mind Coffee Company–two locations:
Let me state flatly and unequivocally: Kailua-Kona is better.
If you can only go to one location in Kona, I vote Kailua-Kona.
Why? The Kailua-Kona location rests right on the beach. The added smells, sounds, and feels of the ocean waves crashing makes everything about Daylight better. The Waikoloa location is in Queens Marketplace, a nice shopping center but nothing magical–it’s not the ocean.
The menu is the same. I had better service in Kailua-Kona each time. I had quality internet in both locations. Kailua-Kona was a larger venue with more seating, and thus more varied types of seating.
Kailua-Kona is also next to a farmers market, the former royal summer residence, plenty of tourists shops, and quite a few hotels. It just feels more accessible, and I feel there is more to do and experience as a visitor in this part of town.
I had breakfast, iced coffee, house coffee, and coffee to-go at the Kailua-Kona location. I ordered coffee and seated myself. I went to the restaurant to experience the service and food. I stayed for approximately 15 minutes on one visit, on another visit I stayed for a couple of hours. I went weekdays and weekends, mornings and afternoons. I visited on multiple occasions and each time I was thoroughly impressed by every bit of this place.
At the Wakioloa location, I went just twice–once for breakfast and once just for coffee.
At either Daylight, the coffee was good, not my favorite in all of Kailua-Kona, but I still loved it, specifically the Kailua-Kona venue, for everything it paired and added to the coffee experience. So, this is an unusual recommendation, as I’m recommending it not based on having the best coffee per se, but rather on the feeling and ambiance created while drinking your coffee.
So, if you’re in Kona, try Daylight, try both locations, it’s good for coffee, breakfast, and maybe a little downtime before you go shopping, or back to the beach.
Over the past year and a half writing Cups and Comments I have learned that it is best to sit down, write a bunch for the future, edit in another session, and then relax as your weeks worth of posts are delivered. I prepared for some time to work, and thought it would be easy to follow this pattern as I stayed in Hawaii.
Well, I have to admit, I must confess: Hawaiian living is just too good. I am thoroughly behind and distracted here, but with a view and atmosphere like this, can you blame me?
I’m doing my best to get back into my groove, but every time I sit down I just want to look up and soak it all in . . . writing, researching, pretty much anything other than sipping my coffee as I enjoy the sounds, smells, and sun here is really beyond my reach.
I promise, I will buckle down–eventually 😉
I have been given the opportunity to stay in Hawaii for 5 weeks. I will be in Kona, tanning, hiking, enjoying the sounds and sights of island life–and of course scouting out some great coffee.
I have always enjoyed Hawaiian coffee and coffee shops, Kona coffee is among my favorites. I cannot wait to enjoy it, in its home. Wish me the best of luck–and get ready for some Hawaiian recommendations!
Burger King Coffee
It’s not gourmet.
It’s not going to get approval from your friendly neighborhood coffee snob.
I doubt it will be on any coffee connoisseur’s list of top picks.
Nevertheless, I feel compelled to let you know that for $5 a month, you can get coffee, each and every day for a month–at Burger King.
While my stomach is churning as I write this post, I actually hate Burger King–ate there once in high school and then never again–I must let you know about this deal . . . you just let me know how it goes though 😉
Best Coffee: US Edition
When I told people that I was going to New Zealand and Australia, one city that kept coming up as a coffee recommendation was Melbourne; apparently, Melbourne is world famous on the coffee scene.
It got me thinking: Which cities were known for the best coffee in the US?
My first instinct and thoughts were:
- Seattle, Washington as its home to Starbucks
- San Francisco, California; New York City, New York; and Los Angeles, California as each of these cities are food powerhouses so they’re probably coffee powerhouses. Also, a simple Google search for great coffee shops often led me to these places, or their surrounding areas.
According to WalletHub, I wasn’t too far off. Top 3, according to their metrics, were:
- New York, New York
- Seattle, Washington
- San Francisco, California
Check out their article for the full Top 10, maybe this list can become a US Travel guide for my next adventure! 😉
Chino Hills, CA, USA: Platform 909
I have recently enjoyed some time in my hometown. Nearly three weeks of uninterrupted time has given me the chance to leisurely explore, and to find a new appreciation for my particular section of southern California.
On one particularly eventful day, I drove over to Chino Hills to visit Chino Hills State Park. In October, it happen to be 90 degrees, quite the unusually warm day to visit and hike around a park.
I enjoyed a nice breeze, some outstanding overlooks, and a short sweaty hike. It was a brief but beautiful visit. At its end, I really felt like something more than water, perhaps a good cup of coffee. Hello Google.
I had been researching local coffee shops since my arrival in southern California and I had stumbled upon Platform 909. It had peaked my interest but I hadn’t been close enough to make a stop. Turns out, it’s less than a mile from Chino Hills State Park!
Platform 909 is a Harry Potter-inspired coffee shop, which I did not realize until I entered it. For some reason I had focused on the 909 part, and fallen in love because this was my area code as a child. I just felt that it would be fun to go somewhere that was somehow honoring my original and specific Californian identity (someone from the 909).
Anyway, I walked in and was thrilled to see the sprinkles of Harry Potter decor. It made me think of Bad Owl, it made me feel like I had been transported to my other home: Las Vegas, Nevada.
The venue is relatively small, but there are plenty of options for seating (tall tables, small tables, a couple of cushioned chairs). The lighting is excellent, lots of natural light, which is my personal favorite. The parking is free and plentiful, which is important anywhere but certainly in southern California. Finally, the customer service is absolutely outstanding.
The woman answered all of my questions: they’ve only been open about a year, this is their only location, they serve tea along with coffee, and yes this a Harry Potter inspired place.
The barista also explained their Spanish latte.
Spanish Latte: coffee, condensed milk, a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Not overly sweet, not as much as you’d think; great hot or iced.
I decided to go for it–I purchased an iced Spanish latte.
It was delightful. The condensed milk was not overpowering, the drink had only a bit of sweetness. The cinnamon on top I immediately mixed into the drink, so when I was drinking I had hints of cinnamon here and there. The combination, the balance of condensed milk and coffee, was perfect for me. I had enough coffee and enough milk to enjoy my drink as well as get a dose of coffee/caffeine for the day.
If you’re in southern California, close to Chino Hills, make a stop at Platform 909, the coffee is magical.
Las Vegas, NV, USA: Greek Food Festival
Quick and amazing recommendation.
Make plans now for September 2019!
Every year in September, in Las Vegas, Nevada, St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church hosts a 3-day event: the Greek Food Festival.
After 11 years in Las Vegas, I am ashamed that I have only made it to this festival two times. Both times, however, have been extraordinary. It’s not just the shopping, the music, the dancing, or even the food–it’s the coffee!!
Last year I waited for some Greek coffee, which is delicious and it’s own awesome delight. I got to the front of the line and they’re serving Baklava Iced Coffee. Intrigued?
Thank you curiosity because I ordered it, and I absolutely fell in love. I have been to many Greek establishments for meals, and have always kept my eye out for this treat–it’s nowhere else except this festival.
Hot day in Vegas–it’s still summer in September, trust me–means iced coffee cools the soul while still caffeinating the body. Iced coffee is a good choice.
Baklava is a delicious sweet dessert, a layered pastry with nuts and honey. Take that sweetness and mix it into coffee, and a bold rich flavor comes alive.
Once you’re caffeinated you can dance, listen to the music, grab some actual Baklava, shop, and enjoy outstanding homemade Greek food. So start planning now: Vegas, Greek Food Festival, September.