Alaska’s Other Black Gold

When talking of black gold and Alaska, one can reasonably assume the discussion’s about crude oil flowing out of the North Slope and down the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. There’s another black liquid, far less sticky and equally coveted by many Alaskans: coffee.

Alaskans sure love their coffee. We had no idea prior to moving here that Alaskan’s love of (as Mama B calls it) the nectar of the gods rivals Seattle. Enclosed trailers turned drive-thru coffee shops dot parking lots along major roads all over the state. And no Alaskan town would be complete without equal representation of churches, bars, and coffee shops. In addition to the nearly every food establishment that also offers some form of coffee, there are no less than 11 coffee shops in Homer (the criteria for being included here is a full-service coffee shop – espresso, to lattes, to drip.) These are the ones we are aware of; there could be even more:

All Hopped Up Espresso (closest to our house, very affordable)

Fat Olives Coffee Shop (right off the Sterling Highway as you come into town)

Two Sisters Bakery (Down by Bishop’s Beach)
The Washboard (laundromat, with full coffee bar – likely open the latest of any other options)
K-Bay Cafe (Probably the largest shop in town with the most “premium”/hipster experience. Roast their own beans, specialize in vegan food offerings. Coffee is good, but it’s also one of the more (if not the most) expensive spots. On Pioneer Ave across from The Grog Shop.)
Killick’s Brew (This one is out East End Road, next to the Kachemak Gear Shed. Haven’t been inside yet.)
Coop’s Coffee (Also out East End Road, before you reach Killick’s Brew. These coffee-shack-in-a-parking-lot operations are all over the main drags throughout Alaska.)
Captain’s Coffee Roasting Co. (Another local roaster, but not nearly as much of an “it” place as KBay.)
Starbucks Coffee (Inside the Safeway grocery store. Of course there had to be one big chain in the list.)

And only open in the summer months (we haven’t been to any of these yet):

Coal Town Coffee & Tea (located on the spit)
Coal Point Trading (On the spit. Mostly a gift shop, but they also caffeinate tourists)

Just north of Homer and south of Anchor Point is the Blackwater Bend.  They’re affordable, fast, friendly, and the coffee’s delicious. Whenever we’re leaving town, we always stop for a bit of blackwater.

Drip coffee is far less prevalent here than in MN. Espresso is the norm when ordering from a coffee shop. We’ve become Americano drinkers for two reasons: 1) The caffeinated drip coffee is typically in a pump carafe and since few people order their coffee this way, it’s often lukewarm. If you want it hot, get an espresso variant. 2) No one buys drip, let alone decaf drip, so the shops don’t brew it. If you want decaf (as Mama B drinks occasionally since she’s pregnant) your only option is an espresso variant. Now, at home, I still drink plain old boring drip coffee brewed just weak enough so you don’t have to chew it. None of that weak, stretch-the-beans-into-as-many-cups-as-possible watered down junk.  A good friend coined the phase Church Coffee to describe that stuff, and I can’t think of a more apt name.

I like my coffee like I like my beer. Bold and full of flavor. Bottom’s up!

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