Sipping Along the South Sound Coffee Trail

Photo by Ingrid Barrentine

DO YOU DREAM OF BEING ABLE TO DESCRIBE COFFEE as “ashy, with earthy notes and just the slightest floral hints?” Are you curious about the difference between coffee’s aroma, taste and mouthfeel? Whether or not you’re an expert ready to test your chops, the South Sound Coffee Trail might be just what you’ve been looking for.

This self-guided tour takes travelers through Olympia’s historic district, up toward the port and east into Lacey on four featured stops. You get to decide where your trip will begin and end.

Perhaps you want to jump-start your day at Olympic Crest Coffee Roasters’ drive-through window or pop inside to see the roasting in action. Ifthe coffee isn’t enough to energize you, they also serve breakfast and lunch.

Next, sample from Batdorf & Bronson’s flagship coffeehouse and then take the five-minute drive to their tasting room. The former is a cozy spot that serves all types of coffee drinks. The latter, however, sticks to pour-overs and drip coffees, with employees who are excited to discuss the ins and outs of the beans they roast. The roastery offers tours ofthe facility on the second Wednesday of each month. Or delve deeper by signing up for one of their cupping classes on the last Sunday of every month.

Cupping classes are also offered at Olympia Coffee Roasting Co., which has won Best of Olympia’s Best Coffee award four times since 2012. Become a student again and learn how to name the different features of your favorite caffeinated beverage, all while sniffing, slurping and spitting spoonfuls of coffee. Much like wine tastings, coffee cuppings allow participants to learn about the origin and flavor profile of the beans in addition to their visible features.

All three organizations exhibit their deep commitment to social responsibility through their products and locations. Olympic Crest offers fundraising opportunities to local schools and even has a specially packaged house blend whose sales benefit SafePlace, a local domestic-violence service provider. In 2015, Batdorf & Bronson updated their solar panel system, decreasing their dependence on non-renewable energy sources. Olympia Coffee’s ethical focus is the quality of life for stakeholders at all levels of the supply chain, paying most of the farmers with whom they have relationships double the official Fair Trade rate. In January, they committed to working towards 100 percent adoption of the higher standard.

With a maximum distance of 15 minutes between each spot (and some within walking distance), you get to decide where your trip will begin and end. Visit experienceolympia.com and search for the South Sound Coffee Trail. Take a quiz at southsoundcoffeetrail.com to determine your raison d’etre when it comes to coffee consumption. Make supporting these local, independent businesses part of a special trip into Washington’s state capital.

Stops on the South Sound Coffee Trail
Olympic Crest Coffee Roasters, olycrest.com
Olympia Coffee Roasting Company, olympiacoffee.com
Batdorf & Bronson, batdorfcoffee.com