This time of year really calls for something warm and toasty. Fortunately for all, the Tacoma area is filled with cozy, non-chain or small-chain coffee shops that serve up unique roasts, creative drinks and often a solid offering of pastries to go with the hot beverage of your choice. Whether you’re a coffee, tea or hot chocolate fan, read on to find out how to warm up on chilly days.
Anthem started as a single shop in Puyallup and has expanded to include a coffee shop in downtown Tacoma and more shops around Pierce County. I stopped by the downtown Tacoma location and enjoyed a black and white mocha – a rich and sweet drink with both dark and white chocolate – a fine way to get both a sugar high and a buzz on a chilly afternoon. The decor offers what you would expect of any business that takes up residence within the bounds of the University of Washington – Tacoma – high ceilings, exposed ductwork and all around industrial chic appeal. The drink lineup features both the standards (Americano, caramel macchiato, latte, et al) as well as some unique fare like the dirty chai (chai with espresso) or affogato (espresso over ice cream…pro tip: don’t order that if you seek a hot beverage). The hot chocolate offerings are also solid. There’s a strong food menu that goes beyond scones and muffins, and a fun atmosphere to boot. For instance, count on named house plants.
Locations: 1911 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma and 210 West Pioneer, Puyallup
Bluebeard Coffee Roasters
If you like your hot beverage served up with a heaping side of authenticity, Bluebeard is the place for you. The coffee shop roasts its own beans and makes a mean brew perfect for anyone who really likes to savor a good cup of coffee. This is less the place to go if you want a drink that masks the true coffee flavor, and more for when you want a drink that really lets the coffee flavors come forward – because they are awesome. The atmosphere for your sipping sojourn is a nice mix of industrial and cozy, mixing concrete and wood and leather. The windows are large and let in lots of light. There is not an expansive food menu beyond the requisite pastries, but that’s not what you’re here for. Order your La Pistola (a spicy Mexican mocha) or your latte or your hot beverage of choice, kick back and relax. This shop is made for sipping.
Location: 2201 6th Avenue, Tacoma
Perhaps you would like to sip some hot tea in style? In that case, pop in for tea at British Bites in Puyallup. The bistro and bakery serves British pastries and small meals, from meat pies to mushy peas, from crumpets to Cornish pasties, from treacle tarts to knobbies. And, of course, you can enjoy a spot of tea with your treat. Make a reservation for the Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea Service if you want to go all out, or enjoy happy hour specials Tuesdays through Fridays from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. for a more compact version consisting of a pot of tea with selected bites.
Location: 720 E Main Avenue, Puyallup,
Corina Bakery is, of course, known as a bakery, but the cafe also serves hot beverages that go perfectly with your sweet or savory pastry of choice. Corina is ideal for sipping simply because there are few places that will give you a better lineup of carb items to go with your hot beverage. Cheesecake, cakes galore, scones, muffins, quiche or frittata, gluten-free and vegan items, and beyond complement your hot beverage perfectly. The cafe is cute and cozy. Make sure to take a moment to admire the artwork on the walls. Corina features different artists and there is always something new to see.
Location: 602 Fawcett Avenue, Tacoma
Mad Hat Tea
Coffee gets a lot of buzz in the Northwest, but it’s not the only hot beverage worth enjoying in the -ber months. Mat Hat is more than a mere tea house, though – they blend their own teas so you can find a vast selection of unique blends. Sit and chat with the owners Maureen or Tobin and you’ll learn a bit (or a lot!) about tea as well. Pots of tea are very reasonably priced so you can try more than one tea during your sit. Blends include the expected such as green tea and oolong, as well as more unusual botanicals, flavored teas and remedies. Try ginger peach apricot black tea, or mango green tea or even help your system along with a blend called Constipation Vacation. While you’re sipping, play a board game, read a book or chat with a fellow sipper. Mat Hat is all about unwinding. Put away that screen and simply enjoy your tea. But maybe save the Constipation Vacation for sipping at home.
Location: 1130 Commerce Street, Tacoma
Metronome combines all the best aspects of a cool coffee shop into one spot. Cool atmosphere – check. Expansive menu – check. Delicious coffees and teas – check and check. Metronome serves your everyday, average cup of coffee, but that’s not why you came here. With beans roasted by Victrola Coffee Roasters, teas by Mat Hat Tea and really delicious syrups made right in house, you can count on a flavorful beverage with which to greet the dawn or relax with in the afternoon. If you want to mix things up a bit, Metronome specializes not only in the usual lattes, espressos and cappuccinos, but also in a variety of brew methods – pour over, cold brew, siphon brewing and more. And because they make their own syrups and sauces, the menu changes seasonally so you’ll always find a new caffeinated treat to try.
Location: 3518 6th Avenue, Tacoma