I’m always amazed by how many coffee shops and drive-thru stands we have in this town.
I mean, it’s getting a little crazy around here.
From national chain stores to family-owned roadside kiosks, there seems to be more coffee options than anyone could ever need. Someone told me there are 100 of these coffee businesses in Yakima alone — and apparently, more are on the way, with two small drive-thru stands currently under construction in Yakima and Union Gap.
A third Dutch Bros Coffee stand recently broke ground along North First Street, across from Mel’s Diner, while Starbucks doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
Yakima already had a glut of their stores and grocery store kiosks, but Howard Schultz and his merry band of baristas just kept pressing ahead, building three new sit-down shops in Yakima over the past two years.
But here’s the thing: they’re always busy — all of them! Maybe it’s the strong economy or just a testament to America’s crazed coffee culture, but interest in high-dollar espresso products appears to be at an all-time high.
Every coffee stand around here has a line in the drive-thru lane during the morning rush hour, and some stay that way throughout the day. Like everyone else in the Northwest, Yakimanians just can’t seem to get enough of the stuff.
I hear some people even drop by twice a day and get their $6 quad-shot, caramel-swirl lattes (If you haven’t heard, that’s what some places are charging nowadays. And Starbucks’ prices are often north of that!)
I used to be a daily drive-thru customer, dropping 20 bucks a week or more, but I’ve cut way back in 2019. The staff at Java Heaven must be wondering why I haven’t paid them a visit in a while, but the truth is, I haven’t been buying coffee anywhere except the grocery store (nothing personal, ladies).
Five bucks for a week’s worth of K-cups or $5 plus tip for a flavored latte that gets cold before I can finish it? You can see why I’ve been drinking more drip these days.
But I do like a good latte once in a while, so I had to drop by the new MAK Daddy Coffee Roasters shop downtown the other day. Owner Mark Shervey has been on a roll the past year, and he is now one of six finalists in this year’s Enterprise Challenge contest.
Another local coffee shop owner who I often chat with is Yarithza Aguilar of Sip On First. She’s going through a transition after the lease for her original shop, Sip On Summit, was not renewed. There’s currently some construction work going on near the corner of 16th and Summitview, but no more coffee stand.
“We were a little surprised when that happened, but at least we still have this place,” she said, relieved.
I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting folks like Kasey Head, owner of Kona’s Coffee; Amber and Christian Rood, owners of Crave Coffee; and Keith Taylor, owner of Java Heaven.
I am always rooting for these mom-and-pop shops to win out over the Starbucks and Dutch Bros of the world. And, for now, it seems like the locals are supporting them nicely.
Let’s just ease up on building any new shops for a while, OK?