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Foggy days on the beach, even on a summer day, makes us crave great coffee. On the North Coast, where micro-roasteries flourish and baristas serve some of the finest espressos in the state, you have more choices available than ever before. Many coffee houses serve as community gathering places, and some even educate the public about what goes into a worthy cup. Here are a few spots to try next time you’re in town, including a new hands-on roastery experience.
Custom Roast Your Beans
Just off the main drag of the Oregon Coast Highway, you can’t miss Justin and Vanessa Boone’s drive-through coffee stop, Burly & the Bean Coffee Cabin. Travelers and locals alike stop by for a steaming cup of their house roast to fuel their day. The rave reviews of their popular brew encouraged them to open a second shop, Burly & the Bean Coffee Roasters, where the experienced coffee-slinging couple created a hands-on experience.
The lively shop reflects the couple’s passion for the coffee process. A large mural asks the question, “Where Does Your Coffee Come From?” With rockabilly and classic rock on the stereo and the smell of coffee — as well as shiny roasting equipment and jars of unroasted beans — the answer is clear. The mood is set for some hands-on roasting.
Yes, roasting. For a flat fee, visitors can experience an aspect of coffee making that’s usually behind the counter. The roasting experience, led by head roaster Justin, usually takes about 45 minutes of hands-on time and ends with a 12-ounce tasting of your own roast, plus a bag of newly roasted beans to take home. You will learn about coffee origin regions from Ethiopia, Guatemala, Brazil, Mexico and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. From there, you select your favorite beans according to your taste profile.
The lesson is an exercise in slowing down and savoring the process. In the tasting, Justin provides the vocabulary to notice and describe what you’re drinking. With your newfound expertise, you’ll find yourself using words like “bright,” “smoky” and “nutty” to describe your cappuccino. Justin encourages new roasters to sample their coffee without cream to really appreciate the flavor.
The bright, sunlit shop has already become a community hub, hosting an open jam session every Saturday night — not to mention a food menu with locally famous biscuits and gravy and locally made jams, honey and teas for sale.
Justin notes the music is particularly good, with talented singers and pick-up musicians. “We’ve had over 10 musicians at a time, and they bring guitars, violins and drum boxes,” Justin says. Follow their Instagram for updates on events and music, and to book an individual or group roasting experience.
Coffee For Everyone — LGBTQ-Friendly Destination
Controversial Coffee, located inside the entrance of Inverted Experience on Broadway near the Promenade, could easily be overlooked by a passing visitor, but its positive energy cannot be missed. With pride flags and anti-bigotry signs on prominent display, the shop provides a safe space for everyone and serves seriously delicious coffee.
“I have met more queer people than I ever knew existed in the area, and it kind of makes me tear up,” says Brick Stone, co-owner of the shop with wife Logan Dahlen. “It was the acceptance I didn’t expect.”
A talented barista, Stone orchestrates a seasonal coffee menu with punchy names like Shot Through the Heart, cinnamon-infused espresso, and The Dude Abides, where espresso is doctored with kahlua and cream. The cafe also serves smoothies and local sweets, including gluten-free chocolate chip cookies.
After managing the store under a previous owner, Stone purchased the shop with Dahlen in October 2021, renaming it Controversial Coffee and continuing to source their beans locally from Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters in Cannon Beach.
So what about that controversial name?
“Some people think it’s controversial that we uphold the mask mandate; some people think it’s controversial that we own a coffee shop; some people think it’s controversial that we’re gay,” says Dahlen. And don’t forget that coffee itself has been controversial over the ages. Dahlen encourages the fellowship that comes from gathering over a cup, noting that “coffee shops have been at the forefront of revolutions, with philosophers sitting down and talking to each other over cups of coffee.”
Walkable From Downtown
Where else can you get locally roasted coffee after your beach walk? Beach Day Coffee on Broadway features Astoria’s Columbia River Coffee Roaster beans for their espresso, and serves smoothies and pastries to fuel beach walks at the Promenade Turnaround. Inside the Carousel Mall, families can find Cafe Latte serving Oregon-roasted Longbottom Coffee as well as iced and blended coffee drinks, hot chocolate steamers, Italian sodas and whole beans. And savoring a white chocolate macadamia mocha at Seaside Coffee House is like sitting in your own cozy living room, but with more plants, comfier chairs, and fancier drinks.