Desperate for Coffee in Tok

Coffee beans
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I broke my coffee grinder again. I do it every so often, and my hubby has to fiddle with it to get it working again. I was just thinking the other day “Why am I buying coffee beans and grinding them? Why not just get ground beans?” And then I have no ground coffee in my moment of need.

There are no coffee stands or coffee shops in Tok.

Well, there is one that is closed right now and may or may not open in the summer, or so I hear. I’d love to have a coffee stand right now where I can drive through on my way to taking my daughter to her babysitter. A sip of hot java with half and half would suit me just fine right about now.

My husband suggested that I open a coffee shop or stand. He thinks it would be right up my alley. Even if it were slow in the winters, as long as I had wifi, I could get my work and writing done in between making espresso drinks for folks. Of course, I have no idea how to make coffee, much less espresso drinks. I should look into taking a class!

I just figured out recently that if I put one scoop of coffee for every cup of water in my regular old coffee maker, it is the perfect flavor every time. Who knew?

Right now, I’m staring at the un-ground coffee beans wondering if I can smash them with a soup can. Better stop by Three Bears for ground coffee instead!

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  1. KPelli

     /  March 6, 2009

    I have been reading your blog since I heard about it on NPR and feel obligated to comment on Alaskan coffee. I visited Alaska last summer and couldn’t find a decent cup of coffee anywhere. It was all light brown, coffee tinted water from Kodiak to Fairbanks and all points in between. I thought how is it possible in a state that gets colder than anywhere else that you can’t find a good, dark, rich cup of coffee, but alas I didn’t. I love reading about life in Tok, I drove through last summer and bout picnic provisions at Three Bears Market.

  2. Mark D

     /  March 6, 2009

    KPelli, you couldn’t have looked very far for good coffee in Alaska. You should have asked the locals. We have a rich variety of local roasters from Sitka to Fairbanks and some great coffee shops. I hated coffee till I moved to Anchorage. If I ever leave, I know I’ll dread having to drink Lower 48 swill.

    • Totally agree with Mark D. I’ve had fantastic coffee so far in places I’ve visited in Alaska and it is about asking locals. I also read reviews of coffee places in Alaska local newspapers or on their web sites. And in Anchorage, the choices for coffee absolutely boggle the mind. A coffee stand on nearly every block. A great one is Terrabella’s (organic). Most of the coffee stands, in fact, are owned by people who really care about good coffee and good customer service.

      Hey, I did grab a cuppa at Fast Eddy’s. Has that “diner coffee” taste which does make me nostalgic for my waitressing days. Hey, beggars can’t be choosers.

  3. anon

     /  March 6, 2009

    you should just go to the chevron station and have them make your coffee.. yes they have an espresso maker. then maybe you should just go to three bears and buy a new grinder. they have them there too.. wow who knew a store in Tok that SELLS STUFF.

  4. Chevron has an espresso maker! WooHoo! I’m there!

    Three Bears has LOTS of stuff. They are pretty well-stocked with things you don’t even realize until you really walk up and down every aisle.

  5. Mariah

     /  March 6, 2009

    Yep – they do have an espresso maker at Chevron! Year round availability to the “high octane” stuff!

  6. Rocksee

     /  March 6, 2009

    Oh I love the idea of you running a coffee stand! When I was in Fairbanks over the summer that was one thing that I thought was so awesome. We don’t have that in the lower 48. I think that would be a super job and a great way to connect with people. Kinda be a gathering spot for Tokites! You should go for it!

    And Kelli I was only in Fairbanks, but I had some AMAZING coffee while I was there.. I think I stopped at 10 coffee stands in a weeks time.

  7. Two words: KALADI BROTHERS. I love that coffee so much I buy it online and have them send it to Alabama.
    I think you should open a coffee stand! You COULD run it out of your SUV. You can run a small espresso machine off your car battery. Then you have no overhead. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Mariah

     /  March 7, 2009

    HA!! OK – LOVED – Zed’s comment, that’s an awesome idea – I think you would DEFINITELY get some serious publicity for that, Aliza – what an interesting concept!!

  9. I agree, open your own coffee shop! You can fill it with old, used books, your other passion. Or run it out of the RV! Until then, can you order from a place you like in Anchorage? You can get it pre-ground, just store it in the freezer (or outside).

    Just how are you breaking your grinder? I drink WAY more coffee than you and still have the same one I’ve had for years.

  10. Well, I can never figure out how to clean it so kind of pour water into it to rinse it, then put it upside down to drain. Using a damp paper towel never gets into the crevices. I will need some serious lessons if I were to open up a coffee shop – or hire a professional barrista. I’m “domestically challenged.”

  11. anon

     /  March 7, 2009

    supposed to use stale bread to clean out grinders. can also use coffee grinders as spice grinders. throw the bread in (in cubes) zip for as long as it would normally take to grind coffee and then dump into the trash.

  12. anon

     /  March 7, 2009

    btw, three bears has a commercial grinder if you buy the beans whole there.

  13. There was that hotel (Brown Bear? Something Bear, I think) that had an Espresso machine/cart. I hear it’s closed down, but that big cart/maker probably didn’t go anywhere. I bet they’d sell it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. intok

     /  March 8, 2009

    Golden Bear is just closed for the winter. I imagine come May the espresso machine will be in operation again. And the coffee klatch will pick up there–however, I think they drink free or regular coffee, not espresso.

  15. Jan Persson

     /  March 9, 2009

    C. Roach can teach you how— he has a coffee cart in the summer…..

  16. A. Fib

     /  March 26, 2009

    A coffee cart in Tok just ain’t gonna work. Not enuff’ coffee yuppies around who are gonna pay more than 75 cents a cup for a regular cup a’ joe.
    Remember the Loose Moose? Northstar? Golden Bear? Can’t live offa’ burnt bean alone…Right, Danno? Not in these times, sorry.
    But what do I know, I’m a tea totaller, m’self…

  17. Danno

     /  March 27, 2009

    Right A. Fib The best coffee is “cowboy coffee”.
    You know, that’s where you heat water in a sauce
    pan till boiling then throw in the coffee. When it settles you drink it! When I’m making it on the
    campfire and my horses smell the aroma, they
    jump up and click their heels! All four of them!

  18. Mr. Ed

     /  April 1, 2009

    Well, Ahll be! If I ain’t heard bout no coffee-drinkin’-hoof-clickin’ ol’ whinneys doing the two step- I mean FOUR step- cuzza’ your dang potent camp coffee !!!

  19. kezia

     /  June 2, 2009

    you’re hilarious! i’ve been reading your blog ever since someone i know told me about it (francine – i think you know her too) — this particular craving for java cracks me up because that was exactly what i craved the most when i used to live there! ๐Ÿ™‚

    are you going to open a coffee house in tok? with all the tourists that come by that might actually work out for you, especially if you have a couple of computers that provide fast wifi that customers can use for a fee — that just might be profitable ๐Ÿ™‚


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