The smell of coffee alone can make people more alert. In Boise, however, go juice is brewing into something more than a pick-me-up or part of the morning routine.
"We always love it when people say, 'You don't even have to add cream and sugar,' because our coffee actually tastes good," said Westward Coffee & Supply (850 W. Main St.) co-owner Nicole Powell.
At Westward, Powell serves up brews made with beans from Post Falls-based Doma Coffee, Hailey-based Maps Coffee Roasters and Boise-based Afro Phil Coffee. She and other joe slingers around town are part of the growing "third-wave coffee" trend toward offering java that can be spoken of in terms of flavor sensations, rather than simply as liquid lightning.
Westward occupies an unusual space, both literally and within Boise's expanding selection of cafes. It shares an address with Tiger Prop Real Estate and Boise Vintage—a unique setting where mid-century furniture, high-stakes business deals, and espresso and drip coffee mingle.
Serving up one of the meanest mochas in town—which features fresh-shaved chocolate—Powell said she "wanted to offer a bridge" between places like Dutch Bros. and cafe Slow By Slow.
For the past year, Slow By Slow (405 S. Eighth St.) has been a haven for the Treasure Valley's most selective sippers. Co-owners Joe and Diana Shafer opened their craft coffee bar in February 2016, where they keep a limited selection of options—drip coffee and espresso drinks—and a rotating menu of medium- and light-roast coffees with flavor profiles that include cherries and other fruits, vanilla and chocolate.
Slow By Slow has attracted a slew of regulars who have taken a shine to the complex flavors of lighter-roasted coffees and the establishment's streamlined offerings, making the shop "feel more like a bar sometimes," said Joe.
It has also become popular among out-of-towners, luring in newcomers with its stylish Instagram feed.
Joe said he "expected resistance" to his menu, but the online reviews of the shop have been positive. He chalked it up to craft coffee's growing exposure.
"People are just more aware now than they used to be," he said.
If Slow By Slow is the new breed of cafe, Janjou Patisserie (1754 W. State St.) is the old guard. Co-owner and James Beard Award-nominated pastry chef Moshit Mizrachi-Gabbitas only serves Italian-style coffee roasted by Ketchum-based Lizzy's Fresh Coffee because she wants "to keep it simple and original."
"I don't believe in all the flavors of coffee and sugary flavors," she said.
Janjou adheres strictly to old-world standards of coffee preparation and service—all espresso drinks are double-shot by default, and the largest available beverage is 12 ounces.
"We don't have 16- or 20-ounce [drinks] because in Europe they don't have those sizes," Mizrachi-Gabbitas said. "There's no such thing as a 12-ounce cappuccino."