Seems like just about everyone in Douglas County has a favorite coffee spot. Here are a few of ours.
Story by Jennifer Grafiada Photos by Thomas Boyd
From Garden Valley to Oakland, neighborhood coffee shops help keep busy customers caffeinated. Drive-thrus abound, but what if you want to get out of your car, sit down and enjoy a hot beverage and your usual coffee stop isn’t nearby? We’ve got you covered.
GATHERING GROUNDS COFFEE HOUSE
Owners: Felicia Mellor and Peggy Cheatham
Vibe: See and be seen
Coffee By: Cafeto Coffee and Takelma Roasting Co.
Gotta Try: Lavender Dream Mocha paired with a marionberry hazelnut scone
This mother/daughter team is no stranger to the Umpqua Valley. The pair operated While Away Books on Harvard Avenue for 12 years before mom Peggy thought she might want to retire. Daughter Felicia had other ideas, and Gathering Grounds was born.
Gathering Grounds helps downtown business people and visitors refuel with delicious drinks, soups, salads, paninis and pastries. Also available are farm-to-table breakfast burritos, falafel wraps, espresso flights for a dollar a taste (the first is free), kombucha and cold brew on tap.
Felicia makes an addictive vegan cheesecake. Peggy makes fresh biscottis and soup. There is a selection of loose-leaf teas from Mountain Rose Herbs and coffee sourced from five different continents.
Owners: Dale McAlpin and John HooblerEstablished: 2018
Vibe: After-hours speakeasy
Coffee By: Wandering Goat Coffee Co.
Gotta Try: Gourmet grilled cheese (must ask for it)
It may be sunny outside, but inside Darkroom Espresso the ambience is more like twilight. Blues and jazz are the soundtrack, and a piano is in the back for those who want to try it.
Evocative photography is displayed on the walls, all by owner John Hoobler, a professional photographer.
Hoobler says the impetus behind Darkroom Espresso was “To fill an empty space downtown that didn’t have a business in it.” Photography, jazz and coffee seem like a worthy addition.
LE PETIT CAFE
Owners: Connie Smith and Carol Arnett
Vibe: Upscale sophisticate
Coffee By: Cascade Estate Coffees
Gotta Try: French onion soup
At Le Petit, you might think you fell into a rabbit hole and came out a frilly Parisian who likes baguettes and reads Sartre. Which is the point here. Sisters Connie Smith and Carol Arnett wanted to create a pretty little coffee shop in downtown Roseburg.
The lovely decor goes well with the coffee served, and Connie makes customized croissant sandwiches and daily soups, like her famous French onion.
“The other day some people were here from Paris, and they said my soup is the best they’ve ever had,” Connie says.
CASCADIAN COFFEE CO.
Owner: Gabriel Stratton
Vibe: Community hangout
Coffee By: Cafeto Coffee
Gotta Try: Coffee Cubano, brewed with raw sugar and cinnamon
If you’re hungry and near Cass Street, here’s the perfect spot for a house-made salad and a cup of something good.
Owner Stratton has a laid-back air although he clearly has a lot going on. “We try to be involved in the community,” he says. “We are not just a coffee shop.”
Stratton rents out his kitchen to local food and drink makers (like OmGrown Kombucha) and the adjacent gallery for special events.
While admiring the local art or browsing a book, customers can enjoy large house-made cookies, filling breakfasts, like the “Egg MacGuffen,” or just some good coffee. Everything is made by hand.
MY COFFEE AND THE WINE EXPERIENCE
Owners: Heidi and Savannah UnderwoodEstablished: 2005
Vibe: Power lunch, Roseburg style
Coffee by: Portland Roasting Coffee
Gotta try: Pumpkin chocolate chip muffin
At around 2 p.m. on a Monday, the line is six deep but moves quickly. A woman calmly crochets, sitting by herself at a large table. A pair of college students have postcards and highlighters covering every inch of their table as they study a course. In a corner, a man in a black coat is focused on his laptop. At the counter, I order the turkey pesto panini to go. It’s finger-licking good.
WHITEHORSE COFFEE & TEA CO.
Owners: Kristin and Leo Lusk, David and Leticia MacDonald
Vibe: Grandpa’s awesome den
Coffee by: Whitehorse Coffee & Tea Co.
Gotta Try: Momma Kristin’s homemade soups
A gorgeous 1957 flamenco red Chevy Bel Air in pristine condition is parked out front, near the giant white horse statues that guard the entrance. Its owner is John Youman, a proud Sutherlin resident. From his table, where he has made himself at home with a newspaper, he eyes me as I stand hesitating at the counter.
“Everything,” he tells me. “Everything here is good.”
Youman’s favorites include the bacon omelet and the reuben sandwich.
Youman is also a big fan of Whitehorse’s house-roasted coffee.
“It’s the best coffee in the entire state,” he says. “My sister and brother-in-law come down from Seattle just to buy Whitehorse coffee.”
THE EYE OPENER & FIFTY SHADES OF GRAPE
Owner: Jennifer VogelEstablished: 2016
Vibe: Inexplicably sexy
Coffee By: Equator Coffee
Gotta Try: Quiche
The outside is mint-green and white and looks a bit like an oversized dollhouse. A placard says it was a “Cleaning, Pressing and Tailor Shop” around the turn of the last century.
Now you can get your caffeinated drink of choice or a local vintage from the owner’s Vogel Vineyards.
Locals love the freshly made breakfast and lunch specials, like teriyaki bowls and biscuits and gravy. Local photography adorns the walls, and seating is plentiful for a small space. The countertop displays Danish pastries and scones.
You’ll have to go elsewhere for your clothing needs, but if you’re hungry for some home-cooked comfort food paired with coffee or wine, set your sights on the Eye Opener.