For a town of only 20,000 year-round inhabitants, we have remarkably good coffee in Ashland, Oregon and an abundance of coffee shops. There’s a decidedly foodie vibe to many of our restaurants. We Ashland coffee connoisseurs are proud that we have so many places serving such good Joe.
The hard part is deciding which of our cafés actually serve the best coffee in Ashland.
My husband likes caffeinated coffee and espresso, especially cappuccinos. He owns a home coffee roaster and hand grinds his freshly roasted beans in a Peugeot (the grinder, not the car). He also writes articles for a coffee industry trade magazine. He knows his coffee.
I’m not as passionate about coffee. I drink a decaf latte every other day and the occasional French press. I do have an indoor coffee plant that I’ve been tending to for 20 years, which has finally started growing beans, but I’m not a coffee gourmet like my husband. Despite our different perspectives, we both agree on the best coffee in Ashland.
Here are our three favorite coffee places in Ashland, in order of preference:
1. Case Coffee Roasters: Case, run by a young couple, Tim and Kati Case, and recipient of numerous national and international awards, serves hands down the best coffee in Ashland.
Case Coffee Roasters has two locations: 1255 Siskiyou Boulevard and 44 Lithia Way (where Puck’s Doughnuts used to be; next to the Ashland Wine Cellar.) Hours: Daily, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
It may not be an exaggeration to say that Case serves some of the best coffee in the country. Their coffee is carefully sourced from around the world, roasted on site in a way that maximizes each varietal’s virtues. The friendly staff is skilled and careful preparing your beverages.
Local secret: All the baristas have moms named Susan.
The caveat: Not all the coffee is organic; don’t expect a large selection of pastries (they often sell out.)
2. Noble Coffee Roasting: Another locally owned, locally operated Third Wave coffee place where the beans are roasted on site, Noble Coffee Roasting comes in a close second for the best coffee in Ashland.
Noble Coffee Roasting is located at 281 4th street. Hours: Daily, 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Noble Coffee Roasting directly sources and roasts only organic coffees from around the world, and prepares drinks with organic milk. They serve exotic concoctions like Japanese ice dripped coffee and siphon-brewed coffee, as well as house-brewed cascara (a sparkling lightly caffeinated beverage made from the pulpy fruit surrounding the coffee bean).
Local secret: The owners are fluent in Spanish and work hard to make sure coffee growers they work with are fairly paid.
The caveat: No substitutions. It’s their way or the highway. So if you’d like less milk in that mocha, you’re out of luck.
3. Mix Bakeshop: Mix serves Stumptown coffee, which used to be an Oregon-owned Third Wave coffee roaster but sold out to Peet’s, which originated as a West Coast coffee outfit but is now mostly owned by a privately held German conglomerate based in Luxembourg. The coffee at Mix Bakeshop is still excellent and going to Mix is an experience.
Mix Bakeshop is located at 57 North Main Street. Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
They also serve a wide variety of delicious baked goods, high concept sandwiches on baguettes, and house made organic ice creams, with interesting flavors like Earl Gray chocolate chip and malted milk chocolate.
Local secret: The owner, Jamie North, also owns a burger joint called Flip, which serves high quality locally sourced meat and Mix-baked buns.
The caveat: Mix is always crowded. You will see and be seen (especially if you’re local.) Try sitting outside or downstairs if you want to have a more intimate conversation. But even then, expect it to be noisy.
Case, Noble, and Mix (which is opening a second location soon) are where you’ll find the best coffee in Ashland.
There are some other reputable places to get coffee in Ashland:
Hither–Ashland’s newest arrival on the coffee scene, they also sell local wines and yummy thick-breaded sandwiches
Boulevard Coffee–Inside the Stratford Inn, they use Noble beans to make their coffee.
Cafe 116–Their coffee is organic and roasted by Griffin Creek in Ashland.
Bloomsbury Coffee House–Above Bloomsbury Books, popular with the literary crowd.
Rogue Valley Roasting Company–Affectionately dubbed “Roco,” you’ll find lots of high school students here.
Pony Espresso–In a space shared with Washington Federal, the coffee is mediocre but this is a good place to work or relax, and there is a community meeting room you can use for free.
StoneRidge Coffee–In a shared space with the Growler Guys. James says go here for a beer or a glass of wine (they pour generous portions), not for the coffee, which tastes a little burnt.
We’d love to hear from you. What’s your favorite kind of coffee to drink and where’s your favorite coffee shop? Do you care if the coffee you drink is organic? Share your thoughts and give a shout-out to your favorite company in the comments section below.