Caffeinated journey through Carson Valley

It's hard to go too far in Carson Valley without seeing a sign of the coffee cup, hearing the sound of the frothing of milk or smelling espresso being crafted.

There are no fewer than 13 coffee establishments, sometimes within steps of each other, on Highway 395 and in the Gardnerville Ranchos where lattés, mochas and cappuccinos are available.

Coffeehouses today are a fusion of the diner and lounge where people come to have a breakfast beverage, take a break from the workday, listen to music and have an after-dinner coffee.

There are two Starbucks Coffee stores, one on each end of town, where people can sit and drink or get coffee on the go .

Coffee on the go is also available at Sierra Nevada Trading Co. in Minden Village where an espresso bar is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7 days a week.

For convenience, Nevada Joe's Coffee on Main at 1572 Highway 395 is on the main drag in Minden. Frequent customers have punch cards where buying 11 coffee drinks earns the holder a free one.

Besides good, friendly service, barista Ashlee Stonestreet said they serve "a lot of lattés and four-berry smoothies."

Lattés and frequent customer rewards are also available at Northern Nevada's Pony Espresso at the corner of Tillman and Kimmerling in the Ranchos. Pony Espresso offers a drive-through, coffeehouse atmosphere inside and tables outside.

Employee Janet Levy said owner Karen Moss bakes the pastries and creates the drink recipes.

"Gary (Moss) makes sure we have the knowledge," Levy said. "We have to take a test to understand the coffee."

Keeping with the idea of creating an atmosphere to meet people, Shady Grove Coffee Co. at 1411 Highway 395 in Gardnerville features espresso drinks during the day and an open mic night every Friday. All ages are able to appreciate a place to talk and listen to music.

Holy Grounds Coffee House in the Meadowdale Center next to the Gardnerville post office features a coffeehouse atmosphere that also attracts a younger crowd.

Manager Ellen Webster said Holy Grounds is a Christian-based operation featuring a game room and Internet access.

"We have great people here," Webster said. "We hope to touch you inside as well as outside."

The 88 Cups coffee, tea and Internet shop has espresso drinks, smoothies and Boba Chilly, an iced drink made with tapioca pearls.

Owners Chochain Lee and Angel Syang hope to have music soon on their patio in view of Jobs Peak and the Sierras.

"We want to provide a nice environment so people can meet," said Lee. "A classy meeting place for people to connect."

For places to enjoy coffee drinks while dining, there's Jimmy G's at 1595 Highway 395 and Barone & Reed Food Co. on Esmeralda in Minden.

Across the street from Barone & Reed, is The Bank Parlor & Pub where homemade pastries add to the coffee experience.

Culinary student Emily Peterson, 19, comes to work at 5:30 a.m. to bake brownies, coffee cake or her recipe of raspberry-lemon cream cheese muffins.

Manager Janelle Whatcott said The Bank is distinctive because "you can have coffee in the morning, come in to have lunch and after work you can have a cocktail."

Paradise Café at 1483 Highway 395 in Gardnerville is famous for their Jamaican-Hawaiian food, smoothies and Illy coffee. Francesco Illy is credited for bringing Italian-style espresso to the United States in the 1930s and the Illy family continues the a coffee-crafting tradition today.

The Carson Valley Inn at 1627 Highway in 395 expanded their Job's Perk coffee house with the addition of wines by the glass and more food choices.

"Job's Perk was under-utilized at night so we added wine so people can come in a relax at our patio area," said Director of Food and Beverage Dave Goodwin. "And because you're at the CVI, you can have a shot of Baileys in your espresso if you want."

Job's Perk is known for their Chicago Red Hot hot dog and soups, as well as sandwich wraps, salads, fruit and cheese platters and desserts such as pineapple upside-down muffins and the Big-ass Brownie.

"We're the base camp for fisherman, golfers and other sports people," said Goodwin. Baskets are on hand to build a picnic lunch to take on a fishing trip or lunch at Minden Park.

According to non-profit community development organization TechnoServe, coffee is second only to petroleum in terms of dollars traded worldwide and is one of the most widely consumed beverages.

The Coffee Review said an average cup of coffee has 100-150 mg., espresso has 80-120 mg. and tea has 40 mg. of caffeine.


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