New Year’s Day, Murphys, California


There used to be one place to get a coffee drink in Murphys. Now there are eight. (There used to be one tasting room, at the west end of town, too, and now Main Street is practically one long tasting room.)

At the east end of Main Street, not far off Highway 4, Gold Country Coffee is the original. It is open Tuesday through Saturday, only until noon. I’ve had coffee drinks there – I think they were good but I remember them more as the only ones I could get. I don’t have a clear memory of flavor or of having a strong reaction to the beverage.


At the corner, heading west, Alchemy Deli and Wine Bar offers coffee drinks. Their mochas have a lot of steamed milk and chocolate but sometimes it’s a little hard to find the coffee taste. 



In that same block, the new cupcake bakery, Lila and Sage, apparently offers coffee and espresso drinks too – and so does Yogurt Your Way. I’ve never been into either of those shops so I can’t speak to their coffee quality.


 On the same side of the street about a block down, One Leaf is the new coffee and tea shop. I had a mocha there this trip. It was fine but I think the next time I go there I’ll just have a plain coffee. Oh, and they did not offer decaf.


If you dash across the street, dodging Harleys and SUVs, you can get a coffee drink at Grounds, an excellent restaurant in about the center of the block. Grounds serves great breakfasts; they make a melt-in-your-mouth-tender rib eye steak and a nice Ceasar salad, as well as good pasta and some fine seafood dishes. They do high quality cocktails and they make espresso drinks. It’s probably my favorite coffee place.



The Peppermint Stick has been in town longer than I’ve been coming there, and that’s at least 30 years. I mean, you can see how old the building is. The Stick serves Starbuck’s, so if you like Starbuck’s, seek them out. I find Starbuck’s coffee too mild, and I don’t get the sense that the staffers’ hearts are into the mission of serving coffee. I think they want to serve food.


In the next block, Aria Bakery offers espresso drinks too. I also found theirs to be a bit bland but their baked goods, most especially their breads, are heavenly.

 On New Year’s day I made a mistake at Grounds. I ordered a peppermint mocha. It’s a seasonal thing with me, but once again, the spice of the mint and the sweetness of the chocolate overpowered that rich, dark, smoky bite I was wishing for. I should have just gotten a peppermint hot chocolate. A learning moment, there.

So I would say, my mistake aside, for an espresso drink go to Grounds; for straight coffee, or specialty tea, check out One Leaf, and for exquisite baked goods, Aria Bakery.


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