Coffee in Downtown T-Town, Part 1: Casualties

Note: This Tacoma coffee discussion is a necessary two-parter, even as it pertains to my little corner of town, and my little preferences. You know how it is.

Something weird has been going on downtown, and it has seriously, personally affected me and my daily java enjoyment.

First of all, The Harbor Rock, the little lunch/espresso café in the bottom of the Wells Fargo building on 12th & Pac closed. Yes, I know this happened awhile ago, but it’s an integral detail to the situation at hand.

Beth at The Harbor Rock used to be the only woman in my walkable Tacoma who could master one my favorite and stupidly particular orders: Triple, tall, vanilla soy latte with half-the-syrup. Everyone else pales in comparison, with their measly burnt and flat and over-sugary offerings. She could even foam the soy, which seems to be a tough asking for a lot of places. Trust me, I’ve tried everyone else, particularly after Beth and the Harbor Rock mysteriously disappeared one weekend last spring.

Oddly enough, the replacement in that corner space is also part of my woe. Bernardo’s Aroma used to be located on the corner of Pac & 10th, and he used to make the only triple, tall, half-the-chocolate mocha to my liking. (Yes, I have a thing about triples and halves, and yes, I’ve tried many many alternatives…). I think the Giradelli’s dark chocolate syrup was the main thing I loved.

Then one day last fall, Bernardo packed up and moved out, leaving his restaurant—and the menu—to the new proprietors of Vinum. The weird part of all this is that he reappeared a month later—with the same lunch menu—one block away, in the void left by The Harbor Rock.

It’s so bizarre… Vinum and Aroma now offer exactly the same lunch menu, from the sandwiches to the salads to the daily specials. I’ve heard there’s a separate appetizer and dinner menu, but I work downtown, so lunch time is my only frame of reference, and it’s just weird. In any case,  I have no idea what’s up here, and would love any enlightenment.

The one thing that is not the same, at either establishment:My favorite mocha.

Giradelli’s is gone at Vinum, replaced by some all-sugar brown goo. And I honestly think the girl forgot to put the shots in my cup.

So, given that important differentiator, when given the choice to turn right or left from my office lobby and walk 1 half block to Vinum or to Aroma, I’ve stayed loyal to Bernardo. He gave me credit once when I forgot my wallet, always remembers that I write poetry, and hired me to freelance some web-copy for a project of his. And the man could make a mocha, y’know? Could. See where this is going?

Ever since he moved and hired some new gal for the afternoons… my mocha is pretty mediocre. Too sweet. Thin. Meh. Rather than start a futile search for an alternative, I’ve just quit drinking them.

I don’t know what else to say. I’m running out of steam for this, but it’s all very weird. And a very sad state of affairs.


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