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Exploring coffee shops: 85°C Bakery Café

85C-CupertinoI was craving a mid-day pick me up, so I popped by 85°C Bakery Café in San Jose around 1:30 last Friday. I pulled up to a gigantic building, expecting a small coffee shop — I didn’t realize it was a chain. I didn’t do too much research on it, I simply found it on Yelp. 85°C Bakery Café isn’t your typical chilled out coffee spot. This coffee & cake bakery means business, and the customers know it. Flowing in and out constantly with multiple drinks in hand and large brown boxes of goodies.

Vanilla-Latte-85C-BakeryPer usual, I placed my order and got a vanilla latte. So while waiting for that I grabbed the last table and waited for my drink to be made.

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85-CupertinpThe ambiance of this spot is like being in a cafeteria. The building itself is nice and clean, but the place has an echo, it’s incredibly busy and loud with customers talking. Not the place to come and quietly drink your coffee in peace, especially with the staff yelling out peoples orders like at Starbucks, but instead “Guest number 449 please!” I guess that’s what I get for heading out to a popular bakery and café during lunch time on a weekday. At one point the place seemed a little less busy, so I decided to count the number of customers in the shop (because what else am I supposed to do when people watching by myself at a coffee shop?), and there were 43 people and it felt empty. Hoo wee! So imagine how large the spot really is.

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Big-ol-latteThere were 7 tables for seating, all but one table was taken which was later snagged after I placed my order. First sip of the latte and I already said I’d be back (in my head – ha!). The whipped foam on top was great, but not the place to go for a fancy latte art, not that it really means much. It’s just to impress the customers a bit. Quite a bit of latte for the money, since I paid $3.50 for it. Which in practice is a dollar less than any of the other spots around, and I felt like I received a larger portion than usual.

I noticed the customers ordering snazzy looking drinks, many of them being bubble tea (I’m not a fan of tapioca in drinks), but some of them had real chopped up peaches in them. Many of the people were there for the cakes and pastries. Every couple of people walked out with a large box of them.

I’ll be back for sure but next time instead of hanging around the noisy spot, I’ll take it to go.

85°C Bakery Café

1183 South De Anza Blvd, San Jose, CA 95129
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Exploring coffee shops: Voyageur du Temps

Voyageur-du-TempsI’m always looking forward to my next exploration of a coffee shop that gives off cool vibes, or a sweet spot to chill out and relax. It’s starting to become a series on my blog, and I’m liking it.

Last week I went to Los Altos with Jessica and her son. We checked out the cities converted train station now turned french bakery and cafe for breakfast now called Voyageur du Temps. Those of you who are familiar with the Los Altos area, knows it’s a great spot to find quaint boutiques, and fantastic one-off restaurants to eat at, like Bumble! It’s also a crazy expensive place to live, one of the most prestigious places in Silicon Valley. You’ll often find rare luxury cars parked out on the streets as people pick up their morning coffee, or do a bit of shopping in the area. I can’t help like act like a constant tourist around these parts, snapping pictures for instagram or let’s get real, to send to my husband.

I received my latte (they didn’t have vanilla lattes, my usual) and a fancy bread thing which I later discovered is called the Star Ring pastry. As you’d expect from around these parts I paid $7.99 for my coffee and pastry, however it was a great little treat to have once in a while. I savored every last bite of that star ring, it was excellent.

Voyageur du Temps has a beautiful interior with a glass window where you can watch the pastry chefs and bakers work their magic in the kitchen to satisfy you of those artisan baked goodies you are craving. I will definitely head back for lunch some day at this little gem!

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Voyageur du Temps

288 First Street, Los Altos, CA 94022
Hours: Monday-Sunday 7am-8pm

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Exploring coffee shops: Chromatic Coffee Co.

Chromatic-headerIt never occurred to me to let you guys in on some of the coffee shops I visit. After I posted a photo of my first Starbucks red cup of the season, my old Graphic Design classmate Geri suggested I check out local coffee establishments rather than large chains like Starbucks. While I do often go to smaller one-off coffee shops, I didn’t really blog about it, except for that one time I went to Bellano!

Today I’m bringing you along with me to Chromatic Coffee, a few blocks down the road from Bellano.Latte-art

For my own personal review purposes I’ve decided to order the same type of drink for each coffee shop I visit, a vanilla latte. I sound some fancy! It’s only because I’m not a fan of regular coffee — flavoured coffee’s is where it’s at you guys. That and iced vanilla coffees. Hoo-wee, yummo! This time I took my iPad, sat down and read for a little, people watched while I was at it too. It was pretty packed when I went this day since I popped in around lunch time. They were playing No Doubt (an ol’ classic fav of mine, brings me back to the early 2000’s when my local climbing gym back home played that). I got lucky and snagged an awesome comfy leather couch to perch myself down on and sip away.

Chromatic-GamutI love whoever did the Graphic Design for this coffee shop, and the fonts they used on the ground coffee packages.

Chromatic-Coffee-CoChromatic doesn’t have a menu up on the wall, but they have a stand alone right in front of the cash register which is clipboard cut in half and smoothed out. Pretty snazzy if you ask me. It’s not the cheapest coffee spot I went to, I ended up paying $5.15 for my vanilla latte. Ouch.

Inside-ChromaticI love watching the barista’s work their magic. One dude was so quick with his hands pouring out two tea pots into two to-go cups at once, a little fascinating to watch especially since I’m a little clumsy.

Chromatic-menu It’s like having “me time” and being social without being social. Know what I mean? I can write a lot of my blog posts here if I didn’t get annoyed and frustrated with my ipad no working with wordpress. Instead, I bring a pen and notebook, sit down for a bit and write a few pages.

Chromatic-latte-artI stuck around for about an hour until my friend from Canada texted me, and I drove over to her house in Sunnyvale to hang out for the afternoon.

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What is your go-to drink when you’re at a coffee shop?

Chromatic Coffee

5237 Stevens Creek Blvd, Santa Clara, CA 95051
Hours: Weekdays 7am-9pm, Weekends 8am-9pm

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