Festival brews excitement on Whidbey

Cindy Davis of Clinton, a barista for the Southern Cross Freeland location, will be among the baristas steaming up tasty coffee specialty drinks Saturday during the Northwest Coffee Fest on South Whidbey. - Cynthia Woolbright
Cindy Davis of Clinton, a barista for the Southern Cross Freeland location, will be among the baristas steaming up tasty coffee specialty drinks Saturday during the Northwest Coffee Fest on South Whidbey.
— image credit: Cynthia Woolbright

Saturday will be a day to showcase something for which the Northwest is grandly famous, something Whidbey Islanders can’t seem to do without: Coffee.

This weekend, South Whidbey businesses and the Langley South Whidbey Chamber of Commerce are percolating the inaugural Northwest Coffee Fest to honor all that is the roasted bean.

Loretta Martin, director of the Langley South Whidbey Chamber of Commerce, has been pondering the festival for over a year now, but it was a sit-down with fellow chamber member Joe Menth that got the festival rolling. Whether the discussion happened over coffee, they can’t remember, but they don’t doubt it.

The festival came as such a no-brainer idea to them and to the board of the Langley South Whidbey Chamber that it was decided with only eight months to run with the coffee-charged event.

“This has been something I’ve been thinking about for some time so I already had some ideas going,” Martin said. “I was blown away to find there was no coffee festival in the Northwest, except for ones hosted by big coffee manufactures that were only open to wholesalers.”

During Saturday’s festival, locals and visitors to South Whidbey can take roasting tours, sit in on cupping sessions, visit restaurants featuring coffee infused and flavored menu items, drink specialty coffee beverages, and view coffee art.

Punch cards — which can be purchased at the chamber office or any participating restaurant or coffee bar for $7 — allow participants discounts on featured coffee festival food and drink. Posters and handouts will label a business as coffee friendly.

Mukilteo Coffee Company off Crawford Road will lead roasting tours and offer cupping sessions all day. Information will also be displayed about shade tree coffee and sustainable coffee growing methods.

Clinton Nursery has brought in a shipment of coffee plants and seeds that will be featured festival weekend. In the Country on Langley’s First Street will offer 20 percent off Mukilteo Coffee, and down the street, Island Life is slashing 20 percent off all coffee tables. Isle of Art will feature the original art work of Eziu, who creates warm images using not paint, but coffee.

People with good negotiating skills should stop by Good Cheer Thrift in Langley, as anything shoppers can convince the staff of being coffee related will be 50 percent off. Good Cheer will also be pouring free cups of Whidbey Coffee and the Star Store will be pouring free cups of Tony’s Coffee. Bella Cucina and Southern Cross will team together to give people demonstrations of different kitchen machines for producing coffee and espresso. Puget Sound Business Machines will also be coffee friendly, North Star Trading Company will have a sale on demitasse sets, and Quilting by the Sea will have any coffee fabrics on sale.

There will be no shortage of coffee-infused drinks, treats and food available Saturday. Cafe Langley will have a lunch entree, the Braeburn will have items for breakfast and lunch, the Edgecliff in Langley will have lunch and dinner items, Trattoria Giuseppe in Clinton will feature a coffee-infused dessert, the Langley Village Bakery will have java sweet treats and coffee flowing, and the Smilin’ Dog at Bayview is also among Coffee Fest participating businesses. JW Desserts and Jousting Penguin Coffee at Ken’s Corner have paired to prepare delectable coffee desserts. The Island Coffee House inside Langley’s Golden Otter Used Books store will have its grand opening and will celebrate with specialty drinks. Also steaming up specialty coffee beverages will be Whidbey Coffee and Southern Cross.

During what is expected to be an elbow-room-only event of the day, local B&B owners will show off their baking skills during a coffee cake baking contest 1-2 p.m. at the Country Cottage.

For people who think just drinking coffee isn’t enough homage, Spa Essencia will offer coffee body polishes and Whidbey Island Soap Company has whipped up a coffee bath scrub. Hawaiian Island Massage will offer people chocolate covered coffee beans and 10-minute massages to enjoy as they wind down from the coffee buzz for a while.

To top the evening Whidbey Coffee’s Lighthouse Cafe will host a poetry slam 6-8 p.m. Saturday that will no doubt have java infused poetry flowing. Keeping the buzzed writers in check will be local “Conductor of Fun,” Jim Freeman.

There was no need for the coffee to come out of the woodwork for the beginning Northwest Coffee Fest, so Martin and Menth see the festival as only growing in the future.

“Talk about Seattle or the Northwest and two things that always come up are rain and coffee — it’s inevitable,” Martin said.

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