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13 days, 100 cups, plenty of buzz

Fri., Sept. 27, 2013

Brandon Davenport’s 50th cup of coffee came at Coeur Coffee House.
Brandon Davenport’s 50th cup of coffee came at Coeur Coffee House.

Connoisseur drinks in Spokane’s coffee culture

SANDPOINT – Brandon Davenport left Los Angeles intent on drinking 100 cups of coffee in two weeks and documenting the undertaking.

He accomplished his mission. But he doesn’t recommend it.

“It was rough. My stomach was torn up,” the 23-year-old said over a cup of cold brew at Evans Brothers Artisan Coffee Roasters, where he also discussed his love of espresso.

“It’s an intensely complex beverage with really subtle notes,” he said. “There are so many variables.”

The Los Angeles barista – and creator and host of a new Web series exploring West Coast coffee culture – was in town for a recent vacation. Five months ago, he had traveled through the region to film visits to three coffee roasters and one coffee shop for “CaffeiNation.”

The new online miniseries documents Davenport’s 5,000-mile, 13-day, caffeine-fueled road trip through eight states, from California to Colorado. Along the way, he met more than 20 small-batch roasters, reached his 100-cup goal, and experienced plenty of heart palpitations, jitters and cases of the sweats.

“It was mental,” he said. “In Spokane, I drank 11 or 13 cups, or something like that.”

Spokane marked the halfway point of his espresso binge. He downed his 50th cup at Coeur Coffeehouse.

He also visited Tom Sawyer Country Coffee, Waverly’s Premium Coffee Roasters and 4 Seasons Coffee Company – and grabbed a sandwich at Stella’s Café. (“Oh dude, I love that place,” he said.)

Davenport described Spokane’s coffee scene as “old-school” and “a little bit more casual” than his previous stops in San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. Still, he said, “I didn’t know Spokane was as wild as it is for coffee.”

Davenport favors straightforward and bold flavors, but isn’t afraid to admit he has an affinity for the diner variety. “It’s a nostalgic flavor,” he said. “I find comfort in it.”

Davenport spent a year working at a café in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, honing the skill of pulling espresso shots.

He came up with the idea for the series earlier this year when he began working as a “coffee specialist” at the creative agency The Pancake Epidemic, a subsection of the Los Angeles-based marketing and branding firm StreetVirus.

At the end of April, Davenport and Los Angeles-based videographer Jesse Meeker set out in a rented van, spending about two hours at each coffee stop and doing “a lot of driving in between.”

Davenport noted he wanted the tone of the project to be casual, not pretentious.

“This wasn’t made for coffee people; it was made for everyone,” he said. “I went with a script of what to ask and didn’t use it once. I wanted to have a conversation.”

An episode is being released each week on The Pancake Epidemic’s YouTube channel, ending Monday, a day after National Drink Coffee Day. Spokane is featured in episode four.

Davenport’s already talking about an East Coast sequel.

And, as for that recent cup at Evans Brothers, he said, “I loved the cold brew. It was really good coffee.”


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