North Lake Tahoe

Snow, ski and a Happy New Year!

For this year’s New Year celebration we rented a cabin in North Lake Tahoe with some friends.  It was a perfect opportunity to take a couple of days off, ski, hike, play games, drink, eat, laugh and of course: enjoy some local coffee.

For those of you not familiar with Lake Tahoe, this is a gorgeous place that is only 3 to 4 hours away from the San Francisco Bay Area. During winter there are plenty of ski resorts and during summer you can always do hiking, fishing, biking, etc. It is located in the border of California with Nevada, so that you could be skiing during the morning and playing black jack at night.

By the second morning we ran out of the coffee that some of our friends brought. This was a perfect excuse to explore what were the local options to buy coffee and enjoy a cup next to the gorgeous lake.
I have found that if I use Google or Yelp and type  “coffee roaster” or “coffee roasting”  it normally list those coffee shops where they roast their own coffee and where people care more about what they are brewing. On the other hand, if I only type “coffee” or “ cafe” or “espresso” then I get a long list of “Cafes” that includes: cafeterias, delis, restaurants or even pizza places.

Since the cities around here are very small, I wasn't expecting to be able to find anything. I was glad when my quick Yelp search displayed Coffee Connexion Roasters in Tahoe City, only 15 minutes away from our cabin.  We drove there and found it located in a small mall next to a Safeway. I liked that the place has character. It has a deck with patio seating where you can appreciate part of the lake. They also have very ingenious bicycle seats that I haven’t seen in other places.

The ladies behind the counter were very friendly and the service was very good. We ordered a couple of lattes and it was fun to see that they were like a negative photograph of a traditional latte. In a regular latte the milk is what creates the art, in these ones the coffee shot created the art. This was interesting to see, but the milk was very foamy and I normally prefer it when the milk is thicker and it blends with the coffee instead of sitting on top.

We also bought a bag of coffee for our cabin. They have a variety of coffee beans on sale that are locally roasted and they offered some free tastings in order for us to select the one we liked.  Something we noticed is the all their beans had dark roasts. I would have preferred if they had slightly lighter roasts. Specially, since, after writing the post about Dark and Caramelly, I discovered that I prefer medium roasts instead of very dark ones.

Overall it is a good place to sit down and enjoy a book or just to seat and contemplate nature. However, in my opinion, there is some room for improvement in their coffee preparation process. As I mentioned, it was interesting to see the latte art but the milk was very foamy. I would also be great if they could offer more roasting options.

The last day, before we started our journey back home, we stopped for a coffee at Waterman's Landing, a small place next to the bay. You can take your coffee outside and sit on a bench with a gorgeous view, but the coffee was not good. The milk was so hot that for a moment it reminded me the McDonald Liebeck v. McDonald's lawsuit. Besides potential tongue burns, the problem of serving the milk that hot is that it gets burnt and ruins the taste of the coffee. This is one of the reasons I normally recommend to drink coffee at specialized coffee places where they don't do something else, i.e. rent kayaks or paddle boards.

Happy New Year!