We know, we know. The coffee thing is over-priced, over-hyped and over-caffeinated. Who really needs four shots of espresso a day? Um, we do. Which is why we were curious, on a recent Saturday morning, about a big sign in front of a tiny drive-thru just off the Arizona State University campus. The sign read, "FREE COFFEE."
We burned rubber, getting in line. And it was there we learned all about Dutch Bros. Coffee, a chain of coffee shops based in the Pacific Northwest. Sound familiar? Not quite these folks are from Oregon (well, they're actually Dutch, but they started the company in a tiny town called Grants Pass, Oregon) and they own almost a hundred shops, rather than almost a gazillion. The coffee was cheaper than the other guy's (even on a day when you have to pay) and tasted great, with specialty flavors like Almond Joy and Milky Way. We even loved the cute cups, decorated with a windmill and a bunch of tulips.
The D.B.'s motto is "All roads lead to Dutch Bros." Not quite at least, not yet, here in Arizona. But if you're in Tempe, we recommend you stop by; syrups and whipped cream are always free, and even the tall, er, we mean small drink comes with an automatic double shot. Truth be told, it's more of a drive-thru than a house, but such is the way of our coffee culture these days.