Argonaut is nearing its third year of being open. It is pretty amazing to think how far we’ve come! When Noah and I opened the doors, well let’s be honest... opened the windows, it was just the two of us making coffee and we didn’t even have a real menu yet! Seriously, we thought it was ok to not have a menu- haha! We were naive, energetic and utterly optimistic. That first year was a whirlwind but we learned a tremendous amount and had to make it work and work we have!
Now, in addition to our espresso drinks, we have a full breakfast and lunch menu, comprised of our own house recipes and always make everything from scratch at Argonaut! We employ five beautiful human beings who keep us sane and happy. AND almost every day there is a line out of our window of people waiting for delicious fresh baked Biscuit Sandwiches, tasty Hipster Avocado Toasts, and always our kick-ass craft espresso!
Sometimes I look too close and feel how small Argonaut is, but it’s size shouldn’t disguise how mighty it truly is.
I know Valentine’s Day is cheesy + silly + essentially created by Hallmark but it is also fun to indulge in the love! In honor of that love, come by the shop TODAY because on this Valentine’s Day Argonaut has made you donuts; a little sweetness 'cause we’re so sweet on you!
This year, we want to share our top 14 coffee things, the things we love the most and use everyday at the shop but conveniently can also be used in your home for your own coffee brewing delight!
The Kalita Wave is, in our opinion, the ultimate home, single brew, pour-over. It gives you a well rounded flavor, showcasing the best of what your beans have to offer. Don’t forget the filters and Hario Electric Brewer. This brewer gives you the best pour with its goose-neck spout. If you are looking to hone in your coffee tasting experience we recommend investing in a kitchen scale to get the job done.
When brewing in your home, or anywhere for that matter it is important to get your priorities straight and don’t mess around- you need a Lucky Cat to ensure none of that bad luck seeps in.
For your garnishes we always have our trusty Kuhn Rikon peeler and Microplane Spice Grater (mini) within hands reach!
The best way to enjoy your freshly brewed coffee is of course in a mug by MF Pottery! They’re made here in town and are simply the best! If you are opting for a smaller version, using an Aeropress or home espresso machine and prefer an espresso or macchiato, notNeutral makes a heck of an espresso cup! And, don’t forget your demitasse spoon.
Of course, we have to say your cup of coffee can only be as good as the beans you brewed- stick with the always good, Blue Star Coffee, or for your more adventurous mornings, Lookout Coffee, roasted right here in Leavenworth!
Last, but certainly not least, you must always give heart when making coffee. If you don’t care, your coffee will never be as good as if you do. But, if you want someone else to do that last part just come down to Argonaut where we always serve coffee with all of our heart.
Love you guys + Happy Valentine’s Day!
As I write this, the snow is falling lightly out the window. Such a contrast to the heavy, wet snow we’ve been getting lately in Leavenworth. The town feels quiet. In order to build momentum and actually work on something today instead of letting the quiet softness lull me into a very tempting nap, I’ve brewed up a cup of some very fine beans: Lookout Coffee Roaster’s newest, Guatemalan Barrel Aged. Yes- the beans are aged in a barrel of wine before they are roasted. Just one of the great ideas coming from Jake Carvitto, the owner and roaster of Lookout Coffee.
At Argonaut, we’re always looking for the next adventure so working with Jake is a logical partnership. He chooses beans that excite him, they are interesting and exceptional. It is fun to work with someone here in town who loves coffee so much and in a different way, on a different side of the coin than ours.
A couple of weeks ago, Noah and I got the chance to take a peek behind the scenes: we had the honor of being the first guests to see Lookout’s roasting in action. In his 16ft X 18ft hut, Jake warmly welcomed us in. The smell reminiscent of popcorn was floating in the air, we knew the roasting had begun.
For his full time job, Jake is a science teacher and as we observed him working it was easy to see the science behind roasting. It’s all about precise measurements, temperatures, tracking, formulas, math, data, logs. If you want a different result, change the formula! Many people have asked us if we ever consider roasting beans ourselves and my answer is always the same- no, I am passionate about being a barista- I will leave the roasting up to the people who are passionate about roasting. Together we can make something beautiful.
Last week, Argonaut had the opportunity to help Jake with a coffee information event held at Rootsone Creative (a Co-Working space here in Leavenworth). It was a little information about coffee basics and A LOT of brewing- from espresso to pour-over to french press. We opened every kind of Lookout Coffee in order to taste the difference in type of bean and brew method. It was a fun time to get our hands dirty and talk coffee with friends and new faces, with those who knew much and those who knew little. That’s the thing about coffee- it has the power to bring people together, together on a common ground.
The past few months have been a blur… Summer was very busy! It saw the hiring of employees, expanding our menu, meeting new faces of locals in town and nearby. There were weddings, engagements and celebrations; parties, trips and adventures! As Noah and I turned into the fall season, feeling the cold air creep up, we thought, “Aw, perhaps, a break from it all!” But, knowing the rhythm of Leavenworth now, we knew we had to take that extra time, that extra energy and put it towards projects. The past month, you may have noticed, have been dedicated to (in small ways) remodeling Argonaut’s space. We’ve painted walls and jars and boards. We’ve hung artwork and shelves. We’ve added heat lamps and lights. We’ve done a lot. Now the cold winter months are already upon us and we’re ready!
About two weeks ago, Noah’s sister had a baby. A little baby girl named Luci. We went to see them right after she was delivered only because of our gracious employees who held down the fort the entire weekend (giving their time) so we could spend it with family.
When I look at Luci, I start to look back at when Argonaut had just come into existence. (I know a baby is VERY different from a business, but for the sake of comparison...) I think about how when we first started Argonaut, we had no idea what we were doing. There was so much fear- wondering if we were doing it right. Are we going to mess everything up? Our little business, although small, still required us to make many decisions. We were overwhelmed, sleep deprived and tired.
Then the days go by, you catch a rhythm, a cadence of how it all goes. After a while, every decision isn’t as big or require as much energy. The little business starts to seemingly run itself- there are systems and methods in place. How far it has come and grown. Argonaut might still be a small place but it makes (at the very least) Noah and me so happy and very proud. We feel so blessed to live in this beautiful place. To have been given the opportunity to grow our business here. So blessed that we can make coffee every day for the people who find themselves here.
It is an amazing feeling, watching something grow, to have a hand in that growth and be able to have the time to stand back and say, “It is good and all is well.”
Moving into this holiday season- the busy Christmas lighting weekends here in town, the parties, the crazy- in the calm before the storm, I feel lucky to be ready this time. We’ve grown our little shop up and it’s ready for anything!
This summer has been a HOT one to say the least and most of you are wanting cold beverages to cool you down. One of our most popular drinks right now is Cold Brew. Made with our Toddy system, the corse coffee grounds sit in cold water for 20 hours until we pull the plug and let the water drip through. The process is long but it is well worth the wait because the result is an extremely smooth, extremely caffeinated cup of iced coffee. Just what you need to break through the lethargic heat!
In honor of Cold Brew and Argonaut's love for it, I've written a Haiku:
When it’s hot: COLD BREW
Argonaut makes it for you
Drink it up: COLD BREW
Drink it in the sun
Drink it and you'll feel young
Drink it, it is fun!
Like singing a song
Love it, savor every drop
Drink it all day long
Cold Brew is so good
Keeping you running tip-top
Oh yes, yes you should
Argonaut Cold Brew
All summer long just for you
Drink it up: COLD BREW
Five Blog posts ago we wrote about how it felt natural to be a part of the Farmer’s Market in Leavenworth. Although we still feel connected to that community, we recently had to make the tough call to walk away.
In order to create something worthwhile you must edit.
My good friend Kait is a writer and lives in New York. She talked most recently in her Blog, Kait Gets Lit, about editing a story for her upcoming book (a collection of short stories that take place in the Pacific Northwest). In order for this specific story to work among the collection, she had to erase a part that had meaning to her. The fact is, the whole was stronger without it.
Argonaut has come to that point with the Farmer’s Market. The market became something we were killing ourselves to make happen at a detriment to our brick and mortar. The whole point in being involved was to add to Argonaut. The reality is, it was only adding a burden. This does not mean we are against the Farmer’s Market in any way. Just to say, this summer was not good timing. Hopefully, at another point in Argonaut’s story we may be able to add this element back to the picture. For now, I glean wisdom from Kenny Rogers when he says, “You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.”
The Gambler (1978), Kenny Rogers
One year ago Argonaut began. Three years ago Noah and I got married, six ago we met. Ten years ago I graduated High School. Twenty-eight ago I was born.
Life is made of moments and it’s funny how all those little moments add up to years. I remember thinking as a child that I would never be an adult; that would take FOREVER! My friend Aimee and I would frolic in the meadows by her house, not a care in the world, lay out on the trampoline eating gummy worms and laugh about silly things. There was nothing but us and what game we would play next. Now, I’m sitting at a cafe table, at my own coffee bar, and I’m wishing, if life wouldn’t mind, for it to move a little slower. When did that switch happen? When did it change from drudging along to running away?
Today Aimee stopped by Argonaut. I guess that’s what has my mind buzzing about time. I’ve known her since I was five. So many things (big and small) have taken place in the moments of those years. Our relationship has spanned almost 25 years, and although we haven’t known the little details of the ins and outs as much as we did when we were in grade school, it is one of those relationships that is a constant in my life.
When I look back to last year, as Noah and I were creating Argonaut- pulling up carpet tiles and painting the walls, researching equipment and writing checks- we didn’t know exactly what it would become, how it would bring us together, who we would meet, the challenges we would face, the joys. You can’t predict the future- you can never know what will happen until now shows up.
Now, Argonaut is so much more than a “Coffee Shop.” It is an Espresso Bar and Sidewalk Cafe where people meet to talk about classes they’re teaching, scripts, art, relationships. It is now a place people come to take a break from their jobs, a place to re-energize or it’s the first place they go before starting the day. This all happened in time and it took listening to what this town needed. I believe to be a healthy person and become the person you want to be, it takes time to listen. I hope Noah and I continue to listen and change Argonaut to the needs of others because that is what the service industry is all about: providing a need, a service to people. Everyday we open the doors (well, window) a new day passes by, more moments becoming years. It is funny how it all happens slowly but oh so fast.
This past week in Leavenworth has marked a series of 100 degree days. If you live here too and know the joys of a lack of air conditioning in your home, you know the method of survival: open the windows at night, close them before 7AM, turn down the shades and pray for a miracle.
Heat is a moving force. It commands a response. Whether it is going to the river to cool off, buying an air conditioner, sipping shots on ice or an affogato (shots poured over ice cream); there is a reaction to the heat. You can’t stand still in the sun.
I made popcorn the other night. The kernels are content to be kernels, minding their own business in their nice, round, little yellow bodies when… pop. Pop! POP!!
Can you take the heat or will you POP? And if you pop, what happens then...
This morning I am sitting at the bar outside Argonaut. Looking over the river, while I sip my morning americano I can see Wedge Mountain and Icicle Ridge. I get to do this because Noah and our new employee Hannah are running the shop. As I sit here, all the faces of our local regulars stop by. It is refreshing to be on this side of things, on the outside, able to have conversation with all these people without the barrier of the door. It’s talk about the day: what are you up to, what are you doing to keep cool, how’s school, what are you working on? This is the conversation of life and I am happy that Argonaut brings us together to know the details.
When I was a kid, I thought I was going to go into the medical profession. I wanted to help people, be a part of their healing. When I was a little older, I thought I was going to be a counselor. The one who someone brought their problems to, be a part of their understanding and soul searching. Now, I look in at Argonaut and realize in a small way, this is how I have mended my passions. Everyday, I get to hear your stories, your pain, your joys, you share your life with us and we are an ear to hear.
When I was a young one, just graduated from college in Seattle, I started work at a little cakery called Simply Desserts in Fremont. I’ve talked about this place in an earlier post, you may remember. This is a place that taught me so much about who I am and what I want in life; I am so grateful for that experience. It is interesting how a little shop can do something like that. All we did was make cakes for people but looking back at that time it was so much more than that. It was talks about music and the arts and literature. It was discussion of the newest movies and restaurants opening. It was learning how to serve others, putting the customer first. It shaped me.
Now Argonaut gets to be that place. As I look in, hearing Noah guide Hannah on how to pull excellent shots on our La Marzocco I think about how these are the moments that guide who we will be in the future. It is small, seemingly insignificant, but they still shape. Now, I am on the other side. I wonder how teaching will shape Noah and I. How can I bring a little of Simply Desserts to Leavenworth? I hope we can affect lives the way Phil and Stacy did mine.
As I look in, I am grateful for my past and I am grateful for now. I get to serve people, I get to hear about their lives. I have the opportunity to guide others in the ways of coffee, to provide them with a quality product I believe in. I get to share life with customers and with new employees. These are the things that make life good.
As I look in, my heart is full.