Planned Property Management has over 20 buildings in or just outside of Lakeview. I was thinking, "that’s a lot of coffee!" Starbucks, and the emerging Bay Area transplant, Peet’s, are all over the place. Newcomer, Bow Truss, the established Intelligensia, 7-11, Duncan Donuts, and various other coffee shops and delis provide a lot of choices when one wants to sit and sip a cup or take one away. The oldest independent coffee roaster and shop in Lakeview, and most-likely the city, is the Coffee and Tea Exchange, located on the corner of N. Broadway and Aldine.
The Coffee and Tea Exchange opened in 1975 when the area was still referred to as New Town. (A little history reminds us that when Old Town became the center of so-called ‘hippy’ life in the late 1960s, it became a bit overcrowded and pricey. Businesses started moving to and opening up in the areas where Clark and Broadway intersect and it was called New Town). Steve, the founder, had a storefront near the corner of Broadway and Oakdale where he roasted coffee in the rear of the store and used the front to sell to the public. In addition to the freshest roasted coffees in town, they had a great selection of teas and herbs. You could smell the roasting coffee in whichever direction the wind was blowing that day. In the 1970s, coffee came in a can and Steve’s vision of giving the customer an education and a choice of many different styles and flavors would prove to be visionary. Customers could smell the coffee, see it for themselves, and then ask questions about it. He taught customers that coffees from different countries had different flavor profiles, which allowed them to develop preferences for different locales. He also taught them that different roasting levels also contributed to the various flavor profiles as well. Customers were able to decide for themselves which origin and roast they preferred.
Steve’s business grew with the addition of commercial and mail order accounts and the store moved to its current location at 3311 N. Broadway and roasting moved west to a warehouse location. Choose from over 50 varieties of coffee, including fair and direct trade, blends, espresso, plus decaf. The beans are displayed in large wooden barrels so that customers are able to see and smell the beans for themselves. Top selling coffees are the French or French/Italian Roast, Dave’s Blend, Brazilian, and the staff’s favorite, Indian Malabar Monsoon.
The Coffee and Tea Exchange also has an amazing selection of over 100 black, white, green, fruit, herbal, and other teas and almost any herb you might need. The store sells coffee and tea by the cup, ounce, or pound. You can buy a cup of any of the loose teas. My favorites are the Pu Ehr Yunnan Menghai and the Tsarina Samovar Blend, both black teas. Need to blend the perfect curry? No need to travel to Devon Avenue as you can find it at the Coffee and Tea Exchange.
In the winter, everything in the café is to go but when springtime arrives, there is an outdoor seating area. Did I mention the prices are a big draw?