Who drives nearly 90 miles for a cup of coffee on a Saturday morning? We do.
For those of you who are surprised by this revelation, allow us to introduce ourselves: we’re Daily Coffee Run and we have this thing with coffee and love exploring new shops in up-and-coming coffee cities while getting to know the people beyond the bar.
Prospect Coffee Roasters was one of the coffee shops we’d been anticipating for a long while with what seemed to be the rest of Ventura and Greater Los Angeles, so we knew that we couldn’t miss it.
Our journey began on the road at 6 a.m., which laid the groundwork for a beautiful day as the sun rose above us and the sky ahead turned from a mixture of pink and orange to bright blue. We figured (we hoped) that we’d get there just in time for their doors to open at 8 a.m. and we’d breeze in for our first cup of coffee. Wishful thinking.
But, what we found was something so unique and honestly, unexpected. As we turned the corner onto South Laurel Street, we set upon the realization that this wasn’t going to be any ol’ coffee shop opening where it’s just a steady stream of people throughout the day.
Instead, as we drove closer, we saw a line that started from the door and formed around the corner – almost circling another corner of the building! As we made our way to the back of the line, we could see the staff anticipating the line from behind the glass and people ahead of us joking that they weren’t going to make the 100 person cutoff for the free opening day can cup. Yeah, yeah we plead the fifth. We wanted one of those suckers, too.
And just like when the first pitch of the opener is thrown, we heard cheering at the front of the line signifying that the madness had begun (supposedly the first people started waiting in line at 6:15 a.m.).
As we patiently waited for our turn to order, the line got longer and longer behind us with people having the same reaction as we did. We almost felt a sort of camaraderie between us and the rest of the people in line. It felt like we were all waiting for our favorite band, surely not a cup of coffee.
Which leads us to believe that coffee is exactly where we like it. You see, it was a quiet Saturday morning in Ventura, California where you’d think us millennials would rather be sleeping in and recovering from the night before or catching an early morning surf session.
However, that’s not the case, especially in a town that isn’t saturated with specialty coffee shops, like in LA. In fact, there’s a sense of hometown pride in Ventura, something that became evident once we sat down to enjoy our coffees (hey, when in Rome…) and explored the rest of the town later on. The people of Ventura care about their community and it was nice seeing people walk out of the line to give someone a big hug and catch up or run up and congratulate co-owners Blake and Derek Ulrich on their opening day.
Once we finally reached the door, we took it all in. IT. WAS. GLORIOUS.
Leading up to its soft-opening and subsequent grand opening, Prospect Coffee Roasters had done a great job on its social media sharing photos of the little details and giving us sneak peeks. So, to see those images all together was like finally finishing a 1000 piece puzzle.
From the amazingly intricate woodwork around the bar showcasing a beauty of a La Marzocca espresso machine, to the gray penny tile lined walls and an illuminating “P” above the bar, Prospect Coffee Roasters made sure no detail went unnoticed.
We were lucky enough to get a prime seat at the bar to watch all the magic happen and chat with co-owner Blake and Hayden, one of their baristas. What we appreciated the most was even though it was a full house, we didn’t feel rushed or like we were being a bother. In fact, it felt like we were hanging out at a friend’s house. Even the music was on point with a Michael Jackson playlist off Pandora; which, of course, led to a few sing-a-longs and seat dancing around the room. Did we mention that this was at 8 o’clock in the morning?!
Since we felt like we had earned a chance to overindulge, we decided to try one of their specialty drinks, the Ventucky, which is espresso, steamed milk and bourbon honey syrup. It had a perfect hint of sweetness to it without overpowering the taste of the espresso.
We also grabbed a cappuccino and a shot of espresso. The shot of espresso on bar was a delicious single-origin espresso from Ethiopia with tasting notes of strawberry and chocolate. But, the drink that hit it out of the ballpark for us was what Hayden and Blake described affectionately as “something weird.”
Are you ready for this? (We can honestly say, we weren’t.)
Welcome to the Space Jam.
A shot of espresso over ice mixed with Cactus Cooler, which is arguably the best orange pineapple soda you’ll ever taste. So, baristas, if you start to notice people asking for espresso over ice and bringing a bottle of Cactus Cooler, then just know the trend started right here at Prospect Coffee Roasters in Ventura, California.
Also, the only thing weird about the Space Jam is the fact that we hadn’t had it sooner! It’s definitely going to be a summer go-to because it’s refreshing with a little zip.
So, next time you’re driving through Ventura and grumbling about needing coffee, be sure to make a special stop at Prospect Coffee Roasters and enjoy a pour over or one of their specialty concoctions and try one of their scrumptious-looking pastries while you’re at it. Then, after you get your caffeine fix, head over to the pier and watch the surfers or take in the ocean breeze by the beach with a good book. And if you like craft beer, you should visit MadeWest Brewing Company. Whatever you choose to do in Ventura, you’ll notice the hometown pride everywhere you go from volunteers restoring the pier to locals gathering together to celebrate a coffee shop’s opening day. If you don’t make Ventura a stopping point in your summer plans, you’ll regret missing out on some great people, wonderful local businesses and the beauty of the ocean breeze against your face.
We promise that you’ll come out feeling like you made some new friends, as well as, gain a sense of the tight knit community of Ventura. For us, all we know is this: we’re coming back to this sweet spot over and over again.