(Zachary Kaufman/The Columbian)
Why: Brewed Awakenings offers a good cup of locally roasted Joe and homemade pastries. Owners Todd and Sandra Gunderson’s newest location on 63rd Street and Andresen Road has a convenient drive-through, plus a spacious dining room that features a fireplace. It is a roasting location as well, where patrons will be able to view the process.
Atmosphere: Gunderson describes their newest store as a work in progress, with the roaster installation still under way and decor elements a bit on the sparse side. It does have an unfinished feel about it, though it is already comfortable enough to linger for a while. If I’m not mistaken, it is the most spacious coffee house in Clark County.
What I Tried: I had an Americano and sampled the Sticky Buns, a Cranberry and Walnut Scone and a Cinnamon Scone, a Bran Muffin and a Carrot Cake Cupcake.
The Americano was expertly made with ideal dilution that resulted in a pleasantly full-bodied drink that maintained its rich character despite the cream I added.
Of the pastries that I tried, my favorites were the sticky bun (best if heated) for its sticky, but not too messy, gooey or dry quality, and the carrot cake cupcake, which I found second only to my own recipe. The size of the sticky bun made it an ideal accompaniment to my 16-ounce drink and there were just enough chopped pecans sprinkled on top for a nutty addition to every bite. The frosting on the cupcake was deliciously characteristic of wholesome cream cheese that flattered the smooth-batter cake perfectly.
I found the bran muffin, which had fresh blueberries mixed in, tasty, though instead of crumbly, it was uncharacteristically dense. There was a fair amount of coarse sugar sprinkled atop the muffin as well as both scones, which detracted from all three pastries. I enjoyed the cranberry walnut scone over the cinnamon scone for its more diverse flavor. Both scones presented a firm texture that wasn’t too dry and held together quite well.
Menu Highlights Beyond what I Tried: One look at the menu and you get the idea the place has any drink you would want.
Espresso drinks, coffee, tea, smoothies, iced drinks, ice cream, and a kids menu provide options for everyone.
Other observations: The service is friendly and fast. Prices are comparable to other coffee options. Pastries are made fresh daily. The dining space offers tables suited for intimate and corporate settings. Club chairs and sofas provide cozier alternatives.
Cost: Espresso and coffee drinks come in three sizes and start at $1.65 for a 12-ounce house coffee and top out at $4.50 for a 20-ounce espresso Kahlua & Cream. Other hot drinks, such as hot chocolate, cider, tea, etc., are $1.75 to $4.50. Iced drinks are $1.50 to $4.75.
Hours: 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.
Where: 6709 N.E. 63rd St., Vancouver. Visit the Brewed Awakenings website for other store locations.
Health Score: Brewed Awakenings received a score of 5 on July 17. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants with a score of 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.