Unlike our West Coast neighbors, Boise hasn't really jumped on the Third Wave coffee train. It's slim pickings if you want a properly pulled espresso made from locally roasted Fair Trade beans.
But on the bright side, that means Boise lacks some of the coffee pretention you'll find in bigger cities. No one's going to lecture you on the difference between a latte and a flat white or refuse to serve you sugar or soy milk.
Here are a few of my favorite local spots that consistently serve great coffee.
1. Janjou Patisserie-This pristine North End bakery combines the best of both worlds: well-executed Italian-style coffee and painstakingly crafted French pastries. Janjou sources all of its butter from Cloverleaf Creamery in Buhl, Idaho and procures its beans from Lizzy's Fresh Coffee in Ketchum, Idaho. The price tag is a bit steep, but the quality is top-notch.
2. The District Coffee House: If you're looking to sip a locally roasted, single origin pour-over in a bright, airy environment with trendy decor, The District Coffee House is the place to be. Though the non-profit is affiliated with the Calvary Chapel, the vibe is more chill than churchy.
3. Neckar Coffee-You'll find this wooden coffee trailer parked at the Boise Farmer's Market every Saturday, from late April through the end of November. Neckar keeps it simple—the company only offers locally roasted pour-over coffee crafted from beans purchased from Coffee Shrub in Oakland, Calif. You can also doctor up your cup with local cream or turbinado sugar, if that's your jam.
4. Flying M Coffeehouse-This downtown coffee staple has been around for more than 20 years and roasts its beans in Nampa, Idaho under the label Purple Bean Coffee. I recommend sticking to The M's espresso drinks—its Americano and latte are both excellent. The bustling space boasts a number of tables and couches, but they're usually spoken for, and an eclectic gift shop.
5. Dawson Taylor Coffee-Located on bustling Eighth Street, Dawson Taylor Coffee roasts its beans in small batches and will let you sniff each jar—everything from their single origin Ethiopian Yirgacheffe to their single estate Costa Rica Santa Elena Tarrazu—before you buy a bag of coffee. The lattes aren't half bad either and the people watching is top notch.