Neckar Coffee | Boise, Idaho

Neckar Coffee

117 S 10th Street

Boise, Idaho 83702

March 2019

This year, Remington and I decided to take a three-day weekend to explore the PNW as a family each month. Having that intentional exploration and family time on a regular basis has been great. This month, we went to Boise, Idaho, to watch my sister in a production of Into the Woods. She’s graduating college this year (with a double major in biology and music!), and we still hadn’t been to any of her musicals. She was excited about her role (the baker’s wife), and since Boise isn’t too far, we made it happen. Of course, while we were in town, we went to a couple coffee shops. I recently was made aware of some new coffee shops in Boise, and wanted to check them out. One of them was Neckar Coffee in downtown Boise.

Back when Remington and I lived in Boise, I remember going to Neckar Coffee’s pour-over bar at the farmer’s market. We ordered a coffee and chatted with those working at the stand for about half a minute, because it was super popular and busy. We were really excited then that excellent third wave coffee was finally coming to Boise. Since then, a few great shops have opened up (you can expect a guide to Boise coffee from me in about two months), and as of less than a year ago, Neckar is now in its own brick-and-mortar shop.

Neckar Coffee is located just a couple blocks from where they used to set up shop at the farmer’s market. The space has an elegant, minimalist + retro feel. There is a lot of white: walls, counter, tables, but the warm wood floors and rusty red velvet bench all along the right side of the shop ensure that it feels warm and welcoming. Retro light fixtures over the bar and the minimalist decor adds to the overall vibe, with the espresso machine and pour over bar holding a prominent spot in the decor.

When we went in, they had a Kenyan coffee for all drinks: espresso-based and pour over. I ordered a macchiato. It was good, but I think it would have been a lot better with oat milk; regular milk mutes some of the unique flavors of a Kenyan coffee, in my opinion. Remington ordered an espresso and a pour over, both of which were very tasty. The espresso had a bright hibiscus acidity, a cinnamon spiciness, and a surprisingly creamy body. My mom ordered an oat milk cappuccino, which confirmed my suspicion that the espresso would be really good with oat milk: it was excellent. Everly and Jude split a steamer, as usual, and also ordered an almond croissant to split. The croissant was absolutely amazing; I highly recommend a pastry if you end up going to Neckar. All of the drinks came in super unique ceramics.

Since my parents joined us at the coffee shop, Everly and Jude were quite occupied by my dad dragging them across the floor with his crutch. They were a bit more noisy than I would usually be comfortable with, but no one seemed bothered, and we didn’t stay for an extended time. As far as family-friendliness goes, I can’t give it a rating, as I forgot to check the bathroom for a changing table. There are no child-specific amenities, but if you are okay with being very hands-on with your children, there is no reason not to bring them. The shop is spacious and at least when we went there, finding a table was easy. The shop was on the quieter side, but not overly so.

As far as tech goes, Neckar is unique in that it is the first shop I have encountered with a full manual espresso machine: a Bosco Sorrento Lever machine. As owner of a manual espresso machine, I was impressed and intrigued. The grinders were all by Mahlkonig, and the pour overs were done on ceramic Hario V60s. I didn’t ask to confirm, but it looked like they were using Acacia Pearl scales for pour overs.

If you are in Boise for any reason, Neckar Coffee is an excellent choice for coffee. It would be especially well suited for working, meeting a friend, or just grabbing a cup to go. If you stop by, let me know what you think!

PALATE

PALATE

Bend, OR

This past weekend, Remington, the children, and I drove over to Bend, OR for the weekend. Sledding at Mt. Bachelor was our primary goal, but we also got in a hike at Smith Rock and enjoyed plenty of good food and coffee. We go to Thump Coffee and Crowsfeet Commons nearly every time we go to Bend. This time was no exception, but we also managed to go to a third coffee shop that I don’t think we had tried before. PALATE is located near the Old Mill District, conveniently on the way to Mt. Bachelor, but well before you get out of town.

PALATE is located in a classic house, as are many of the businesses in that area. The interior is defined by dark wood, plants, and windows along the front. I will admit, the interior felt a bit crowded. It was a Saturday morning and plenty of people were there hanging out, or grabbing coffee to go. The line weaved through tables towards the front door and it was a little challenging to navigate with children without them bumping into the people sitting at tables to either side of the line. Of course, people were friendly and generally unconcerned about being bumped into or being observed by a curious four year old.

They serve Coava Coffee. As you would find at a Coava shop, PALATE offers two different single origin espresso options for all espresso-based drinks. They had several milk alternative options, all by Pacific. When we came, the offerings were a Kenyan and a Colombian. Rem got the Kenyan as straight espresso and I got the Colombian in a macchiato. We also ordered a steamer and a cookie for Everly and Jude. We found seats at the bar along the front window and the kids started in on the cookie while we waited for the rest of our drinks.

The espresso came out in an adorable green demitasse with the usual spoon and sparkling water. It was good, although it tasted a little unevenly extracted. The macchiato was delightful. I ordered it breve and the combination of a Colombian espresso with a touch of half and half is almost always a winner. I really enjoyed it. Everly and Jude really enjoyed the cookie and steamer.

Everly kept herself occupied at the coffee shop tearing up a napkin and making a collage with the pieces. Jude was content to eat his cookie and drink his steamer. We ended up needing to change Alistair’s diaper while we were there. It’s usually hit or miss with changing a baby’s diaper at a coffee shop, “Will they have a changing table? Am I going to have to put a blanket down on the floor to change him?” Much to my relief, they did have a table that functioned well as a changing table for a baby. For it’s level of family-friendliness, I would give PALATE a 6 out of 10: if you are already comfortable with taking your children into coffee shops and don’t mind having to be very hands on, it’s a great option for getting some coffee. They don’t have any books or toys for children, a children’s corner, or complimentary kid’s drinks, but it’s not library-quiet, and there was no “adults only” vibe. Having our children there didn’t seem awkward or unwelcome. Plus, the changing table makes it a great stop on your way to Mt. Bachelor even if you’re just running in to grab some coffee and change a diaper before hitting the slopes.

Overall, I would recommend PALATE as a great stop on your way to Mt. Bachelor, or just as a place to get coffee in Bend, with or without your family. The vibe felt very “Bend”: casual, outdoors oriented, unpretentious, welcoming. If you give it a try, let me know! I’d love to know what you thought.