You know the drill. You drive up, you order your coffee (not even great coffee, but it's convenient and sometimes from an attractive and exuberant barista), you get your frequent-buyer card punched and you roll away. You can breathe again, your fix has been satisfied. We're used to quality caffeination being reserved for the hip coffee shop with the smooth jams playing in the background, right? We've come to accept that.
Imagine my surprise when I found, just six months ago, a drive-thru coffee stand serving world-class deliciousness...IN MEDFORD! Meet Mix Coffee — menu items made of the finest quality, health- and environmentally-conscious ingredients, plus, they have lots of organic and house-made products including their sauces, vanilla, chai and whip cream. Did someone say house-made whip cream?! Oh. Sorry. I digress.
I'm always in a hurry, always on the run and that can mean my food choices suffer sometimes. Not anymore! Mix has energy-sustaining quick eats — Power Bowls spun with REAL blended fruit, homemade steel cut oats with toppings of my choice, locally made bagels from Ahuva Bagel Co, healthy snacks and smoothies made with REAL GREENS AND FRUIT! I hear the Hemp Berry is the most popular.
"Being parents of five boys, we know how crazy life can be on the go. So we want you to feel great about the fresh items on the kids menu. Of course life should also be celebrated with a walk on the wild side once in a while by indulging in a Nutella espresso shake or an Affagato delight (real ice cream topped with espresso), so we have those too. We hope to help mix up your life in a fun, loving, caring, compassionate kind of way. We can do anything vegan, dairy and gluten free," says owner Dave Morris. He and his wife, Autymn Skillings, have over 25 years of experience in the coffee industry. They look pretty dang good for just recently taking their first few days off in the last six months (and having five sons), don't they?! They're great. Really. If you haven't met them yet, you're going to love them.
I asked Dave how they came up with this incredible idea and he told me he used to go to one place to get a nutritious smoothie, another spot for coffee and yet another for a quick, healthy bite to eat. It occurred to them they could create a business that satisfied all of those needs for people — "unbelievable products and unbelievable service." They carry NINE milk alternatives. WHO DOES THAT? For their coffee, they feature Bend, Oregon's Thump Coffee and their roasting facility 11Roasters. It's all "honest coffee," as Dave puts it. That means it's organic, fair-trade, shade-grown and micro-lot (a type of specific single-origin coffee from a single field on a farm, a small range of altitude, and specific day of harvest).
To tell you even more about where their heads are, Thump prides themselves on "having the responsibility of honoring our craft by sharing the most honest coffee (there's that term again) in the world. At our core is respect. Respect for the process. Respect for the outcome. Doing things the right way is not easy, fast or lucrative. It’s genuine and true. And the result is a coffee unlike any other. We dwell on the details. We start early. We progress purposefully. We respect the journey."
11Roasters sample-roasts hundreds of pounds of coffee to find the perfect roast profile for each bean they offer. They look for coffee grown in the best regions of Central and South America, Africa and Indonesia. 11Roasters selects from the best micro-lots available within regions, resulting in some of the finest beans in the world. Their coffee beans are not black because they do not believe that any bean should be taken to the point of carbonization. The oil is still inside the bean, holding the flavors together. What does that mean to you and me? Incredibly delicious coffee and world-class espresso. Coffee that is smooth, balanced and naturally sweet.
Mix grinds their beans fresh with every cup and they clean their Italian-made, world-class equipment after each grind so that the customer gets the true flavor of what they have ordered without any remnants of the previous customer's drink. "When adding milk, unlike other places, we heat the milk to just below 145 degrees because anything over that starts to break down the milk sugars — not as creamy, starts to separate."
Out of their coffee drinks, my favorite is "The Native." The blend of chocolate spice and coffee is so original. I love it!
Let's talk about their chocolate. It's Callebaut white and dark, imported from Belgium and melted down with a secret recipe. That's it, in the lower left hand corner of the collage above...hot and dripping. Shoot me now. And their vanilla...they make their own, OF COURSE! It's scraped from Madagascar vanilla beans. THE. BEST. IN. THE. WORLD. That's a bottle of it in Dave's hands. The syrups and sauces — I asked to see the bottles. I recognized and could pronounce the few ingredients they contained. YES! All natural ingredients. No preservatives or food colorings. One of the things I really appreciate is that they automatically use half the amount other coffee shops use when adding sweeteners.
If coffee isn't your thing, Mix carries Metolius Tea out of Bend. Metolius Artisan Tea uses hand-blended vibrant herbs, teas and spices. They source from many small production farmers in their own community and around the world. The Chai Mix serves isn't out of a box. It's produced in-house using organic ingredients from their own proprietary recipe.
It's all about the details for Mix, the details AND the people. "It's always been about the people," Autymn says. Dave and Autymn have already been giving back to the community in the brief time they've been open. They've donated to local schools and to local athletes who run for cancer research.
Caring for their customers and hiring the right people who can carry out their brand is important to them. You feel it when you go — genuine, mellow, friendly, classy. "Our mission is to create an environment where life can be celebrated with amazing coffee, loving smiles, soulful music and a genuine care for all living things. We strive to bring health conscious deliciousness to your cup," says Dave.
Mix Coffee is located at 1924 Elm Avenue in Medford. Their hours are:
|Mon-Fri:||5 a.m. - 10 p.m.|
|Sat-Sun:||6 a.m. - 10 p.m.|