INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — With plenty of snow falling in the Lake Tahoe Basin this winter, the search is on for the best warm drink to enjoy on a cold day.
Whether you’re looking for a warm cup of coffee or something sweet to eat with the family after a day on the slopes, communities in the basin have something to offer.
We’ve put together a list of the best coffee shops to head to in the basin based off reader’s votes in the Best of 2022 contests on the north and south shores. Keep reading to find your next favorite spot.
Drink Coffee, Do Stuff
Voted as one of the best three coffee shop on the North Shore, Drink Coffee Do Stuff has grown from a single coffee roasting house to a name brand that is expanding the basin and branching out all over the country.
The brand currently runs three retail fronts in Incline Village, Truckee, Reno and South Lake Tahoe, which opened about a month ago, along with holding wholesale accounts with e-commerce also available.
“We source some of the highest quality coffees in the world,” said Co-Founder and Art Director Laura Lawson Visconti. “We only source coffees that are grown at altitude and mountainous regions around the world like Ethiopia, Rwanda, Columbia, Peru, El Salvador.”
Roasting at altitude also gives the coffee a unique advantage.
“We’re able to preserve more natural sweetness found in the coffee beans,” said Visconti. “We estimate our coffees are about 10-15% sweeter, and we receive that feedback from our customers all the time as well.”
Drink Coffee Do Stuff boasts a few season favorites, including the Pines Latte and the Purple Haze Latte. The syrups for both drinks are made in house, and represent the flavors of the basin.
“The Pines is more of an herbal tasting drink,” said Visconti. “We like to say that it tastes like a walk through the woods. It tastes like Tahoe.”
The drink is made with simple syrup and rosemary, thyme and sage to give it an earthy taste. The Purple Haze is a lavender latte made with vanilla and simple syrup. Both drinks can be made hot or cold.
Drink Coffee Do Stuff is open at 7 a.m.-5 p.m. daily at all three locations, and invites guests to truly enjoy coffee in a vibrant environment.
To learn more, visit drinkcoffeedostuff.com.
Tahoe House Bakery & Gourmet
Voted number the number one coffee shop on the North Shore, Tahoe House Bakery & Gourmet in Tahoe City is another family-owned business that is known for their tasty hot chocolate and diverse lineup of pastries and sandwiches.
The shops has a heavy Swiss influences and is open 363 days a year, only closing on Christmas and Thanksgiving.
“We’ve got really good coffee, we’ve got really good pastries, and we also make great sandwiches, so we have a little bit of everything for people,” said Co-Founder Barbara Vogt Melrose.
The shop is open from 6 a.m.-3 p.m. everyday, and offers a plenty of seating to sit down with a great book or enjoy conversation with friends.
“We have a pot belly gas stove that heats the place up and we have a gas fireplace that people can hangout at and chat with friends or work on the computer or have a meal with the family,” said Melrose.
The shop originally opened in 1977, when Melrose’s parents decided to open a restaurant. In 2001, the shop transitioned to just breakfast and lunch items. In addition, the Swiss influence dwindled a bit, but the shop still uses Swiss coffee machines and makes homemade almond biscotti dipped in chocolate.
The shop also has a wine selection, along with cheeses, deli salads, and a section dedicated to European cuisine like homemade sauces, dressings, and spice rubs.
The ability to create the shop came from Melrose and her father’s love of bakeries, and the need for a great bakery in the basin.
“We focused on the really good coffee that we already had, and branched out to more breakfast, pastries and things beyond just the cakes,” said Melrose. “But we still do the cakes. We’ve got all different kinds of cookies… It’s just kind of in the blood.”
To learn more about Tahoe House Bakery & Gourmet visit http://www.tahoe-house.com.
Voted the number two coffee shop on the South Shore, Cuppa Tahoe is more than just a coffee shop. The shop offers something for everyone, with a fully stocked book store, plenty of drinks and treats to enjoy, and a casual co-working space and conference rooms for more private settings.
The shop is owned by Sandra Santané, who opened up to customers in May of 2020. Since opening at the “Y” in South Lake Tahoe, the shop has been open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily.
The classics are offered here, including mocha’s and white mochas, perfect for the snowy season. They also serve smoothies and lemonade with an assortment of sweet and savory treats to choose from.
Whether you’re looking for something to fill you up like a chicken and waffle sandwich, or something light like a blueberry muffin, Cuppa Tahoe has your fix.
In addition, the shop offers tea from Art of Tea’s organic, high-quality collection out of Los Angeles, local Refuge coffee by Jared Marquez, and popsicles by Tahoe Pops. Bites are available from Cake Lady Tahoe.
To learn more, visit cuppatahoe.com.
The Free Bird Cafe
The Free Bird Cafe was voted the number one coffee house on the South Shore, and happens to be one of the smallest shops holding the most flavor.
Open daily from 7:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., this small but popular shop offers some of the best organic foods and drinks in the basin.
Popular menu items include their homemade chai, organic espresso bar, superfood smoothies, and organic baked goods.
Come warm up with an organic tea or latte of your choice, or chill out with an açaí super smoothie and green machine smoothie.
To learn more, visit freebirdtahoe.com.
Miranda Jacobson is a reporter for the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication of the Sun. She may be reached at [email protected].