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Yule Fuel: Where to get your Java Fix while Shopping Friday Harbor

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Written (and researched!) by Shelley Klausen
Photos by Lindsey Smith and Shelley Klausen

Ripetide Cafe Friday HarborFor many Friday Harbor visitors, a December stay at the Tucker House Inn and Harrison House Suites means shopping. With an eclectic array of specialty stores lining our village lanes, you can easily spend the better part of a day preparing to stuff your stockings and deck your halls. To assist in your grab a cup-o-Joe (or hot tea or chocolate), or to help keep you going along merry way, we’ve compiled a list of coffee options, conveniently located near our finest retailers. In no particular order, here are some of our favorites…



  1. Riptide Cafe

riptide cafe friday harbor Tucked under Downrigger’s restaurant, with  glass windows facing the marina and Orcas Island, the Riptide is the only coffee shop along Friday Harbor’s waterfront. Stop in to have a freshly- brewed cup of Stumptown Coffee or hot drink made by some of the best, and friendliest, baristas on the island.

For shoppers who prefer their coffee cold (even during a wet winter spree), Riptide offers iced and blended drinks as well. Pair your expertly-crafted mug of java with a fresh-baked organic scone, muffin, or sweet bread while you kick back to watch the ferry glide in and out of the harbor.

What’s Nearby: Waterfront Park, Friday Harbor Yacht Club & Marina , stairs to 2nd Street shops

What to Try: Hot Dragonfly Chai
Address: 10 Front Street, #103
Hours: 7am-4pm, daily



  1. Crow’s Nest Coffee

crows nest coffee friday harbor

On the first block of Spring Street, under the Edgar Allen Poe-looking sign featuring a large black bird, lies The Crow’s Nest. This cozy establishment is the place to go if you are looking for a local vibe or to grab an early morning cup to get your shopping day started. The drink menu features Vivaci beans from one of Seattle’s most respected roasters and offers a surprisingly wide variety of food choices for their size. Breakfast sandwiches and burritos are featured in the morning… burgers and sammies in the afternoon. One Yelp reviewer recently wrote, “Don’t let the line out the door, limited seating, or cramped interior turn you away, this is worth the wait.”

Nearby Shops: Gourmet’s Galley, The Toy Box 

What to Try: Cafe Americano with Steamed Hemp Milk
Address: 70 Spring Street
Hours: 6:30am-2:30pm, daily


  1. The Bean Cafe

The Bean Cafe Friday HarborAccessible from two directions (stairs near the ferry line or in an alley off First Street), the Bean Cafe is one of Friday Harbor’s largest coffee houses, and one of the most popular. This brightly lit cafe space sits on the hill overlooking the ferry landing. Screens, suspended around the shop, have live footage of the harbor so you won’t miss your sailing. Featuring Tony’s Coffee from Bellingham and pre-made breakfast and lunch foods, it’s a great spot to unwind while perusing the specialty shops that surround it. Another bonus is that The Bean offers dedicated bathrooms within the space so you won’t have to go down the hall or street after sipping one of their tasty beverages.

Nearby Shops: Print Shop Northwest, Pelindaba Lavender, Ositos 

What to Try: Eggnog or Pumpkin Spice Latte

Address: 150 First Street North

Hours: 7am-5pm, daily


  1. The Salty Fox

The Salt Fox Friday HarborHands down the most convenient stop for a cup as you wait in the ferry line, the Salty Fox’s charm cannot be denied. Tidy, with a modern British feel, this Friday Harbor mainstay uses beans from Blue Star Roasters in Twisp, WA for their java drinks, and offers a nice selection of non-milk alternatives, including soy, almond, coconut, and hemp. For shoppers who need some sit-down-time, inside seating is offered.  For those who want to keep moving along their spree, The Salty Fox has a walk-up window. The Salty Fox offers grab-and-go foods, hot items, and an enormous selection of baked goods.

Nearby Shops: Island Wine Company, Serendipity Used Books

What to Try: London Fog (strong-brewed Earl Grey with a tiche of vanilla)

Address: 85 Front Street

Hours: 7am-2pm, daily


  1. The Griffin Bay Bookstore

griffin bay book store cafe While poking into the shops that line Spring Street, you may not realize that Griffin Bay Bookstore has a cozy area in the back with tables, couches and a full-service coffee bar. Not only is Griffin Bay a fantastic stop on any holiday shoppers route, but it’s also a comfortable respite for those in need of a break. After ordering the beverage of your choice, time to kick back! Flip through the many books and periodicals scattered throughout the space. There are also board games if you want to stay a bit longer or have older kids who need entertaining. They use Cafe Umbria roasts and will whip up your favorite drink while you browse for gifts, or just want to relax.

Nearby Shops (beside their own): Sandpebble, Be Chic Boutique, Kings Marine

What to Try: Cafe Pepe (strong coffee with a hint of chili pepper)

Address: 155 Spring Street

Hours: 10am-6pm, daily


Honorable Mentions:

1. Runner Up: The World’s Skinniest Latte Shop

worlds skinniest latte shop This tiny stone-lined hole-in-the-wall looks like where Harry Potter would buy Butterbeer.

Address: 127 Spring Street
Hours: Determined daily


2. Grab ‘n’ Go: King’s Market

DCR coffee at kings market For a quick cup of $1 fresh-brewed coffee, this is your stop.

Address: 160 Spring Street
Hours: 7:30am-9pm, daily






3. Beans to Go: San Juan Coffee Roasting Co.

San Juan Island Coffee RoastersMeet the official coffee roasters of the San Juan Island Inn Collection. This is your stop for the java-lover on your list. Plus, they are holding a Buy More/Save More Special through December.

Address: 18 Cannery Landing

Hours: 9:30am-5pm, daily

coffee at the harrison house Whether it’s at The Tucker House Inn, Harrison House Suites or your walk around Friday Harbor in December, you’re not far away from a steaming mug of rejuvenating goodness. The following instructions detail how to make your own perfect cup at home.

DIY: Brewed to Perfection

The National Coffee Association has guidelines about how to prepare the perfect cup of coffee. Their ratio suggests one or two tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water. Use two tablespoons if you like your coffee strong, one if you like it on the lighter side. They also recommend that the perfect cup be served at a temperature between 185 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. The NCA says you should let the water reach a full boil. Then rest for one minute before pouring it over grounds in a filter-lined cone. Ahhhhhh, perfection.

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