We had a nice conversation with Bo, Joel, and Christopher in the funky, industrial-feel wood and sheet metal retail area of the little shop at 314 Brooks Street that used to be a car dealership once-upon-a-time. They were kind enough to show us the back room of Back Alley where we got to see bags of raw coffee beans and the bean roaster – a huge metal contraption that reaches up to 500 degrees when in use – as well as sample some cold brew coffee which was surprisingly good and reminiscent (to me anyway) of beer. It did come out of a kegerator after all.
Back Alley is owned by Tracy and Beth McKenzie who opened the shop in October 2015. They offer drip coffee and pour over, as well as nitro cold brew, and they sell bags of beans so you can brew your own at home. Check out the “cupping” on Tuesdays at 1 pm when the public is invited to sample coffee, and the roasting demonstrations every Thursday at 4 pm.
After our tour was over, we headed out with a cup of the 314 blend, a cup of the honduras, and a hot chocolate for the kid.
Then we headed over to the Renaissance Centre parking lot, which was nearly across the street, and perused a generous variety of booths with handmade candles, soaps, pottery, and woodworking, as well as the usual local produce, chocolate, and bakery items.
We chatted with a very nice Korean War veteran from the American Legion who told us about their twice monthly pancake breakfasts on Sunday mornings – $5 per person, kids 11 and under free, all you can eat! – as well as the organization’s year-long quest to acquire a cannon for the front lawn of their building which was currently being held up by U.S. government red tape. We promised to consider the pancake breakfast and write a letter to our congressman in an effort to help speed the cannon progress along.
We purchased some very nice smelling soap from Serenity Meadows Farm owned by Susan West, some soy candles from QuintesScential Candles, and chatted with Kathy Nutt of NuttHouse Pottery and Steve Karloski, who sells pottery and sculptures at the Cotton Company, before finally being driven away by the absurd humidity that sadly left us all feeling unpleasantly damp.
Back Alley Coffee Roasters is open 7 am – 6 pm Monday – Saturday. The Wake Forest Farmer’s Market is open Saturdays year-round with current hours from 8 am – noon. Check them out!
Categories: In the Forest