By Emily Beloate
What is home? Is it a place? Or is it a feeling? People often live many places in their lives, and that feeling of home moves and changes over the course of a lifetime. When students go to college, it’s usually their first time away from the place they grew up. They have to adapt to a new home and find somewhere that makes them feel welcome. Many students have a favorite place they can go to off-campus, and Pleasant Blends is a popular destination for off-campus escape. Along with college students, it is also a favorite location among Spokane locals.
Located about a five minute drive from Whitworth University, Pleasant Blends Gourmet Coffee House is a locally-founded business. When you first walk through the door, the smell of coffee fills your senses, and the warm air rushes all the way from your fingertips to your toes. The first thing you see is a room full of tables and chairs scattering the floor. There’s an indistinguishable rumble of customers’ conversations- college students working on homework, mothers and daughters enjoying a cup of coffee, and old friends catching up. The walls are covered with coffee containers and letters that customers have written to the owner. The kitchen is open, so you can watch the baristas from the sitting area as they smile and prepare your order. Lydia Carlson, a local Pleasant Blends regular, said “the atmosphere is so homey, it’s why I come back so often.”
Smiling faces greet you at the counter, along with signs upon signs of menu options. The owner, Louise Ramos, is almost always behind the counter making breakfast sandwiches or their famous Huckleberry Chai Latte. She will happily bring you your order and welcome you to her coffee house. The cup of coffee she brings you will already be the perfect drinking temperature, and the cup will be extra warm to keep the coffee at that same temperature for a long period of time. Ramos is passionate about Pleasant Blends and making it a place where people feel at home. Ramos said “I am here every day from 7-7 so it’s like my second home, just like it is for some of our customers.”
Pleasant Blends has been a Spokane favorite for over 25 years. Opened in 1987, it was originally owned by a man named Mike Bryant and his mother. A copy of the original newspaper article for the opening of Pleasant Blends still hangs on a wall in the shop. In 2006, Ramos took over the coffee house and has loved every moment since. She welcomes everyone into the coffee house with open arms, and the people that come in are one of her favorite parts of the job. Ramos said “I have had the opportunity to get to know and visit with everyone that comes in, they all seem just like part of my family.”
Along a welcoming environment, Pleasant Blends also focuses on serving quality products. Freshly roasted Arabica coffee and loose-leaf teas are always on the menu, and can also be bought in bulk at the shop. They have over a hundred different flavors and brands of coffee and tea that can be purchased. Their coffee goes through a specific roasting process that keeps the coffee fresh and up to par with the character of the coffee house. Ramos has put together a team of baristas who care about the customers, as well as the quality of the food and beverages they make.
Though the coffee house currently resides at a location on Newport Highway, they plan on moving this February. Ramos hopes to expand in their new location, however the specific location has yet to be determined. Though they are moving, Ramos knows the move will not compromise the shop, and it will continue to be the Pleasant Blends that people of Spokane know and love. Be on the lookout for more information about the whereabouts of Pleasant Blends.
The idea of home is one that can be debated, but the feeling many people get after walking into Pleasant Blends cannot be. Ramos has created an atmosphere where customers feel welcome, they take pride in the product quality, and people want to come back.