Why Drink Pour Overs?

Chances are you have walked into a coffee shop and have seen “pour over” on the menu. But, what is the difference between a pour over and a drip coffee? Is the pour over worth the three minutes while you stand and eagerly await that sweet smelling coffee? Oh, we like to think so.


Long before espresso machines, coffee was made simply by heating ground coffee in a pot with water. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that the first pour over was introduced, the Melitta. The Chemex, Hario V60 and others came after. These devices changed the way the world drank coffee, especially when specialty coffee entrepreneurs got a hold of them.


The few tools that are needed are a filter, dripper, and kettle. The pour over method simply involves pouring hot water over a bed of coffee grounds in a paper filter. The water then drains through the coffee and into a vessel. As the water passes through and drains through the coffee, it extracts flavor compounds. In a pour over, you are controlling all of the variables that affect extraction which include brew ratio, brew time, water temperature, choreographing the frequency of pours, and material of both your filter and dripper. A pour over accentuates intricate flavors because the water extracts coffee oils and fragrances, resulting in a flavorful, clean cup of coffee. However, since pour overs are manual and rely on pouring technique, they are conducive to channeling, which is when a stream of water finds an easy route around the grinds and some of the coffee doesn’t get extracted. The result is an under extracted or over extracted coffee. Consistency is harder to achieve. For this reason, specialty coffee shops have started to invest their money in automated pour over systems.


To match our espresso machines, we chose the Modbar Pour Over System. Modbar allows us to dial in pour over recipes by adjusting flow rate, control time interval, brew temperature, and saturation. This module sits perfectly underneath the counter, allowing our baristas to better engage with you as your cup brews. What we loved most about the Modbar was that it provided us the opportunity to craft and dial in coffee without having to sacrifice interactions with our guests. The Modbar gives us the ability to brew a delicious single origin coffee with precision. Though manual brewing is special in itself, the Modbar Pour Over System allows us to focus on those who walk through the doors while also providing them a top notch cup of damn good coffee.


So, the next time you find yourself deciding between a pour over or a drip, try the pour over! We switch up our single origin pour overs seasonally. Our current offerings are:

Costa Rica Red Honey
vanilla | brown sugar | black cherry | pineapple


Colombia Geisha
mandarin | starfruit | floral | fragrant


Viva La Noche!
baker’s chocolate | cedar | smoke


Deb’s Favorite: F-Bomb
dark chocolate | dried cherry | blood orange


Colombia Tabi Honey
wildflower honey | orange juice | syrupy

New Year, New Art!

It is a new year, which means new art! Our New Year’s Res is to keep supporting local businesses and artists, and of course to drink some Damn Good Coffee. Meet Matt Demke, our local artist for the month of January.

How did you start photography? What inspired you? 

I started photography about 7 and a half years ago now. My family was on vacation, and my dad, who’s also a photographer, lent me his camera for the week and I was hooked ever since. 

Tell us about the photos that are displayed at First Ave. What was your goal/intention? Are they all shot at the same place? 

The images on display at 1st Ave Coffee are a collection of photos from my outdoor adventures. All the images on display are from three locations in Washington State including Olympic National Forest, Mt. Adams, and Wenatchee National Forest. Under each photo is a small description about the images, and a short story behind how the image was captured.

Do you specialize in specific photography, such as portrait, landscape or product? 

I would classify my photography as outdoor landscapes and lifestyle. I enjoy telling people stories in wild places and the different way they interact with the environment around them. 

How has your photography changed over time? 

My start in photography was second shooting local events here in town with my dad, such as ValleyFest. Later, I would branch away from my dad to shoot family portraits, senior portraits, and weddings. I went to high school at Ferris and was apart of the yearbook team, which gave me insight into journalism. Junior and senior year of high school, I was in Running Start at Spokane Falls Community College, where I expanded my photography skills by taking many film, documentary, and studio classes. But my love for photography lives in the outdoors. 

What is integral to your work? 

Something that I’ve learned through the years is how vital the people you surround yourself with really are. The early learning years with my dad taught me to push myself, and get the shot even when it may feel awkward. To always get the full story and capture “Happy smiling people”.  The simple words he engraved into my hippocampus. The very vital team building skill I gained from yearbook and college classes are important for what I do now when working with new clients. But most importantly to me, is the friends and family that continue to encourage me to keep capturing.

What equipment do you use? 

I’m currently a Canon shooter. Rocking the 5d III with a Tamron 24-70 2.8 and 70-210 f4. But I’ve shot everything from Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm, Panasonic, and old Pentax and Roliflex film cameras.

What is your favorite thing to shoot? 

I grew up in Boy Scouts, and every summer around mid-August our troop would go on a trip, also known as a “High Adventure”. This week-long trip varied from year to year. Hiking mountains, biking in Montana, Canoeing, Biking in the Olympics, white water rafting in Glacier National Park, etc. Every year I brought my camera, to capture camp life, the cuts and bruises, and early sunrises. And since then I haven’t found any other outlet of photography that brings me as much excitement as I do when I’m capturing people outside.

You can find Matt and his photography on his Instagram @mattdemke_

Get To Know Our Artist of the Month: Madison

This month is really special for us- with to-go orders only, we are so happy to be able to have beautiful paintings for you to enjoy while you wait for your latte or drip. Here are some questions we asked Madison for y’all to get to know her and her art.

How did you start painting? What inspired you? 

I’m an entirely self-taught artist. Ever since I was young, I’ve been drawing with mostly graphite and charcoal until about five years ago. I was craving color amidst the monochrome palettes I’d become accustomed to for so long. I decided to experiment with a cheap set of acrylic paints and a few second-hand paint brushes and dove into a colorful world of water, binders, and pigments. 

Overall, the landscapes of the PNW have heavily influenced my art. Painting a mountain is almost as exciting as being in the presence of one. 

Tell me about the art that is displayed at First Avenue Coffee. What was the goal/intention? 

The art displayed at 1st Ave is a mixture of expression. My Alpine Meadow acrylic series was a bit of an experimentation with large, bold brush strokes after being so immersed in the intricacies of watercolor painting for an extended period of time. The collection hanging in the coffee shop mixes a bit of the old with the new, demonstrating my own creative growth and curiosities. 

How has your practice changed over time? What is integral to your work?

Creating art for me is very much like putting a part of me on paper or canvas. It’s a soulful experience propelled by my love and admiration for the natural world here in this beautiful state. Being immersed in the forest, or on a mountain top or near the ocean always ignites my creative spirit. Often, I’ll pack my watercolors with me and paint a special vista I’d found on a hike or adventure. One of my favorite experiences was painting the incoming tide atop a jetty with sea water as waves crashed around me. 

Do you pursue any themes? What do you enjoy creating the most? 

Though I try, capturing grand mountains, forests, rivers or seascapes with pigment and paint brushes hardly does justice to the sheer wonder of the earth we inhabit. Through my painting, I hope to convey the sense of magic I experience in each outing or adventure with hopes that others may cultivate the same experience and be inspired to seek that for themselves.

For price, commissions and other inquiries, check out Madison’s Instagram .

Shareables…or maybe don’t!

We’ve been busy whipping up some treats for you to enjoy at home. From take ‘n bake options to shareable breakfast – we made it stupid easy. 

Take ‘n Bake Biscuits

2 classic biscuits | 2 fully loaded biscuits | 2 the fun guy biscuits

Simple and easy instructions to have hot, fresh made biscuits in the comfort of your own home. Each roll holds 2 of our biscuit batter for you to pop in the oven and enjoy with your favorite sauce. Feeling extra fancy? Aaron throws a fried egg on top at home and they are ridiculously delicious.

Breakfast

2 classic biscuits | 2 donuts | 2 drip coffees

A well balanced meal from savory to sweet, our house-made goodies to start your morning. Our classic biscuits are loaded with cheddar cheese and green onion. Chels has whipped up a whole new lineup of seasonal donuts for you to enjoy two of. Last, but definitely not least, 2 cups of Roast House’s holiday Working Elf drip coffee.

Winter Menu is here!

Baby, it’s cold outside and we’ve got all kinds of goodies to warm up your grinchy ol’ hearts. Some say it might be too early, but if you’re anything like us, you could probably use an extra dose of holiday cheer (plus an extra shot of espresso).

COFFEE TODDY

espresso | honey | aromatics | water

You know we love a fully leaded bourbon toddy this time of year, so to kick off the morning we have a coffee riff on the classic cocktail. Taking our house blend espresso, wildflower honey, hot water, and aromatics – this drink delivers all the comforting vibes while that bourbon toddy waits for you at night.

PEACHY KEEN

ginger peach black tea | ginger caramel | milk 

We love Spokane-local Revival tea and they inspire us with their tea mocktails. If you loved the Sweater Weather, you are going to flip for the Peachy Keen. Their ginger peach black tea plays with our house-made ginger caramel and your choice of milk.

LET IT SNOW

white mint | chocolate ganache | espresso | milk 

This latte is all aroma. We make a white mint syrup and combine it with our house chocolate ganache. In goes the espresso, milk resulting in a beautifully fragrant mocha. 

GOLDEN MILK

turmeric | peppercorn | lemongrass | milk 

Brewed in small-batches with single origin and direct trade spices, Dona has been fantastic to work with. All those spices are combined into a concentrate that then gets split with your milk of choice. If you love our chai lattes, you’re sure to love this beauty!

NOT MY GUMDROP BUTTONS!

ginger caramel | espresso | milk 


Ryan has been whipping up seasonal caramels all year. For the winter months, he infused ginger and a whole bunch of magic to create a gingersnap flavor profile. Pair that up with wicked sweet espresso and steamed milk – whew! Your mouth is in for a treat.

Behind your mug of damn good coffee

We know your morning routine- get out of bed, throw on some warm clothes, maybe wipe the frost off of your windshield, and drive to First Avenue Coffee. We know our morning routine- get out of bed, throw on some clothes, listen to some tunes on our drive to First Avenue Coffee, open up the shop, and dial in the drip/espresso. That’s right- we dial in our espresso and drip every day! 

Dialing in Drip

The term “dialing in” refers to the process of balancing the amount of coffee, grind size, output weight and extraction time in order to serve you the best damn cup of coffee. That tasty cup of coffee that you drink every morning requires a lot of science and math. We take into consideration grind size, coffee : water ratio, water temperature, and pulsing of the water used to brew the pot. 

We change our drips throughout the season while always maintaining sustainably sourced and locally roasted coffees from Roast House. You can always count on a dark roast and something fun to mix up your morning routine. Currently, we are serving two blends, Winter Brew and Coast to Coast. Our Winter Brew is made up of natural-process Ethiopia, women-produced Colombia Finca Santa Maria, and our classic Italian (a dark roast Nicaraguan). The initial sip coats the tongue with rich chocolate, almost like chocolate ice cream. After another sip, the coffee tastes like gingerbread and dried cherry. As the coffee cools down, it gets sweeter and tastes like mixed berries along with slight rooibos tea, creating a delightful cup of coffee for any type of weather. 

Our Coast to Coast is a blend of Ethiopia Dimtu Tero and Peru Rutas del Inca. Expect a massive amount of chocolate and caramelized sugars brightened with a juicy acidity reminiscent of perfectly ripe pears. The finish is filled with butter toffee and juicy stone fruits ranging from peach to apricot.

Dialing in Espresso

So, what does it mean to dial in espresso? It is pretty similar to drip but there are more variables since espresso is pulled more frequently. Plus, equipment settings are important for creating a perfect formula. Luckily, our Modbar espresso allows us to have full control of our espresso extraction. We dial in our espresso by considering roast profile, coffee:water ratio, yield, and time. The first stage of dialing in coffee is the grind size- how fine or coarse we want the grind will change the sweetness and strength of the espresso. This varies heavily depending on the origin and roast profile of a coffee. If we pull a shot within our target time range but our output weight is too small or too big, then we are likely to have an unpleasant tasting espresso. For our espresso, we use a house blend of Ethiopia and Sumatra. After we dial in, the result is a chocolate-covered berry that is absolutely dynamite on its own, in an americano or paired in your morning cappuccino!

Whether you need a latte or your morning cup of drip, rest easy knowing we’re up early putting in the work to ensure your cup is the best of the best.

Brand spanking new pour-overs!

We are loving our Pour Over Program, which features a range of wildly delicious coffee that suits all palettes. We like to handpick coffees that range from light to medium to dark. On the menu, you will see our F-Bomb, Viva La Noche, Colombia Tabi Honey, Brazil Sweet Blue, and Ethiopian Nano Genji. Did you catch the two new coffees? That’s right, we added two new pour overs on the menu- Colombia Tabi Honey and Brazil Daterra Sweet Blue. 

SWEET BLUE

Situated 1,150 meters above sea level, “Sweet Blue” is processed using a pulp-natural method before it is vacuum-sealed in 12 kilo bags to preserve freshness. The Daterra Coffee project was planned to produce specialty coffee grounded on environmental preservation and social development. Daterra’s Luis Pascoal met Dr. Ernesto Illy, who inspired him to look for lands in Cerrado Mineiro to reconceive the ecosystem within the farm and surroundings. 

This beautiful Brazil is clean, full-bodied and robust. Full of sweet nuttiness, along with a chocolatey body, offering a smooth finish that tastes like dried fruit and figs. Try it with one of our homemade nut butter donuts for an extra nutty experience. 

COLOMBIA TABI HONEY 

La Pradera Hacienda Cafetera can be found near the Cordillera Oriental Eastern Mountain Range in Aratoca, Santander, Colombia. Oscar Daza, third generation, assumes leadership of La Pradera. Near the crop are beautiful anaco, bucaro guamo, oak, avocado, tangerine, banana and other tree varieties that provide shade. Tabi is a variety that was developed by crossing Bourbon and Typica to have greater natural resistance to disease. This Tabi goes through a honey process which begins by washing ripe cherries to remove dirt, then depulping cherries to separate the bean from the pulp. Mucilage is then left on the cherries as they dry, creating a sweet, fruity cup of coffee. 

Colombia Tabi has a jam-like sweetness that turns into mango, orange marmalade, and butter cookie. Every sip gets sweet and buttery. This is a unique enough coffee that tastes incredible by itself, but pair it with a funfetti cookie to have a little celebration in your mouth. 

Ask your barista next time you’re in for a recommendation for a cup crafted to your tastebuds!

Halloween Donut Decorating Kits

Halloween is coming up this weekend and we’ve got some fun for the whole family! Chels put together adorable DIY donut decorating kits that come with 4 of our house-made donuts and seasonally-inspired decorations.

We have an extra, extra surprise for ya’ll that come in and say “Trick or Treat” on Saturday! We’ll have a bunch of free pouches of Winter Brew to give out. Donuts for the kids…well, who are we kidding, they’re just as delicious for adults and free whole bean coffee for trick or treaters – does it get much better than that?

Join us this Saturday, October 31st from 8:00am-4:00pm!

Reforest Spokane

It’s no surprise we care about the planet. Every coffee we source is certified and roasted by local earth-minded roaster, Roast House Coffee. Protecting the precious resources and diverse ecosystems coffee comes from has been our top priority since day one.

Our commitment to the sustainability of the global coffee supply chain translates to our strong belief in supporting initiatives in our back yard. We’ve partnered with The Land’s Council to fuel the amazing volunteers and staff. They work to revitalize Inland Northwest forests, water, and wildlife through advocacy, education, effective, action, and community engagement.

The annual Reforest Spokane Day a couple weeks ago had a phenomenal turnout of over 250 people signed up! Here’s a recap from their newsletter:

“By 8:45 am, we had several groups of volunteers with shovels in hand and masks on, ready to plant. And volunteers did not stop arriving until 1:45 pm. College students, work volunteer groups, young kids, families… we had over 250 volunteers show up and show up in a big way. These dedicated volunteers planted every area that we had ready and got 1,500 native trees and shrubs in the ground. All while surviving the elements, getting covered in mud — and with a smile!”

If you live in the Inland Northwest, sign up for their newsletter, get involved and if nothing else – know that your support of First Avenue Coffee goes to local and global organizations committed to taking care of our planet.

The Botanical Alchemists Flower Rainbow

Tell us about what you do. Where are ya’ll from? What inspired ya’ll to create this company? What is your goal/mission? 

Ava Barany and Sarah Edwards are the two local Spokane girls that make art as the Botanical Alchemists. Using elements from and inspired by nature, we create very unique floral installations. These floral installations are pretty varied, ranging from 2D flower mandalas, to flower crowns, to fully suspended 3D pieces like dream catchers and rainbows. We have made over a hundred works of nature art in and around the Spokane area (perhaps you’ve already stumbled upon our art? A flower mandala in a local park, a colorful window display at a shop downtown, floral crowns at your best friend’s wedding, a stone labyrinth, or a piece of nature art in the shape of a giant bird, rainbow, lotus, peace-sign, turtle, snake, dream catcher, heart, sun, moon or stars). We draw our inspiration from our deep love of the natural world around us and are on a mission to share our love with you. We do a lot of art just for the fun of it, but also regularly take commissions for private and public events (including weddings, festivals, birthdays and memorials). 

Where do you source your materials from? 

We are avid nature collectors, always keeping our eyes open for fallen branches and gardeners cutting back their flowers throughout the season. We like to use gathered materials as much as possible and are on our arborist and gardener friends’ speed-dial when these occasions come up! We also source many of our actual roses from local florists. They clean out their coolers regularly and let us pick up what would otherwise be thrown in the compost. We like to think we are “saving” the flowers and giving them a second life in our artwork. On some commissions, we work with our handmade paper flowers and at times use both dried and silk flowers for longer lasting pieces. 

If you were a plant/flower, which one would you be? Which one best describes your personality? 

Let’s see, if we were plants… ha, that’s a great question. We are definitely perennial (strong and long lasting). Something colorful (we’ve both got pretty sparkly personalities). Aaaand something that likes the sunshine (we’re both so bright)! We are giggling at this question. We are gonna settle on the wild foxglove. Final answer. Most magical plant ever. It’s darling. Grows with abandon. Cannot be tamed. And it actually is used in heart medicine. Plus they have freckles 😉

What inspired ya’ll to create the rainbow structure that is hung up in our shop? 

The Flower Rainbow was originally commissioned for a suspended art piece in the Riverfront park atrium. It was originally meant to be a sign of hope for the upcoming spring 2020. However, as Covid set in, the rainbow became an even more significant sign of hope. Hope for all our community to weather this storm with kindness and compassion for one and other. We are thrilled it is now moved to 1st Avenue Coffee, where it can provide some color and drama to such a special place. We want folks to know, this glorious rainbow IS available for rent for private events. We are excited for the day it can be a focal point in someone’s wedding! 

How do you choose colors when you are assembling a large scale design? 

Color is definitely our most favorite part of a project and something we think a lot about. Depending what materials are available at a given season, we are both really into creating gradient ombré effects. When you look at the rainbow, you’ll notice it gradually shifts from red through to purple in an almost seamless way. So pretty! 

The next time that you are in, make sure to check out the beautiful rainbow hung up next to our roaster. It is big and beautiful and you will definitely want to take a picture under it! 

Tag @the.botanical.alchemists and @1stavecoffee, we’d love to reshare.