Good ol’ coffee

Illustration by Mark Stivers

Cool beans: Ryan Harden hopes to open his new cafe (429 12th Street) by late spring “if everything goes right, which it probably won’t.”

Until then, the co-owner of Camellia Coffee Roasters says beans can be tasted in the Kenyan—a pale ale made in collaboration with Ruhstaller that’s infused with cold-brewed coffee—or online in an unpretentious breakfast blend from Brazil ($15). He claims that his roasts rival any other Sacramento distributor’s—not a particularly special achievement, according to Harden.

“Everybody’s coffee is exactly the same,” said Harden, the head roaster, who left Old Soul Co. “We’re all specialty coffee roasters. We all buy from a lot of the same importers and farms. … [That said], we take coffee seriously. But I mean, we’re not brain surgeons or rocket scientists. We’re coffee roasters.”

Harden wants to appeal to connoisseurs without alienating casual coffee-drinkers. He’ll experiment with darker roasts to re-explore “earthier” flavors that have been overtaken by lighter roasts, which (allegedly) contain fruity, spicy or herby flavors—descriptions Harden can find a bit silly.

“Like [some people say], ’Oh man, this really tastes like blueberries right now,’” he said as an example. “No. It really just tastes like coffee, a neat coffee. It’s good. And that’s it. There’s nothing wrong with making good coffee.”

(Still, Camellia’s website says the breakfast blend tastes like “milk chocolate covered peanuts,” which, c’mon.)

Harden’s partner, Robert Watson, managed Insight Coffee Roasters’ Southside Park location before leaving to run Camellia’s business end. At their new shop, they plan to have spectacular Wi-Fi, but to prevent people from “setting up their office,” there will be no plugs. They haven’t nailed down the aesthetic, but pledge it won’t be reclaimed wood—a trend Harden wishes “would die.”

Resist this: Kipp Berdiansky, owner of the horror-film-themed Donut Madness (2648 Watt Avenue), drew from our terrifying reality to make the “Dough-nald Trump” donut.

Served with either a Russian or American flag, the raised doughnut gets filled with a Greek yogurt custard, coated in an orange zest glaze and adorned with a chocolate-icing open-mouthed scowl. At the top, Berdiansky sprinkles baked strips of a thin, phyllo-esque dough.

“They’re flaky and golden,” he said. “Just like his hair.”