We found a Stormtrooper in Girdwood

February 22, 2016 at 1:05 pm (Alaska, American, Coffee) (, , )

It’s a rather dreary winter morning in Anchorage; above freezing temperatures are melting last night’s snowfall and a light drizzle is helping to turn the roads to slush. Deciding that it is a bit early to curl up on the couch with a movie (and not game to risk getting caught outside on a two-turned-four hour hike if the weather decided to take a turn for the worse – the subject of another story), we turn to Melbourne habits and set out in search of a coffee spot to kill some time. Having already done some rounds of Anchorage’s espresso houses, it’s time to look a bit further afield, so it’s onwards to Girdwood to check out the resort town in the middle of winter.

The drive south becomes a bit of an adventure in itself, with the light rain over the city area rapidly turning into a torrential downpour.  Driving along Turnagain Arm, it could not be more different from the golden forests and calm blue waters of our last trip here in autumn, but is no less spectacular; icy mountains dappled red by patches of red-barked trees stripped of their foliage, vast expanses of storm-grey water, with snow-capped peaks, barely visible through the fog, a constant in the distance.

The Grind - Turnagain Arm

We finally pull into Girdwood after keeping a cautious pace down the highway and it’s pretty much the same as last time, just grey-er, still quiet as a result of the weather and a low-snow season is our guess. We make a mad dash for the welcome warmth of The Grind coffee house.

The Grind - Sign

Small and unassuming, The Grind is a small-batch roaster, serving organic, fair-trade coffee.  Hats off for not plastering “organic”, “fair-trade” signs up all over the shop.  Wall space is instead reserved for paintings of Gandalf, an eclectic collection of local artwork and floor-to-ceiling bookcases filled with all manner of irreverent toys and pop-culture collectibles for sale.  In the middle of Girdwood, Alaska, we have discovered the ultimate geek hideout for a rainy day.

The Grind - Toys

The Grind - Wall Art

Grab a brew and settle in by the (very effective) gas heater with a game of Monopoly or one of the sci-fi/fantasy novels scattered around the room.  All under the watchful eyes of the R2 unit nestled under the coffee counter and the raccoon Stormtrooper in the corner (who does happen to be holding a “fair-trade” and “organic” coffee sack – they’re allowed one right?).

The Grind - Books

The Grind - Trooper

They’ve got the standard range of espresso-based drinks (lattes, Americanos, breves, steamers, no macchiatos though), drip coffee, some frappe-style cold options for warmer days and a daily special (a banana-coconut Bob Marley tempts us).  Our 8oz coffees are hot and pleasingly strong with an extra shot.  There are cookies and buttery muffins if you’re peckish and they’ve even thoughtfully plastered the countertop with amusing memes to keep you entertained whilst waiting for your order.

The Grind - Coffee

The Grind - Counter


The rain lets up somewhat by the time we finish our drinks and it’s a good cue to start heading back before the forecast afternoon storm.  Might be able to fit in a couple of Starcraft missions before that movie.
The Grind Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato



  1. Gary Motteram said,

    Read somewhere the other day that it’s been the warmest Arctic winter for …. ever? With temp anomalies of up to +40 degrees (F I guess). Maybe it’s making up for it now.
    A big yellow ball in a blue sky must be a distant memory, but yes, there is something about the white wonderland – before it turns to slush.
    Drive safely, and don’t let Luke go all Grizzly Adams in bad weather!
    Off to google ‘breve’ and ‘steamer’, and wonder where on planet you have to go to escape those $&@) memes.

    • egg tarts and apple pie said,

      Yes, the papers here all talk about this being the warmest winter in a while. I don’t know how I’d handle a normal one haha.

      Don’t worry, I will get him out of the house. If he had his way, it would just be Hearthstone, Starcraft and naps 😛

      Steamers and breves are both made with half and half. Sound tasty but I haven’t mustered up the courage to drink foamed cream….

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