Zanzibar’s Coffee Adventure is a well-known and locally-owned coffee house on Ingersoll. Zanzibar’s does three things well: It starts with good beans that are carefully roasted, it brews a wide variety of drinks, and it offers a great atmosphere to slow down and enjoy the brew.
First, and foremost, it roasts great coffee beans to perfection. Everything must start with good beans and perfect roasting. The beans are stored in the same burlap bags that they arrive in, with all sorts of exotic locatons stamped on the bag. I think that this is what puts the “adventure” in the name. Coffee cannot be great unless the beans are good beans. And good beans can be turned into bad coffee if the roasting is not done right. Janean has been roasting Zanzibar’s beans as long as I can remember and she roasts them just right. After roasting, the beans are put into sealed plastic bins that are marked with the roasting date. If you make your own coffee drinks and you know what you are looking for, the staff can choose a fresh roast that fits your needs.
Do you want something that would be a strong morning Americano? They can get that. Do you want a mild espresso, or something that will punch through the milk in a latte? They can do that as well. Be sure to ask what they have on hand and do not be afraid to try some different beans. It is amazing how many different varieties they have on hand. And don’t forget the house blend. Blending anything tends to get short shrift. But a good blend of beans can provide a complexity that cannot be found by sticking with just one type of bean and roast. So do not hesitate to give it a try. Good ingredients is where it starts. I should add that for Starbucks fanatics, I’d highly recommend a latte or espresso using their House blend to find out what an espresso is supposed to taste like. If you try this and you still want to drink that evil, burnt black swill they concoct at Starbucks, then, as Southerners say to those they think are idiots, “God bless you.” And unlike Starbucks, you don’t have to memorize secret passwords to order your coffee.
Second, Zanzibar’s can brew a great coffee drink, which is helped greatly by the fact that they start with good beans and a good roast. At certain other coffee establishments they don’t give you much, if any choice of the beans that go into a brew. Zanzibar’s will allow you to choose the bean and roast, grind it for you on the spot, and make a brew that matches your desire.
Third, the characters that are found on both sides of the counter put the finishing touches on making Zanzibar’s what it is. I think that Zanzibar is about as Bohemian as it gets in Des Moines in a beret and chess way. The staff is invariably helpful and freindly and some have been working there for years. The patrons mostly have that comfortable look that invites everyone else to slow down and enjoy the day. If you find an old freind while stopping in, there is no better place to just sit down to catch up on what is going on. There is no wi-fi and with a good cup of coffee you can enter into a coffee time-warp of sorts. Give it a try, and put some coffee adventure into your next outing.
2723 Ingersoll Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50312