The Best Cup In Town

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Brewed Awakening in Port Orchard. MEEGAN M. REID / KITSAP SUN

By Terri Gleich

What’s the secret to brewing the best tasting cup of coffee in the West Sound?

According to Marcy and Jason Cartwright, whose Brewed Awakening drive-through coffee stand in Port Orchard won top honors from Kitsap Sun readers, high-quality, shade-grown organic beans are just the beginning.

Without a skilled barista, they contend, the best beans in the world won’t elevate a mere cup of joe to a memorable brew.

“People don’t realize the science and art behind it,” said Marcy Cartwright, who underwent a rigorous testing process by the Specialty Coffee Association of America to become a certified barista. She said technique, temperature and even atmospheric pressure can affect coffee’s flavor.

To make sure every cup served at Brewed Awakening’s three locations is consistently delicious, Cartwright painstakingly passes along her knowledge to new employees in a “coffee boot camp.”

Brewed Awakening’s signature drinks include “The Awakenator,” which is 32 ounces with 5 shots, and “The Ultimate Hippie,” yerba mate with raw honey and hemp milk.

The shops serve homemade whipped cream atop beverages, offering a choice of vanilla, chocolate and a flavor of the week.

Sun readers are appreciative of the extra effort.

“Best people and coffee in town,” said one voter. Another enthusiastic supporter wrote: “Absolutely the best coffee and ALWAYS the friendliest of service.” And, a third commented: “You are all amazing and make the BEST tasting coffee in town by far.”

Marcy and Jason opened their first shop in Seabeck six years ago. Jason, an electrician, was looking for a new line of work after suffering a near-deadly shock on the job.

He brought construction and permitting expertise to their business venture and Marcy contributed six years of experience working in coffee shops. They expanded to Port Orchard four years ago and added the Belfair location in 2010. “It was a big, scary risk at first,” Marcy recalled.

Jason believes they have been successful in a highly competitive business because they treat their employees well and listen to their customers.

“If you’re just worried about making money, you’re not going to do as well,” he said. “We really try to listen to what our customers are saying because they’re making our paychecks.”

The Cartwrights also infuse their operation with humor.

The pair jokes that their 8-by-14-foot Port Orchard stand is one-butt wide.

They also take a lighthearted jab at some of their scantily clad competitors with Brewed Awakening T-shirts and sweatshirts that boast: “Our coffee is so good, we don’t have to take our clothes off.”

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