A Sailors Addiction – Baby’s Coffee

Some of Baby’s blends are very creative.  My favorite is Sexpresso.

I’m an addict.  We all have our vices.  My personal addiction isn’t rum or beer; though that is getting hard to deny with all the pictures of me having fun in the little latitudes.  Mine is a great cup of coffee.

Black coffee is the way I take it.  Cream or milk is fine in coffee but most salty sailors drink it black because fresh dairy is not available after a few days at sea.  When you stand the 4 to 8 watch you need a companion to keep you sharp.  Coffee connects me to my time at sea from sailboats, to merchant ships and aircraft carriers.  I exclusively drink my coffee from my Navy mugs to this day.

On 17 January 2008 I got my first glimpse at what is today my favorite coffee.  Baby’s Coffee, at mile marker 15, on Saddlebunch Key in the Florida Keys.  It was before sunrise on a Thursday and they were closed. I was in the last two days of walking the entire 106 miles of the Florida Keys.  My 85 lb pack was feeling heavy, my feet hurt and I desperately needed a good cup of coffee.  It wasn’t meant to be.

Babys Store Front. MM15 Florida Keys.

Babys Store Front. MM15 Florida Keys. ©2010 Pati Hall

On my way back up the Keys a few days later, in a car this time, I did stop in and fell in love.  Baby’s doesn’t look like much from the road.  There isn’t much on Saddlebunch Key anyway, so most people don’t even slow down to look.  It is set back a bit across a white coral lot and passes for a place that would compete with the hot watery crap a gas station would sell.

Baby’s calls itself the Southernmost Roasters.  Most business in the Keys call themselves the southernmost something.  They roast their coffee in Breaux Bridge Louisiana and sell it online and at the store in the Keys.  In 1991, Gary and Olga setup shop in an old 1920’s era building on Duval St.  The place used to be owned by a Cuban family who called it Baby’s Place.  Gary and Olga stuck with the inspiration and Baby’s Coffee was born.

Baby's Coffee. Fresh order arrival.

Baby's Coffee. Fresh order arrival. ©2011 Carlton Grooms

What I like most about Baby’s coffee is that they roast the coffee only when you order it.  They don’t vacuum pack it or fill it with nitrogen.  The aroma when the coffee arrives fills the house. They send you the coffee in small Ziploc type bags.  I don’t freeze it, I leave it as is and try to order just enough to get by, four pounds typically, so it stays fresh.  Baby’s coffee is all that I drink now.

Some of Baby’s blends are very creative.  My favorite is Sexpresso.  I buy it whole bean and use a machine that grinds the coffee for each pot to further enhance the freshness.  Some of my other favorites include Hemingways Hair of the Dog, Jet Black, Baby’s Private Buzz and Voodoo Queen.  They have some super caffeine blends for your addiction as well.

Baby's Coffee.

Baby's Coffee. ©2011 Carlton Grooms

Some of the best restaurants in Key West serve Baby’s further boosting their reputation.  One of my favorite restaurants, Blue Heaven (Corner of Thomas and Petronia Street) serve up a great Lobster Benedict and cup of Baby’s.  Remarkable.

If you have a salty soul like me and enjoy a great cup of coffee look at Babys.  (www.babyscoffee.com).  You will smell Key West and taste Louisiana.  Your mind will take you to the helm of an old Schooner as you make ten knots with St. Kitts off your port beam, welcoming a new day.



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  1. A Little Heaven in Old Key West - My Blue Heaven Rendezvous | Coastlines & Tan Lines™ - June 14, 2011

    […] to Blue Heaven for breakfast, even after a big night prior.  I start with fresh Baby’s Coffee (see my article on this Key West roaster).  And I never forget the banana bread.  It is made fresh and melts in your mouth.  Regardless […]

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