Deathproof Coffee (Boise, ID)

First things first: I’m gonna apologize if this post ends up not being up to my usual standards, whatever the hell those are. I did that One Chip Challenge thing last night, and I’ve been a little out of sorts ever since. I didn’t take, and won’t be posting, any video. I wasn’t in it for the contest, and I have no idea what the prizes are. I did it for shits and giggles, and let’s just say that there weren’t any giggles and move on.

I keep seeing on social media that tomorrow is National Coffee Day. Not that it particularly means anything since there’s a “national day” for frigging everything, and the best you can hope for is that a place you like nearby that traffics in whatever is being highlighted that day has some kind of special you can take advantage of. Not that it’s usually worth it. Don’t believe me? Trying going to Café Olé on National Margarita Day. Anyway, I’m going to take this opportunity to share one of my favorite local coffee joints with you fine folks.

Deathproof Coffee storefront

Now I’ve seen the name of this place stylized in all sorts of ways. According to their website (which is fitting since it’s also the address of the website), they’re DEATHPROOF.COFFEE. Same thing on Instagram, but on Facebook they’re Deathproof.Coffee, and on Twitter they’re just Deathproof Coffee. On their storefront, they’re DEATHPROOF COFFEE. When referring to themselves in their posts, they tend to just say deathproof or DEATHPROOF. The most important thing I can tell you at this point is that, despite what pretty much everyone seems to think when I tell them about this place, they have nothing to do with Bulletproof Coffee, nor are they putting their own spin on that particular concept. No, their name was inspired by something infinitely cooler. To me, at least.

That’s right. In an unassuming strip mall at the corner of Fairview and Five Mile in Boise where it shares a block with, among other things, a Korean grocer and a thrift store and what used to be a K-Mart but is probably almost certainly a Halloween store at the moment, there is a coffee shop whose name was inspired by what Quentin Tarantino has openly stated is his worst film. Personally, I love it, but it’s probably safe to say that someone who would name a business after it liked it even more.

Now I’m kind of picky when it comes to coffee shops, but what I consider important aren’t the same things that other people seem to look for. I don’t particularly care if a coffee shop has a drive-through (though it can be nice). I’m a bit put off by the loud, poppy music you tend to find at Dutch Bros. And then there’s the interrogations they subject you to. Seriously. Asking how someone is doing is fine, but then they ask you what you’re doing today. If you tell them you’re just on a break from work, they ask you where you work, and sometimes what you do there. Or they’ll ask you what your weekend plans are, and the more vague you are, the more questions they ask. JUST GIVE ME MY FUCKING DRINK AND MY PUNCH CARD ALREADY. If there’s anything that drives me crazier than that, it’s Starbucks. Like Starbucks as a whole. Pretty much everyone close to me claims to love coffee, but when you ask them where they get it, most of them will say Starbucks. Like even on a road trip to Seattle, the hub of coffee culture in America and home to a seemingly endless number of options for indulging a caffeine craving, I usually get dragged to Starbucks. Aside from the forced bonhomie and the by committee corporate vibe, I think their coffee sucks. First of all, most of their selections barely qualify as coffee. What you’re more likely to get is a glass of warm milk with a splash of coffee in it. Plus the more coffee is actually in your drink, the shittier it’s apt to taste because they tend to over-roast their beans and leave them with a level of bitterness you generally only see at a diner towards the end of the breakfast shift when they’ve been light on customers that day and haven’t had to make a fresh pot for a while.

Deathproof Coffee counter

A good example is the macchiato. The macchiato is an Italian espresso beverage that comes in two primary variations. An espresso macchiato is coffee with a dash of milk, while a latte macchiato is a more complicated, layered drink that’s mostly milk topped with layers of espresso and foam. According to the Starbucks menu, they actually have the former, though I’ve never heard or seen anyone order it. They don’t have the latter. They do have a number of what are supposedly variations on it, the most famous of which is their caramel macchiato and which bears no resemblance to the traditional beverage even in the pictures. Don’t even get me started on their version of a flat white. Order a macchiato at Deathproof, and they’re likely to size you up and ask you which version you want, which is definitely one of the things I love about them.

Deathproof Coffee wall art

I also really dig the chill, alternative vibe. What can I say, I’ve never really grown out of my own alternative/punk/goth/rivethead phase. I like the music they play. I like the laid back, tatted up, and pierced baristas who actually seem to care about what they do. I like the weird cartoony wall art, the concrete floors, and of course I like the coffee. Not only because when I order a macchiato or a cortado or a cappuccino I can actually expect to get what I ordered rather than some random bullshit appropriating a name, but because on the rare occasion that I feel like a frou-frou drink, Deathproof has me covered there as well. Plus, I can still taste coffee in their more elaborate concoctions. And given my proclivities, it doesn’t hurt that most of those are named from movies as well. Not so much their Red Skull or Purple Rain, which are a little too frou for me, but (fittingly, I suppose) the ones named for horror films, which are one of my great loves. The Elm Street, a frosted mint almond mocha with six shots of espresso, is a menu mainstay.

Elm Street from Deathproof Coffee

They’ve also had other movie-themed specials from time to time, such as the Hell Boy (spicy Mexican mocha), the Stay Puft (s’mores-flavored breve), and one of the more interesting coffee beverages I’ve tried, the Swamp Thing (pistachio and Irish cream latte). Overall, I think the greatest compliment I can pay this place is that I make the effort to go there. Their hours are a bit restrictive and they’re not exactly conveniently located for me, in fact they’re in an area of town that I rarely have any reason to be in. Plus when I do go there, I tend to linger. Most of the places I grab a coffee from, I’ll hit the drive-through if they have one, or just grab and go at the counter if they don’t. When I go to Deathproof, there’s a 90% chance that I’m going to grab a seat, kick back, listen to the music, and enjoy my beverage. I might thumb through whatever book I’m reading at the moment or look up a few random things on my phone, but for the most part I just soak in the vibe.

The Venue at Deathproof Coffee

They also have a party rooms available, should you need one, and in the back there’s a 360 person capacity venue used for everything from live bands to improv nights to private events to…wrestling? It looks like there’s a wrestling event set for November on their calendar. Anyway, I know this place won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Well, coffee. Although they probably have tea as well. But if you’re curious and think you might click with what they’re doing, I heartily recommend stopping by and checking them out. I’m always seeing people go on about supporting small, local, independent businesses. To be honest, that’s not something I’m rabid about. But I happily support the small, local, independent businesses that I truly like, and I like Deathproof.