Wednesday, January 27, 2021     Volume: 21, Issue: 47
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Santa Maria Sun / Eats

Dutch Bros Coffee marks its Central Coast debut with a new drive-through location in Santa Maria

CALEB WISEBLOOD

“One of the most rewarding things in this change of occupation was going from smelling cow manure to smelling coffee,” said Dutch Bros Coffee co-founder Dane Boersma on the company’s website, referring to his former career in the dairy business. 

In 1992, Dane and his brother, Travis Boersma, co-founded Dutch Bros Coffee in the Pacific Northwest. Over the next few decades, the company would branch out to more than 400 locations across nine different states. For local operator Nicole Birmingham, bringing the popular coffee chain to Santa Maria in 2021 was a no-brainer. 


Dutch ado about everything
Dutch Bros Coffee is located at 1760 N. Broadway, Santa Maria. Visit dutchbros.com for more info.

COFFEE CALLING
Both hot and iced coffees, plus mochas and teas, are among the featured beverages at Dutch Bros Coffee. A new Santa Maria drive-through location opened its doors on Dec. 31.
PHOTO COURTESY OF OLIVIA ORTIZ

“I was excited about the opportunity to bring Dutch Bros to this community. The Central Coast just made sense when it came to opening shops,” said Birmingham, who described Santa Maria as “a growing city with wonderful residents and businesses.”

The new drive-through shop, located downtown on North Broadway, marks the company’s debut in Santa Barbara County. 

“I’m not originally from Santa Maria, but I already feel a connection to this town,” Birmingham said. “I have been here the last couple of months, and everyone I have interacted with has been so kind and welcoming.”

Birmingham recently moved to Santa Maria from Grants Pass, Oregon—the city where Dutch Bros Coffee originated—and has worked for the company for the past 10 years in various capacities.

“I began as a barista and worked my way up through the Dutch Bros ranks,” Birmingham said.


MASK UP
Local operator Nicole Birmingham described the baristas, lovingly nicknamed Broistas, as “rock stars.” Birmingham first started at Dutch Bros as a barista 10 years ago and worked her way through the ranks.
PHOTO COURTESY OF OLIVIA ORTIZ

The coffee shop aesthetic appealed to her from a young age, she explained. As a kid, Birmingham’s introduction to Dutch Bros Coffee was through outings with her father. Something about watching the baristas, lovingly nicknamed Broistas at Dutch Bros, and how they handled their workflow clicked with Birmingham automatically.

“I visited Dutch Bros with my dad when I was young and fell in love with the energy and the baristas—they were rock stars,” said Birmingham, who was about 10 years old when she tried her first drink from the shop. But it wasn’t coffee.

“I started off with the Not So Hot Chocolate, then made my way to the Kicker as soon as my dad let me,” she said.

For context, the Not So Hot Chocolate is one of several hot (but not too hot) drinks featured on the Dutch Bros kids menu, along with smoothies, frosts (milk shakes), and other cool concoctions. The Kicker is an Irish cream breve, one of the company’s “Dutch Classics,” available as hot or iced. 

Compared to other items in the classics selection, the Kicker sounds the most tame, at least in name. Each of these beverages could easily be mistaken for a professional wrestler or comic book character—the Caramelizer (a caramel mocha), the Annihilator (a chocolate macadamia nut breve), the Double Torture (an extra shot vanilla mocha), the 9-1-1 (a six-shot Irish breve), the list goes on.


COUNTY DEBUT
The new Dutch Bros Coffee drive-through in Santa Maria, located downtown on North Broadway, marks the company’s debut in Santa Barbara County.
PHOTO COURTESY OF OLIVIA ORTIZ

Dutch Bros Coffee has cold brews as well (also available as nitro-infused, “if you need an extra kick”), along with a variety of chai drinks and Dutch Freezes (blended iced espresso concoctions).

“We’re definitely known for our coffee, but what most don’t realize is we offer drinks from smoothies, teas, and lemonade to Dutch Bros Blue Rebel—our private-label energy drink—and more,” said Birmingham, who said her favorite non-coffee beverage at Dutch Bros is the iced strawberry Rebel.

During the winter season, Dutch Bros offers limited-time drinks to “help people get in the holiday spirit, but only for a short while longer,” Birmingham said, with December already behind us. 

If you happen to catch these seasonal specialities—such as the Candy Cane Cold Brew, Sugar Cookies Breve, SnowBerry Rebel, and others—on the menu before they disappear, do not hesitate. But if you miss them, there’s always next holiday season. And with so many other flavors to choose from and mix and match with, customers can basically create any drink they want, which is what led to the Dutch Bros “secret menu.”

“Every drink at Dutch Bros is completely customizable, so the possibilities are pretty much endless,” Birmingham said. “The secret menu was created by Broistas and customers mixing flavors and basically creating new drinks by doing so.”


REBEL WITH A CAUSE
“We’re definitely known for our coffee, but what most don’t realize is we offer drinks from smoothies, teas, and lemonade to Dutch Bros Blue Rebel—our private-label energy drink—and more,” said Nicole Birmingham, whose favorite non-coffee beverage at Dutch Bros is the iced strawberry Rebel.
PHOTO COURTESY OF OLIVIA ORTIZ

Double Rainbro, Unicorn Blood, Molten Lava Mocha, and Ba-Nay-Nay are among the customized creations that became staples on the secret menu. But similar to In-N-Out Burger’s secret menu, it wasn’t secret for long.

“As we have grown, we have seen a high demand for these flavors. So every flavor we officially offer can be found on our website, making our ‘secret menu’ a ‘not so secret menu,’” Birmingham said. 

On Dec. 28, the Santa Maria Dutch Bros held a special preview event, “Friends and Family Night,” a few days ahead of its grand opening on New Year’s Eve. Guests were the first to experience the location’s drive-through.

“Our Friends and Family Night blew me away. I loved how many people showed up to support our new shop,” Birmingham said. “I couldn’t wait to share the experience with the rest of the community.”

With Santa Maria’s spot up and running, Birmingham’s next venture is the upcoming Dutch Bros in Arroyo Grande, set to be located on East Grand Avenue, at the former address of Broadway Bagel. An opening date hasn’t been announced yet, but the venue is currently in construction. 

“I’m so stoked to be the local operator for both the Santa Maria shop and the upcoming Arroyo Grande shop,” Birmingham said. “We focus on opening in cities that are growing and have awesome communities. Santa Maria and Arroyo Grande fit the bill perfectly.”

Send caffeinated comments to Arts Editor Caleb Wiseblood at cwiseblood@santamariasun.com.










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