Review: Ranking Five Kitsap County Coffee Shops

Coffee is cool, coffee is great, but which one do we most appreciate?


The outside of Carly’s Rolling Bay Cafe. (Annella Lyon)

by Annella Lyon, Reporter

Kitsap County has many cafes and coffee shops. Here in the Pacific Northwest coffee plays a big role in the culture of the area. Based on a 2020 study, 62% of Americans drink coffee every day and Washington state is home to the top five most expensive cities in the US to buy coffee in, making it the most expensive state for coffee. 

Here in Kitsap County there are many choices to fulfill peoples coffee needs. I visited five coffee shops and ranked them on a scale of one to ten in four categories: service, taste, look, and cost. 

For service I took a look at store hours, experience with the workers, and the overall atmosphere of the shop. 

The taste category is strictly my preference. Everyone has different things they want when it comes to coffee. The richness and undertones of the flavor as well as the temperature play major roles in what makes the coffee worthwhile to me. 

For the look category I focused on purely the aesthetic choices of the coffee, including the design of the cup and sleeve. 

Lastly for the cost, I compared prices of the coffee to see which one was best for the price and if it was worth a few extra dollars to get the taste and look someone may be looking for. 

At every coffee shop I asked for specifically a 12 oz white mocha with oat milk. I felt that this could give me a pretty good basis to see what techniques each barista and coffee shop uses to craft a latte. 


Port Gamble General Store and Cafe

Starting in fifth place, the Port Gamble General Store Cafe. Not to say that this cafe has bad coffee, it was actually quite good and taste wise is ranked second overall in that category, with a 7/10. 

The mocha had nutty undertones and was the perfect temperature to consume right away. I did find it interesting that there was whipped cream added to the mocha, which I hadn’t really seen before this. The whipped cream did, I feel, replace most of the foam that is usually on top. 

The cafe is located in the back of an old historic building in Port Gamble, which does positively add, but the reason why the store is ranked low on the list is because of the experience and in this case the experience weighed on the ranking. 

While waiting in line, there was an unhappy customer that asked if they could go in front of me. They explained that they were waiting for their sandwiches for 40 minutes, when the employee said that the wait time was originally only 20 minutes. Overall, they seemed very overworked and rushed.

Port Gamble General Store is open from 10 am to 5 pm all week, with an exception of Saturday, when they are open till 6 pm. It doesn’t have a drive through, so it’s not the best to just grab a cup of coffee and it is definitely more of a tourist attraction than anything else.  

For the service category, Port Gamble General Store is ranked the lowest out of all of the coffee shops, with a 3/10, due to the encounter with an unhappy customer and a long wait time.

In the price section, the mocha was about $5, which is good for a cup of coffee, let alone a mocha. So for that, it gets a 7/10 for cost. 

When considering everything, the Port Gamble General Store and Cafe gets an overall rating of 5.75/10, which means it is pretty middle of the road. 


Carly’s Rolling Bay Cafe

Carly’s Rolling Bay Cafe is a cute little cafe on Bainbridge Island and is located next to a plant store. You can grab a quick cup of coffee and browse for plants, but this cafe only has outdoor seating, so in the winter months it is not the best place to go if you want to sit down and catch up with a friend. 

There was only one barista that was operating the cafe, but due to the fact that it was not that busy, it wasn’t an issue at all. The cafe has very limited hours, 7am to 4pm Monday through Friday and 8am to 4pm on weekends. It does not have a drive through, so for service, Carly’s Rolling Bay Cafe gets a 6/10. 

The mocha itself was on more of the bitter side, but had good foam on top. The mocha was also too hot to drink right away and I had to let it cool. I don’t prefer my coffee to be bitter, but I know some people who like strong, bitter coffee. For me it wasn’t my favorite, but it also wasn’t the worst. That leads me to rank the taste a 6.5/10. 

Look wise, the coffee came in a plain white cup with a black lid. Kind of your classic looking generic middle of the road coffee cup. Earning the rating of 5/10. 

On the cost scale it got a 6/10. The total for the mocha was $5.85, not including tax. If you were to order just a mocha it would be $5 even, but they charge you a cup fee and a fee for an alternative milk option, which bumped the price up some. 

Overall, Carly’s Rolling Bay Cafe receives a 5.88/10, making it fourth on the list.



I could not have a complete list without ranking Starbucks. For this specific review, I went to the Bucklin Hill Starbucks in Silverdale. 

The service was great and was exactly what you would expect. The barista was friendly, but the line was long and so was the wait. The store hours are immaculate though. You could almost get coffee at any time of the night and day, with the hours being from 3:30 am to 9 pm Monday through Friday and 4:30 am to 9 pm on the weekends. The hours greatly pull the ranking of service up to a 6/10. 

Taste is also a 6/10, being that it had more sweetness than previous coffee shops. This mocha included whip cream, similar to the Port Gamble General Store and Cafe, which added a little to the sugary taste. 

For looks and aesthetic, Starbucks came in number one, with their cup designs. Starbucks always has interesting cup designs and I feel like it is almost a flex to show up to school or work with a Starbucks cup in hand. So for that they get a, not shockingly, 9/10. 

Starbucks is notorious for their overpriced coffee and I do feel like that holds true. For price they are ranked in last place out of all the coffee shops, with a price of $6.17 including tax, which is the most expensive out of all the ones I reviewed by $0.32, making the rating 4/10. 

All of this makes Starbucks third on the list with an overall score of 6.25/10. 


Peak Level Coffee 

Peak Level Coffee (formally the Chico Way M&T Coffee) is a drive through only coffee stand that is second on the ranking. 

One car was in front of my car and I did not need to wait long to order the coffee. There was one person that was making coffee, as well as taking orders. The barista was friendly and asked me how my day was going and what I had planned to do that day, which I thought was really nice that they wanted to know how I was doing. The hours of Peak Level Coffee are 5am to 5pm Monday through Friday and on weekends the hours are 6am to 5pm. For the service category this gets an 8/10. 

The mocha was not my favorite and for me got last out of all the coffee shops in taste. The mocha was way too sweet and didn’t taste like there was any espresso in it at all. The mocha tasted like warm overly sweetened oat milk, which isn’t a bad thing and I did finish the mocha, but it was just not what I was expecting. Due to that, Peak Level Coffee gets a 4/10 in taste.

As far as looks are concerned, the cup design was similar to, if not exactly the same, as Carly’s Rolling Bay Cafe. The basic typical look contributes to a 4/10 in the look category.  

The cost of  the mocha was $5.26 including tax, which is the cheapest on this list. So it does get first place out of all for cost with a ranking of 8/10. 

6.25/10 is the overall ranking of Peak Level Coffee, which makes it number two on my list. 


Latte on Your Way

Finally at the top of the list, Latte on Your Way, more specifically the WA-3 Poulsbo location. It received best in service and best in taste. This coffee shop is a drive through only stand, so it is not a place where someone would go hang out with friends, but it is a place where you can get good service and good coffee. 

Service here was great with a rating of 8/10. The person at the coffee shop was kind and asked us if we had any plans for the rest of our day, smiled a bunch, and just had a really good vibe. I ordered and got the coffee in a short amount of time. They open as early as 4:30am Monday through Friday and close at 7pm. On weekends they open at 6am and close at 7pm.

The mocha that I ordered was really good and it tasted the best. This was the only mocha that I had earthy undertones, which is my personal favorite taste for coffee, smooth and had a thicker consistency that was lovely.

It was not as sweet, which I don’t have a big sweet tooth, so that was super preferred. On top there was nice foam and I could drink it right away because it wasn’t too on the hot side. All in all, for taste I rank this 8/10. 

In the look category, the design was basic, like most of the other coffee shops. It was simple and felt a bit lacking, but for me looks aren’t as big of a deal as service, taste, or cost. In this section, Latte on Your Way gets a 5/10. 

Cost, for this coffee shop, is also not bad. The white chocolate mocha with oat milk 12 oz, ran me $5.40. Making it third for cost, Latte on Your Way is a 6/10 in this category. 

Overall, Latte on Your Way gets the first of five that I reviewed. This coffee shop is altogether a 6.75/10 and it is better than most of the coffee shops I have visited. 

Coffee shop ratings. (Annella Lyon)