If you’re a frequent visitor to Gazebo Gardens you may have noticed it tucked away in the corner near the entrance: Cafe Van Ness, a new player in the local coffee scene. Located in the space formerly occupied by Ooh De Lolli, Cafe Van Ness quietly opened in January and brings a gourmet, indie spirit to an area crowded with chains.
If you’re looking for an extensive menu filled with sugary blended coffee drinks, smoothies, and sodas, you won’t find it at Cafe Van Ness. What you will find are fair trade beans (roasted in the Bay Area), carefully handcrafted espresso drinks, and—by far my favorite—cold brewed iced coffee.
It was the iced coffee that drew me in.
Cafe Van Ness uses a cold pressed process for their cold brewed iced coffee, which results in a smoother, richer taste. Cold brew has become a popular alternative to regular iced coffee due to the way it’s prepared—unlike regular iced coffee, which is brewed in the traditional way and chilled with ice, cold pressed coffee results from steeping the coffee grounds in water overnight. The result is a smoother, less acidic beverage. Popularized by higher-end chains like the Oakland-based Blue Bottle, cold brew has been difficult to find locally (although it’s now available at Starbucks).
The Nitro Cold Brew iced coffee served at Cafe Van Ness is strong and rich without a bitter aftertaste. I took mine with just raw sugar, which is pretty rare. I usually have to add milk or cream to my coffee to cut down on the bitterness.
My kids both ordered black iced tea and added flavored syrups—vanilla for one, peach for the other.
Unique drinks I will definitely be back to try included the Thai coffee and espresso-based lattes like the Simpson (flavored with Aztec chocolate and blood orange) and the Michigan (white chocolate and Irish Crème). Other non-coffee coffeehouse favorites like chai lattes, hot chocolate, and hot tea are also on the menu, as well as a small selection of pastries. They also serve sandwiches for lunch.
The interior is small and cozy with just a few tables and chairs but there is additional seating on the patio and in the gardens, making Cafe Van Ness a truly unique coffeehouse experience.
Cafe Van Ness
3204 N. Van Ness
Fresno, CA 93704
Hours of operation:
7:00 am – 2:00 pm, Monday – Friday; 8:00 am – 2:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday
- Keep it Local – Three Ways to Celebrate National Root Beer Float Day - August 6, 2015
- More Than Books: Six Reasons You Should Join the Fresno County Public Library - July 30, 2015
- Gazelle Gear – Your Next Essential Athletic Accessory - July 23, 2015