By Jennifer Furber published on May 12, 2017
You’ll soon come to realize it’s the people behind the businesses and the stories they have to tell that make Friday Harbor unique. Just a short walk from our sister inns – Harrison House Suites and Tucker House Inn – is a small coffee shop with personality as big as its owner. Crow’s Nest Coffee Shop has been open for five years. It features popular, iconic harbor décor. Crow’s Nest gets its name from the lookout structure in the upper part of a ship’s mast and is a great vantage point to view the harbor and approaching ferries.
Jon Hurley owns and operates Crow’s Nest. He’s a 6th generation islander with a lengthy barista past. He began at a coffee shop in downtown Portland, and then moved to Seattle. In Seattle, he worked as a barista and a nightclub bartender. Eventually, he worked as a general manager for popular clubs like Alibi Room, Graceland, and Eyespy. Jon’s past in the Seattle club scene is evident in the obscure and eclectic music selection playing as you order a drink.
After the birth of his first daughter, Jon returned to the island to be near family. He comes from a long line of family that is intent on helping people while getting to know the island population. His great grandfather Stephen Boyce was the 1st sheriff on the island and his great grandmother Lucinda was the island’s first midwife. In the late 1850s they left the California Gold Rush and traveled to British Columbia’s Frazier River Gold Rush. By steamship, they relocated to the primitive accommodations of Victoria’s Hudson Bay Stockade before moving to San Juan Island, trading Victorian property for a San Juan Valley farm. As you talk to today’s locals, you’ll find that many ended up here unexpectedly with a great story as to how it all happened.
History is important to Jon, which is why he chose brilliantly roasted Espresso Vivace Beans. These beans are legendary in the coffee industry. David Schomer, a Boeing engineer who took a trip to Italy in 1980, introduced them. He was so impressed with Italian Coffee, he returned to Seattle, quit his engineering job and opened Seattle’s first coffee cart. Jon is a barista trained by legendary Schomer and each Crow’s Nest latte carries Vivace’s signature latte art: hearts and roses. Schomer developed the American science of roasting, the length of the pour, and the temperature control of espresso and steamed milk. Each Crow’s Nest specialty coffee drink is perfection in execution and aesthetics.
Crow’s Nest is busy, often with a swiftly moving line out the door. Barista Jon uses 80 pounds a week of coffee beans in the height of the season, a stark difference from 40 pounds a week mid-winter. Crow’s Nest relies on regulars and is sustained by island visitors. Jon admits he doesn’t always remember people’s names, but can instantly recall their unique drinks.
Crow’s Nest coffee is located at 70 Spring Street in Friday Harbor, Washington. It is open every day of the week, 6:30am – 2:30pm. Stop by for a cup of coffee to fuel your day of Island fun, and then head to Coho Restaurant for dinner.