Voyager Craft Coffee, Santa Clara University

One of Voyager Craft Coffee's signature desintation drinks, the Santiago, served in a large, purple cup with a small latte art heart.Located on The Alameda, just east of the beautiful Santa Clara University campus, this is one of two new (to me) locations for Voyager Craft Coffee since I last visited San Jose/Santa Clara in early 2020 (the other is in Cupertino). It opened not long after that trip, in April 2020, which means that its entire existence has been during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a convenient 20-minute walk south of Santa Clara station on the Caltrain line between San Jose and San Francisco, my main axis for exploring the peninsular. However, Santa Clara is also served by the Amtrak’s Capital Corridor and the ACE commuter service, connecting it with the East Bay and beyond.

Voyager is on the corner with Chapman Court, occupying a simple, rectangular space with the narrow side facing The Alameda. There’s plenty of seating inside, while outside, in the shade of three large trees along Chapma Court, you’ll find lots more tables. There’s the usual Voyager offering, with the house blend, single-origin and decaf on espresso, joined by pour-over, batch brew and a range of travel/destination-themed signature drinks, everything roasted in-house. Meanwhile, if you’re hungry, there’s a selection of toast-based items, granola and a range of cakes.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Voyager Craft Coffee on The Alameda, as seen looking across Chapman Court.
  • The view head-on, although the door is at about 60° to The Alameda.
  • There's seating down the side of Voyager on Chapman Court, with these three tables...
  • ... with more in the shade of the trees on the other side of the pavement.
  • Let's go in, shall we?
  • The view from just inside the door, where the counter is directly opposite.
  • The door, as seen from the inside.
  • There's seating on the left, between the counter and the windows at the front.
  • This bench runs along the windows at the front, with three of these fixed, round tables.
  • There's also a communal table with six of these barrel-shaped stools.
  • The rest of the seating is down the right-hand side, with five sets of tables...
  • ... each set consisting of a pair of well separated tables, with a bench along the wall.
  • Finally, there's an alcove at the back on the right, with the last of the seating...
  • ... an L-shaped, padded sofa-bench with three more fixed, round tables and two stools.
  • Voyager has plenty of neat features, like this little library to the right of the door.
  • These plants grow in pots on the wall between the counter and the front of Voyager.
  • There's also plenty of artwork, including these paintings on the wall towards the back...
  • ... and this giant mural halfway down the right-hand wall.
  • It was hard to get a clear picture with the lights, but this shows a bit more detail.
  • Talking of which, Voyager has plenty of interesting light fittings. There's an interesting...
  • ... story behind the shades. This is how the designer meant them to look. However...
  • ... the installers thought they'd been damaged so 'fixed' them. Now they look like this!
  • The view from below (of one of the 'fixed' ones).
  • Fans of conventional light bulbs are also catered for by this row above the counter front.
  • Although the counter is opposite the door, this line of retail shelves leads you to the...
  • ... back of the counter, where the menu is displayed on the wall. You then double-back...
  • ... to return along the length of the counter.
  • This takes you past the cakes, in their neat display case...
  • ... and past more retail bags of coffee, to the till.
  • In case you didn't have a chance to decide when looking at the menu on the wall...
  • ... this is repeated on the counter top by the till.
  • Once you've ordered, head past the espresso machine and its three grinders...
  • ... pausing to admire the sleak curves of the La Marzocco Strada.
  • There's also a Ground Control filter machine (soon to be redeployed to Cupertino).
  • Drinks/food are collected at the far end, where there's a good view of the Strada.
  • Down to business. I started with a cortado, made with the Cascade blend...
  • ... which I had with my lunch, the caprese toast.
  • I followed this up with one of Voyager’s signature drinks, the Santiago.
  • I'll end with the gift I left on Voyager's book shelf: a copy of The Philosophy of Coffee!
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Voyager Craft Coffee is on the south side of The Alameda, close to the junction with El Camino Real. Standing on the corner with Chapman Court, it occupies a simple, open, high-ceilinged space which is almost as tall as it is as wide, and about twice as long. The narrow side faces El Camino Real, with the door inset on the corner at the unusual angle of about 60°. If you want to sit outside, there’s a row of three three-person tables against the right-hand wall with another four tables on the other side of the broad pavement next to the quiet Chapman Court.

There’s even more seating inside, arranged across the front and down the right-hand side, while the large counter is on the left, set back from the window. The seating starts to the left of the door, a wooden bench running along the window at the front, before continuing a short way down the exposed brick of the left-hand wall. There are three fixed, round tables here, each with a small, barrel-shaped stool. A six-person communal table, seating provided by more of the barrel-shaped stools, stands between the window and the counter, which starts about a third of the way down the left-hand wall, before running all the way to an enclosed kitchen at the back.

In contrast, the seating carries on all the way to the back wall, creating a small alcove on the right, where there’s an L-shaped padded sofa-bench along the wall of the kitchen, continuing across the back of Voyager. This has another three of the fixed, round tables, along with two more of the barrel-shaped stools. The rest of the seating is opposite the counter, where there are five sets of tables, each set with a pair of two-person tables, seating provided by a bench along the windows/wall, while there are chairs on the other side. Each table is well separated from its neighbour in the set, while each set has a metre-high wooden partition between them.

Voyager has a neat one-way system, with a long set of retail and merchandising shelves running between the counter and the seating. This directs you to the right, leading you down past the tables to the end of the counter where you order, before doubling back on yourself to return along the counter, past the espresso machine, to the front, where you collect your food and drinks.

I’d come for lunch and, in search of something different, I eschewed my usual choice of avocado toast (which I’d really enjoyed at both San Pedro Square Market and the original Voyager Craft Coffee). Instead, I went with the barista’s recommendation of the caprese toast, which was very tasty, a single slice of thick, multigrain toast topped with cubes of mozzarella and drizzled in balsamic vinegar.

I paired this with a cortado, the rich Cascade house blend going very well with the milk to produce a lovely, sweet drink. The last time I’d had this (at San Pedro Square Market), I remember it being a little fruity, but this time it was producing more classic chocolate notes. I had a little time to kill before my train, so, having never had one of Voyager’s signature drinks, I ordered a decaf Santiago, fully expecting to hate it. The result was surprisingly nice, with the overall effect being a sweet, milky latte with the cayenne providing a pleasing tingle to the lips. Consider me impressed!

2221 THE ALAMEDA • SANTA CLARA • CA 95050 • USA
www.voyagercraftcoffeeorders.com +1 408 217 8599
Monday 07:00 – 17:00 Roaster Voyager (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:00 – 17:00 Seating Tables; Tables (outside)
Wednesday 07:00 – 17:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 07:00 – 17:00 Service Counter
Friday 07:00 – 17:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 07:00 – 17:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 07:00 – 17:00 Power Yes
Chain Local Visits 25th July 2022

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