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.
There’s something about Stevens Creek Boulevard, home of today’s Coffee Spot, Voyager Craft Coffee. It occupies the very unit that was home to the original Bellano Coffee, now established in downtown San Jose as B2 Coffee. Meanwhile, heading slightly further along (going west towards Cupertino) you’ll find Chromatic Coffee, another coffee shop/roaster with a considerable reputation.
However, at first sight this all seems very unlikely. Stevens Creek Boulevard is a busy urban highway, lined with wall-to-wall car dealerships on either side. This is pretty much the impression you get at second sight too. Walking along it further reinforced this impression. It is definitely not somewhere you would expect to find great coffee, but, tucked away along its north side, in a non-descript unit at the end of a non-descript mall, is Voyager Craft Coffee.
These days, Voyager roasts its own coffee, with a blend on espresso and five filter options, which includes a guest and a decaf. There’s also a range of destination drinks, inspired by the coffee cultures of various countries around the world, plus some seasonal specials. If you’re hungry, there’s a concise, toasted-based food menu, with a selection of cakes and pastries if you want something sweeter.
On my first visit to San Jose in 2017, Chromatic Coffee was already an established name in the area. Unfortunately, I was too early for the downtown San Jose location, which opened in June that year (and, sadly, has since closed), so my only option was the original, flagship branch on Stevens Creek Boulevard. Located 6 miles west of San Jose in neighbouring Santa Clara, I wasn’t able to visit on that trip. However, when my friend Richard, who I was staying with on this trip, said he would drop me off on his way to work, I jumped at the chance.
Chromatic Coffee is part of a small outdoor mall, with a large, outdoor seating area and plenty of seating inside. The coffee, roasted in-house at the San Jose roastery (which, since the end of 2019, has its own coffee shop), is available in retail bags. There’s a blend (which switches between Gamut and Heart’s Desire) and single-origin on espresso, with multiple seasonal choices on batch-brew (blend plus two single-origins) and pour-over (decaf plus two more single-origins). As well as coffee, there’s craft beer, while if you’re hungry, Chromatic has a toast-based brunch menu, grab-and-go salads and a large selection of cakes and pastries.