Moxie Java: a love/hate story

The Coffee Guy @ Moxie JavaSo, here I am at the Moxie Java Bistro off Chinden. I’ve come here with a “duel” purpose in mind: first off, to get some homework done. Second, and probably far more interesting, to do a review of one of Boise’s oldest original coffee shops.

Moxie Java’s website boasts:

Moxie Java® has been a fixture on the Idaho coffee scene for a long time. We are consistently rated the top coffee and beverage company, beating out more established and well-known brands.”

moxie javaGood, point Moxie. But ratings put aside, what does the coffee really taste like?
To put it short, crap. The coffee tastes like crap.
That being said, I would be remiss in my duties if I didn’t say why, and give a complete review of my experiences with Moxie Java.

Moxie brews White Cloud Coffee, a local roaster located just down the road from the Bistro/HQ. Many years ago I did a fund raiser which consisted of selling bags of White Cloud Coffee door-to-door. Many doors were closed in my face as people said “Oh. White Cloud Coffee. I think I’ll pass today.” I didn’t understand then, but I get it now. White Cloud Coffee’s roast is…sub-par. When it comes to taste, it really is rather boring. Whereas at Starbucks you get a darker taste, and at Dutch Bros you’ll receive a sweet shot, Moxie (White Cloud) boasts neither.

In fact, many fellow “coffee snobs” would say you get the opposite effect with Moxie’s coffee. I’ve talked to some that refuse to purchase it under any circumstances.

I’m not quite so radical. Moxie’s coffee holds no appeal to me, however I’ll get it if that’s what it takes for me to grab a seat (and free internet) in one of their many locations around the Treasure Valley. Ergo, my visit today.

The environment in the Moxie Java Bistro is genuinely nice. The baristas are nice, the customers are nice, the couches are nice. It has a fire place that’s on when it gets cold, providing a warm, homey feel. The Bistro is very much coffee themed, even to the point of various drinks inscribed on the walls.
I really do like the Bistro and the environment it provides. And the free internet. *hint, hint Starbucks.*

So why go to Moxie? If you’re not a HxC coffee extraordinaire you probably won’t notice a difference in the coffee. If you’re into fine brews, you probably will. Either way, you can appreciate the meeting-friendly, homework-friendly, people-friendly environment Moxie Java has to offer.

The Coffee Guy

What do you think of Moxie?


A reliable source has informed me that Moxie Java Bistro does not use White Cloud Coffee as their roast provider. They roast their own coffee out of the attached wharehouse, and have created a “Moxie Java International” which the Chinden Headquarters runs. That being said, the coffee is still a very weak roast. A “different” roast to be sure, different in that it tastes bad.

20 thoughts on “Moxie Java: a love/hate story

  1. You mean you’ve never smelled them roasting coffee on the way to Vineyardl in the morning? ;0)

    (And it doesn’t smell good. I think they over-roast/burn their beans.)

    1. Oh man, I so have. I’m not sure if it’s due to over-roasting, or simply just to roasting gross beans. Over-roasting generally produces a darker (burnt) taste. Think Starbucks. Roasting of gross beans will produce…well you get the idea.
      That being said, I could be wrong.

  2. Don’t judge coffee by what it smells like while being roasted. Roasting is very often not a very pretty smell, even for properly roasted coffee.

    That being said, White Cloud Mountain coffee used to be a very fine brew indeed, but I am afraid their quality has taken a significant dive.

      1. I am a big fan of Dawson Taylor coffee, my favorite being the Back Country blend, or the Tanzanian Peaberry. I like my mochas to have a real kick to them, and think that Dawson Taylor, with their Ghirardelli syrup and unlimited shots makes them as powerful as they come. Eagle Roasters also has some pretty good stuff as well. Purple Bean roasters has my favorite Columbia Supremo roast, but the local Flying M never has enough places to plug in my computer, so I don’t make it in there very often.

  3. Hi Coffee Guy,

    Moxie Java did indeed use White Cloud coffee until they opened the Bistro building that you wrote your article from. At that time they decided to roast their own beans. They took the same roast and blend names that they had established with White Cloud and tried to manufacture the roasts themselves. While I never was a big fan of of Moxie with the White Cloud bean, they really lost me when they moved away from them.

    The coffee is inconsistent, weak, and often bitter. The same drink will taste much different at various Moxie locations. One bag of beans marked Cowboy blend will taste different than the next (and often not better).

    Although I appreciate the free internet, the big painting of the gorilla at the bistro makes just doesn’t fit. I find the setting to be unnerving.

    And yes, my biggest frustration with Moxie is polluting the morning air with the putrid smell when they roast. I love the smell of roasting coffee, but what comes out of their facility makes me want to retch as I go outside to pick up the morning paper.

    Just because it is an Idaho franchise does not mean it is good or worth supporting with my patronage. I’d rather have a cup of the instant VIA coffee from Starbucks than anything out of a Moxie shop.

    1. Chad-
      Great points! I’ve decided I’d rather spend my time at Barnes & Noble. They now provide complimentary wi-fi, have free study materials (books galore!) and Starbucks coffee. I’m not a die-hard fan of Starbucks either, but at least it’s consistent. Like you said, Moxie’s different every time. Never good, just different shades of gross.


  4. Great review 🙂 And I have to agree (about the flavor….don’t know much about odors de roasting 🙂 I have tried mochas and lattes there and have given up as they always taste as though they have spoiled milk in them. Last I had their mexican mocha it wasn’t bad but they can’t ice it so that cuts out summer…haven’t tried their drip so I can’t judge that 🙂 I am a die hard DT fan though so generally speaking I spend entirely too much gas driving me out of my way to get to my addiction :p

  5. Coffee Guy,
    I love your site…have linked mine to yours.

    And I am not EVEN a java drinker…never have been. But I DO love the smell of napalm in the…er, I mean “coffee” in the morning.

    Thanks for providing a service to the bean-heads of the area.

    May your coffee cup overflow with joy and good java juice.


  6. I’ve never been a Moxie fan, as they really don’t have a clue how to make good espresso…. yeah, they were “first” in Boise…but it doesn’t seem they looked into how it worked before they began! The only coffee I like there is their flavored coffee, because no one else serves that and I LIKE flavored coffee… I know, I know, a “real” coffee connoisseur won’t drink flavored brews… so sue me. As far as that roasting smell…. I don’t think quality of beans has anything to do with it. My dad has his own roaster, buys super beans, and makes amazing coffee (which smells fab when brewing) … but it still stinks when it’s roasting. Just the nature of the beast, I think.

  7. Nah, Moxie wasn’t the first coffee roaster or shop in Boise. Giuseppe’s Coffee House (which is now Dawson Taylor) was roasting their beans from the basement of the building across where they are currently located. They supplied beans to Cristina’s Bakery, which had one of the first espresso machines in town.

  8. Is it worth mentioning that we’ve been kicked out of that particular Moxie? 🙂

    Hey have you been to the Roastere off Cloverdale? It’s my favorite next to Dawson’s (also a local place)

  9. I have been trying to acces this website for a while. I was using Chrome then when I tried Firefox, it worked just great? Just wanted to bring this to your attention. This is really a greatwebsite. I have a few myself. I really admire your layout. I know this is off topic but,did you make this theme yourself,or purchase from somewhere?

  10. When the new owners took over, my local shop has gone all to hell. The original inspiration is long, long gone. It’s also grimly ironic that the creators of the franchise, a gay couple, have been ultimately replaced by a group of conservative evangelical christians. And these people apparently bought a business, without really caring about good coffee, or having any kind of a vision, other than dollar signs.

    The previous owners (these are the third owners) paid their staff well, gave them autonomy, and the staff were great. But then the new owners came along and claimed that they bought a business that was losing money. Yeah, right. Anyway, they fired or alienated all their best workers, and replaced them with some real losers, like clueless high school kids. The turnover rate was something like 100% every two weeks. There are so many people I’ve seen work ONE shift, to be seen never again.

    Apparently, the management can’t see any purpose in having employee morale. They don’t realize that regular customers appreciate it when they’re greeted by name by someone who knows how they like their drink. Staring at some kid who doesn’t know you, or coffee, from a hole in the head, each time a new one, gets old fast. And they don’t seem to realize that having a lot of flies bothering people, due to used cups all over in the lobby, DRAWS FLIES. The last couple of years, the FLY PROBLEM has become a serious nuisance.

    To be sure, the staffing problem seems to be stabilizing, but there’s another problem that’s driving me crazy.: If it’s not really busy, the coffee sits in the brewers and BURNS. It sits there and gets hotter and hotter, and more and more bitter, until it tastes worse than a mouthful of asprin. Some of the WORST COFFEE I’VE EVER HAD.

    I am writing this after buying yet another cup of BITTER, PURE BLACK SHIT.

    Hell, if it weren’t for the free WiFi, I wouldn’t spend a penny here. I used to come here for coffee and to “hold court” with several other regulars. Most of them have been alienated by now, so that party’s over. I just buy a cup of coffee so I can use the WiFi without feeling guilty about it.

    But I’m not kidding when I say MacDonald’s coffee is better — on average. I love a good cup of coffee, and the odds are favorable in the morning, when it’s fresh. But by late afternoon, when I ask if anything is fresh, I’m told that “this one was brewed only a few hours ago”…

    Fuck that.

  11. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot
    about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit,
    but instead of that, this is excellent blog.
    An excellent read. I’ll certainly be back.

  12. I hear that Moxie is being sold to some outfit called “Caffe Capri”. I never heard of them, but found them on another boise coffee website. One outlet on Gowen road, I never been there, but one reviewer (maybe a shill) said that the “food and service” were excellent. Food?

    I don’t know if this is just a name change, or an actual change in ownership. It can’t get much worse, and I’d take a gamble on some new owners. The current “new” owners are a some “investment group” that is just trying to milk a cash cow. They do not know, they do care, about making a great coffee shop. They just want more money, so they do things like cut wages and raise prices. Every so often you’ll see one of these “investors” come in and indulge some wild hair of inspiration they had the night before, e.g. use real eggs instead of mix in the burritos because it’s a little cheaper.

    Oh, the inspiration! This is a real example, btw. For a couple trips, an investor bought milk products at Cash and Carry instead of having them delivered. To save a little money! But that got old, because they go through a lot of milk, and well, it’s just too much work!

    The current ownership is a clique of uninspired cheapskates. They fired or alienated some really good workers in favor of high school kids who know nothing about coffee and care less. The place is filthy. By 7:00 am, there’s a pool of piss in the mens’ room. That’s no problem, the night crew cleans the bathroom before they leave. They also pick up the plates and cups left on the tables, and all the crumbs and crud on the floor. If they remember.

    Their training apparently consists of showing up and having the previous newbie sorta show them this and that, how to make the various drinks and stuff. Nobody goes through the lobby to straighten up. Nobody told told them. Last autumn, there was a large pool of VOMIT on the patio for over 24 hours.

    And it used to be such a source of local pride, that Boise had a better coffee franchise than Starbucks.

    And this is why I LOVE owner-operated businesses of all kinds.

    “The best fertilizer is the footsteps of the farmer” — Confucius.

Comments are closed.