Last summer, I took a trip to the Galapagos Islands, where sustainability is key to the area’s preservation and wildlife survival. During my trip, when I wanted to order a coffee to go from a local shop, I was advised that “to go” was not an option, as they did not use disposable paper or plastic cups.

To be honest, I was put off at first and a little annoyed but agreed to proceed with my order and scoped out a spot to sit. Though it started as an off-putting experience, by going outside of my norm I actually enjoyed my time sitting in the shop drinking my latte. I sparked up a conversation with the barista, asking why they were opposed to utilizing to-go containers. The barista gave me an amazing perspective about sustainability and of its importance to the islands and our earth’s survival. That experience completely changed my outlook.

Fast-forward to earlier this year when I found out about a local coffee shop that also practiced a zero-waste business model – Cloud 9 Coffee Company. I was beyond excited to find out that there was a place that valued the same things I did. It made me reminisce about the days back on the Peruvian islands and gave me all the feels.

So what is Cloud 9 Coffee? Cloud 9 Coffee Company is the first, and currently only, zero-waste cafe in Bakersfield. They don’t serve their coffee in paper or plastic cups but instead use attractive glass jars. However, unlike the coffee shop I experienced on the islands, Cloud 9 has a to-go option for their customers who need a “java on fly” that doesn’t compromise their sustainability values.

All of Cloud 9’s food and pastries are served in recyclable, biodegradable or compostable materials and they implemented a jar program to fulfill all their guests’ to-go needs. Oh, and not to mention Cloud 9 is also active in the community in assistance of sustainability practices all over Bakersfield. This place sounded too good to be true. (Maybe that’s why it’s called Cloud 9?)

So, obviously I had to check it out.

Cloud 9 is located in the lobby level of Stockdale Tower off of Mohawk Street and California Avenue. Upon entering through the doors of Stockdale Tower, you immediately feel like you’re going into an executive meeting, as the lobby is decked to the ceilings with marble stoning with elevators looming ahead. Luckily, I saw the bistro sign for Cloud 9 and I made a hard left away from the elevators and escaped into a coffee mirage. Walking into Cloud 9 immediately puts you at ease, as its decor is eclectic and clean with “Sunset Lover” playing overhead and the aroma of the coffee exciting your senses. The staff is friendly and welcoming, as is the seating. Cloud 9 boasts a nook area complete with a living wall, a large patio with twinkly lights as well as a gorgeous green velvet couch upon entry that tempts your inner couch potato to lie down and never leave.

Now for the moment of truth.

With Cloud 9’s impressive service values and the dining decor to match, how good could the coffee possibly be? Time to order.

I ordered Cloud 9’s version of a PSL (pumpkin spice latte), which is the “Oh My Gourd” (genius name), as well as their s’more cappuccino. As if I couldn’t be any more impressed with Cloud 9, they went above and beyond with these seasonal drinks.

The Oh My Gourd is presented with a stenciled message of “Hello Pumpkin” on top of the foam, and all in all was the most amazing version of a PSL that I have ever had. I am not a huge fan of over-the-top sweet coffee drinks and I have never met a PSL that I’ve liked. That is until I tried the Oh My Gourd. It had just the right amount of sweet fall flavors while staying true to the essence of the coffee. Perfection.

Next up, the s’more cappuccino. I thought the Oh My Gourd was extra but this cappuccino is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Fire-roasted marshmallows and graham crackers garnish this beverage along with a chocolate-drizzle rim oozing down the sides of the cup. Drinking this cappuccino not only blew my mind visually but was a slam dunk in flavor and finesse. I felt like I had been transported to some sort of coffee speakeasy that was creating drinks that I’ve only seen in the corners of my imagination. Uh-mazing.

If having great values and friendly service with a product to back it up isn’t a business success, I don’t know what is. Cloud 9 is the first of its kind here in town with its nod toward sustainability – not to mention they make a killer Americano. Though Cloud 9 may be “inconvenient” to some in terms of their jar program, its goal is a benefit to our community, which falls in line with Bakersfield’s agricultural values and way of life. It’s only fitting.

Kudos to Cloud 9 for not only being a trailblazer in our community but also a leader in Bakersfield’s coffee culture. I can’t wait to see what’s next for Cloud 9 Coffee Company. But in the meantime, you can find me sipping on an Oh My Gourd on that velvet couch under the clouds all season long. Come join me! 

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