July 3, 2008 · Updated 5:12 PM
"Renae Fadness and Suzanne Brown run a small business - literally. It's about 9 feet long, 7 feet wide and maybe 9 feet high, if you don't count the wheels. As owner and manager of Trolley Stop Espresso drive-up coffee shop on Goldie Road, Fadness and Brown spend their days dispensing countless coffee concoctions, a few quick moments of conversation and even the occasional prayer from within the narrow confines of a converted, Hawaiian-built trolley car.We're not just coffee, said Brown a few seconds before a red minivan and a request for a 16-ounce latte pulled up to her window. We like to cheer people up.The appearance of the period coffee stand is fun in and of itself, but Brown and Fadness add other touches as well, such as a clown doll that sits on the counter, seasonal decorations and a trademark chocolate-covered espresso bean with every cup. There also post a daily quote from Scriptures next to the order window.A lot of people really enjoy seeing something positive like that, Brown said.Fadness agreed.We want to feed the spirit as much as the java addiction, she said.Fadness bought the Trolley Stop shortly after it opened in 1995. You might say she's steeped in coffee tradition.I've been in coffee since I was nine, she said, noting that her parents ran a coffee shop in Eatonville while she was growing up. It's in my blood. I love coffee.It's a good thing. Fadness has to get up at 4 a.m. each work day in order to start passing out a wide variety of steamed, whipped, swirled and pressed caffeine drinks a couple hours before the sun comes up.The work space is cozy to say the least, with equipment and supplies covering nearly every surface, even overhead. Bags of ice are just a few inches from searing steam. There's no doubt that Juan Valdez might get in, but his donkey would have to stay outside.It can fit more than two people, said Brown encouragingly, as she and Fadness stepped inside their close quarters. We've had conferences in here. In addition to Fadness and Brown, Trolley Stop employs two other baristas on a regular basis and a few extra part-timers during the summer. Despite the diminutive size of the business, Brown says there is always a lot to do. Between flurries of customers there is stocking, inventory and cleaning, to name just a few. And if all the work is done, she added, employees find the petite setting a nice place to read a book or catch up on college studies.There's a lot of customer contact too. If there's no line up, people will often sit and chat for a while. Fadness says that's one of the best parts of the job.Coffee-craving rush hours are generally between 6:30 and 8:30 in the morning and between 3:30 and 5 in the afternoon, said Brown.It's like all of Oak Harbor wants coffee at the same time, she said.And good coffee doesn't just happen by accident. It takes skill.You can make or break a drink. There are a lot of technical things that can make a difference, said Brown, who has been honing her skills inside the trolley for three years. Putting a latte together is like being a gourmet cook. I take it very seriously.Though there seems to be a surfeit of coffee shops around, Fadness said her business is good and still growing.We pump about as much coffee as we can through here, she said. She and Brown say drive-up establishments like theirs haven't been much affected by the addition of new sit-down coffee houses in the area. In fact, Brown says each kind of place seems to have its own clientele. Personally, she thinks drive-up places have a certain advantage.I can see them coming down the road and have their drink ready when they get here, she said.Interestingly, there's one drink you can't get at the Trolley Stop - that's plain ol' brewed black coffee. Frankly, said Brown, there's not much call for it.As to their own favorite coffee creation, both women name the Nutty Irishman Breve, a mixture of espresso, half-and-half and hazelnut, and Irish cream flavoring.We drink a lot of coffee, Fadness said. We even dream about it. It's a way of life.--------------------There are a number of good coffee shops in the area but only a few that specialize in drive-up service. They include the Espresso Connection on Ault Field Road, Caffe Moka on Pioneer and Trolley Stop Espresso on Goldie.---------------Java talkDo you know how to speak coffee? Here's a short course in java jive.Espresso: A small portion of dark, concentrated coffee made by passing steam through finely ground coffee beans.Cappuccino: A shot of straight espresso with foamed milk on top.Caffe latte (or just latte): One or two shots of espresso with a lot of steamed milk.Mocha: Espresso mixed with hot chocolate.Espresso breve: Espresso with half-and-half or other semi-skimmed milk. Americano: Espresso diluted with hot water.Granita: A latte made with frozen milk.Cafe au lait: Brewed coffee mixed with hot milk.Shot: A single portion of espresso. About an ounce or a little less.Double: An espresso made from a double shot or about two ounces.Triple: Three shots. Quad: A double-double. Unleaded: Decaffeinated.Half-Caf: A mix of half regular and half decaffeinated coffee.Wet: With steamed milk only.Dry: With just foamed milk.Short: 8-ounce cup.Tall: 12-ounce cup.Grande: 16-ounce cup.Chai tea: A black tea with vanilla, cloves, spices, ginger, honey and steamed milk. "