Moss Coffee & Tea Opens Its Doors in Downtown Boise 

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Lex Nelson

Walking through the doors of Moss Coffee & Tea, which opened July 2 on Ninth Street in downtown Boise, the aesthetic hits your eye even before the smell of coffee fills your nose. The space is tiny—at just 525 square feet, perhaps the smallest sit-down coffee shop downtown—but it's filled with quirky touches, from a circular golden mirror lined with porcupine quills to a dark, sparkle-splashed accent wall and numerous pots of thriving succulents scattered around the room.

"It's intended to feel like the dining room in a home, so where it's just really comfy and intimate and easy to talk to people," said owner Tasmyn Raleigh. "It's not pretentious."

click to enlarge Tasmyn Raleigh pours tea into coconut milk to create a lavender latte. - LEX NELSON
  • Lex Nelson
  • Tasmyn Raleigh pours tea into coconut milk to create a lavender latte.
Raleigh, an Idaho native who returned home for the quiet life after years of hustling in the New York City jewelry business, isn't a newcomer to the coffee scene. She already owns Cafe Crane, a spare, comfortable java joint in Eagle known for its steady stream of regulars and its house-made cinnamon rolls, pastries, quiches and frittatas. Those same treats, made fresh daily, fill the pastry case at Moss, along with a handful of favorites from local bakery Amaru Confections.

As for Moss's relationship to Cafe Crane, Raleigh said to think of the downtown shop as "the aunt that lives in the next big city over," who's cool but "doesn't know she's cool." Despite the difference in vibe, the drink menus largely overlap, featuring beans from Seattle-based Caffe Vita (which Raleigh said stands out in part for its excellent decaf roast) and emphasizing artisan teas and tea lattes, a particular passion of Raleigh's. The shop currently has around 30 flavors on the menu, which often rotates and expands.

click to enlarge The cinnamon rolls offered at Moss vary daily—on June 3, customers could choose between raspberry (shown above), lemon and classic rolls. - LEX NELSON
  • Lex Nelson
  • The cinnamon rolls offered at Moss vary daily—on June 3, customers could choose between raspberry (shown above), lemon and classic rolls.
"We have a lot of fun with the tea, just trying out different flavors, different combinations with different alternative milks," Raleigh said as she sipped an iced brew of the shop's newest flavor, a tropical fruit blend called Kauai Cocktail. "And then our customers have fun with that, and we feed off of them and try the drinks that they suggest or might be a little more daring with than us."

In all, the fare at Moss is as light and inventive as the atmosphere, filled with fresh fruit and herb flavors. On a hot summer day, try an iced lavender latte made with coconut milk, lavender-spiked Earl Gray tea and a mix of lavender and vanilla syrups. The double hit of lavender starts off strong, but is soon mellowed out by the milk, producing an easy-sipping pour that pairs perfectly with one of Raleigh's house-made raspberry cinnamon rolls, served warm and topped with lemon cream cheese frosting. 
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