I moved to Boise for college. And it was in college I learned to drink coffee. At first hiding the flavor under chocolate and caramel in the ever popular Milky Way Mocha. I would drink it while walking and talking with friends, while summoning our youthful philosophies of life as we tried to figure ourselves out. It was shortly after that I was introduced to a little coffee shop called Flying M Coffee House. The original is downtown on the corner of 5th and Idaho, a new location opened several years ago in Nampa, Idaho.
If there were an artistic revolution in Boise and that revolution had a place where writers could gather and theorize their ideals in a very 21st century version of Hemingway’s Paris café of the 1920’s, then Flying M would be that place.
I don’t mean that it is some idealistic, artists only, youth club. But more, the coffee shop has become a community of sorts, and when you create a community, ideas are going to fly. Whether it is through the ever changing art on the walls or the writers talking about story and form and function or retirees postulating the next great trip. It’s as if over the years, the ideas that have bounced off the walls at Flying M have affixed themselves to the paint on the walls and created a welcoming home.
There is seldom a time of day where you’ll find an open table, still, people flock to Flying M. Mismatched chairs that sit at mismatched tables seem to be a metaphor for the customers that gather. All walks of life are represented and exist in harmony. Sure, there is a hipster vibe upon entering, but I’ve never found it to be an elitist greeting. Then again, as a writer, I love people and their vibes.
When you enter the coffee house you’re greeted by a wall of ads, cards, announcements, and local magazines. Then comes the organized clutter. An often motley gathering of customers crowd the tables and a line at the counter is somehow a welcoming sight. This place isn’t going anywhere soon.
I went at 11am and the case of usual baked goodies was looking sparse, the morning crowd having already picked it over. In line I was entertained by a turnaround of magnets and resisted buying one for each friend as there were so many that seemed to exemplify their personalities. I ordered my cappuccino and got it to go because there wasn’t a table, though one opened up the second my coffee was ready, isn’t that the way? It was served in an 8oz cup, good start. And it looked a little heavy on the foam, but when I took a sip, oh glorious day. Creamy, perfect ratio of coffee to steamed milk and as it turned out, foam. A bit Americanized, but perfection in a cup. I’d head back to the Flying M for another cappuccino any time.
Flying M roasts their own coffee blends. They make their own food, and most days they try to feature a vegan, wheat-free and natural sugar items. They also have a limited food menu, bagels, oatmeal, yogurt.
Though, coffee and baked goods isn’t the only thing Flying M does well.
Every February the Boise Coffee House has a wall of art donated by the community in which all the money raised goes toward their annual Valentine for AIDS benefit. Nampa has a Super Summer Craft Market and a Hip Holiday Market in early December.
The coffee house has an amazing gift shop, a hodgepodge of clever, hip, cute, often times retro wares to sell.
I found several must haves, like a Unicorn head to mount on my wall and a new coffee cup. There are so many clever books and other goods that I always find myself saying, “I need to remember this place for so and so’s birthday!”