My wife and I rolled into Rehoboth Beach in the early evening on Wednesday, September 30th, so my wife could attend the annual Rehoboth Art League Landscape Paining Workshop, a four day event beginning Thursday morning. We will stay five nights (at the Oceanus Motel), which means five breakfasts. From previous experience, we planned all five to be at The Coffee Mill, which we've come to love from previous year's workshops.
Thursday morning (October 1st), despite worsening weather, we walked (quickly) from Oceanus to The Coffee Mill at about 7:15 AM (they open at 6:30). They were open, but just. We found a nice young man whom we hadn't met before, who introduced himself as Juan, from Puerto Rico. He said that the morning's coffee was almost finished brewing. Off season, they always have at least 4 choices: #1 is the medium roast of the day, #2 is the bold/dark roast option, #3 is the decaf choice and #6 is the flavored coffee of the day.
My wife picked the bold choice (#2) and I went with #6 (flavored) coffee which was hazelnut that morning (my favorite). We both also ordered the cottage cheese and fresh fruit breakfast that we came to really like from previous years. Juan was not familiar with it so we told him what it consisted of and he went to the food prep area to make it. I take mine as is, but without the toast, as I have a wheat (gluten) intolerance. My wife prefers to substitute hummus for the cottage cheese and does have the toast with it.
Although Juan was new, he said that he was well trained by Mel, one of the owners. The two fruit plates he prepared were beautifully arranged. Everything was very fresh and delicious. The coffee didn't disappoint either: Strong, hot and full of flavor.
In past years we would have eaten outside in the pedestrian alley connecting Rehoboth and Baltimore Avenues, but the rain and high wind kept us inside. It also kept business down, so Juan had time to chat with us. He told us that Mel might be in around 8 AM, so we lingered a bit as my wife's class didn't begin until 9 AM at the Art League which was only minutes away by car, but Mel hadn't made it in by 8:30 when we left. Coffee and breakfast for two came to $19. A real bargain for such high quality food and drink (and warm, friendly service).
Bottom Line: Amazingly good, high quality coffee, expertly made, with selections changing daily. Very good, very fresh fruit plates (my only option, being gluten-free) also artistically arranged. Juan, being the only staff that day, was a delight to meet. This is definitely our go-to place in the early morning in Rehoboth Beach.
UPDATE 1 (Friday, October 2nd):
It was raining much harder this morning, again with high winds, so my wife and I drove to Rehoboth Avenue and parked near the entrance to the alley. The bad news: The Coffee Mill wasn't open (at 7:30 AM). BUMMER! We hopped back in the car and drove to the corner of 1st Street and Wilminton Avenue, where I remembered a Greek cafe that opened early. We found Goolees Grille (which was new to us) and ate there. See my separate review for this lovely little diner-style restaurant.
UPDATE 2 (Saturday, October 3rd):
The Coffee Mill was open this morning (we drove again) and Juan told us that the person who was supposed to open Friday morning pulled a no-show and Juan wasn't called until later. Unfortunately, he hadn't been given the access code for the electronic register, but went ahead and prepared our regular breakfast order (the fruit plates). This morning we both got the #2 coffee (the bold/dark roast option) as the #6 (flavored) option was “snickerdoodle” the idea of which turned me off. The good news is that the bold/dark roast choice of the day was excellent, as were the fruit with cottage cheese/fruit with hummus breakfasts. Juan had the register up by the time we were done, but the Internet connection was very slow (we had lost power at the Oceanus Motel for about 90 minutes during the night so I wasn't surprised), so I paid cash. $19. Still no sign of Mel.
UPDATE 3 (Today: Sunday, October 4th):
Windy again this morning, but finally without rain. The Coffee Mill was open when we walked over and Juan was attending another couple when we came in. We went for our #2 (“Mel's Blend”) and #6 (hazelnut) coffees, but the medium sizes this morning, along with our usual fruit plate variations. With the lack of rain, there were additional customers this morning while we ate (still inside due to the wind). While we still didn't see Mel, we did meet the co-owner, Bob, who was also very nice. Once again, great coffee and great food. Today's tab was $19.50, due to our up-sizing our coffee orders. Tomorrow will be our last morning in Rehoboth and we plan to begin our day at The Coffee Mill one more time.
One comment on ambiance: While there are ample outdoor tables and seating, it's a bit cramped inside the tiny shop, but the smell of the fresh coffee and heated baked goods (even though I can't eat them) makes the interior feel cozy. Also, Mel is a photographer in addition to being a store owner, and a smattering of his beach-themed photos add a personal touch to the place. There are also little trinkets for sale as well as Coffee Mill T-shirts and caps. I have worn my Coffee Mill cap, that I bought from Mel two years ago, for four mornings now. Maybe Mel will come tomorrow morning and see me wearing it before we head home. At least co-owner Bob got to see me wearing it this morning.
This really is our favorite early morning spot in Rehoboth Beach.
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