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Pouring the Tropics

Side Dishes: Café Verde brings espresso and exotic sodas to Plainfield


Published January 26, 2011 at 6:19 a.m.


Drivers negotiating the sharp turn in the middle of Plainfield may find themselves distracted by a pair of purple-lit windows at 20 School Street, beside Local Potion. It may look like a head shop, but it’s the newly opened Café Verde, and the purple haze comes from grow lights trained on flats of wheatgrass that owners Robert and Yana Walder juice up for customers.

The Walders, who opened tiny Café Verde in December, also sell a wide range of espresso drinks, Taza hot chocolates and dandelion lattes, as well as cold maté based and fruit-infused sodas that they brew at their home in the woods outside Plainfield.

The couple and their two children moved here two years ago from Nantucket, where Robert Walder worked as a barista for a caterer who delivered espresso drinks to special events. After a year, the pair began looking for an ideal place for a café — and found it when the former Plainfield Hardware became available.

Café Verde showcases single-origin coffees such as a medium-roast Mocha Java and a light-roast Costa Rican. “[Robert] is a complete espresso snob,” says Yana.

The sodas include a soursop-and-vanilla “frobscottle,” a thick soda named for a concoction in a Roald Dahl novel. The Walders also offer a range of “fizzleblitzes,” lighter, fruit-infused maté sodas in flavors such as triple citrus, passionfruit and tangerine, and mora berry. “It’s really fun tropical stuff for the middle of winter in Vermont,” says Yana Walder.

The soursop frobscottle was born from a trip the Walders took to the Caribbean last winter. “We met one of the last Carib Indians on Tortola, and that was amazing. That’s how [Robert] got the idea,” says Yana.

The sodas are pulled from a tap at the three-seat bar, which also displays small morsels including homemade truffles, goji-berry fudge and baklava infused with lime and orange-blossom water.