Counter at Rusty Cup

Rusty Cup owner Brian Medford, right, crafts a customer's coffee behind the counter.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, what better way to celebrate the relationships of life than over a hot cup of coffee? Shared moments over a coffee can be a perfect date.

Getting together over a cup of coffee is casual. It’s not going to break the bank. There’s no pressure. And, well, there’s coffee — what’s not to like about that?

Medford outside shop

Rusty Cup owner Brian Medford stands in front of the shop.

As Brian Medford, owner of The Rusty Cup in Astoria, puts it, “a coffee date isn’t a big commitment.” Unlike a meal, which can take on an awkward hour or so, a coffee date can end anytime you want it to.

Medford took over The Rusty Cup from longtime owner Kristy Cross last July, continuing the legacy of a staple Astoria establishment since 1999.

Also a baker, “the thing that I love best about Rusty Cup is that it’s been here a long time,” Medford said, adding that his passion is to teach people about food.

With plans to remodel, revamp and refurnish the shop, adding an oven for in-house baking, he wants to offer goods — especially desserts “like grandma used to make” — and make it a warm, inviting place.

Medford knows regular customers by name — and if not, by their face and regular beverage. He’s all about making relationships and making the shop a welcoming place.

For those looking for a great date, Medford suggests grabbing a cup of joe then walking and shopping downtown, taking a stroll along the Astoria Riverwalk or, in the summer, visiting the nearby Astoria Sunday Market. And, of course, there’s a cinema just down the road, not to mention Astoria’s many interesting museums.

The Liberty block

The Rusty Cup sits on Astoria's Commercial Street, next to the Liberty Theatre.

And for those who really want that something special for that special someone this Valentine’s Day, how about a coffee and a delightful pastry at The Rusty Cup prior to the show at Astoria’s Liberty Theatre, just next door.

Gregory Zschomler is a writer, artist and coffee snob living in Ocean Park, Washington with his wife and former bookstore cat, Dorian Gray. Find out more about him and his books at

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