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Mad Llama Coffee in Madisonville

In case you hadn’t heard, my name is Mindy and I am a coffeeholic.  I heart coffee.  Coffee all day.  Coffee made at home.  Coffee from local coffee shops.  Cold brew.  Mocha.  Cortado.  Breve.  Medium Roast with a hint of sweetener and a touch of cream.  I’m a fan of all things coffee!  My newest discovery, thanks to a coworker, is Mad Llama in Madisonville.
Mad Llama is equal parts coffee and baked goods.  All made in house!  I got the opportunity to talk with the owner, Jeff Gardocki, to ask some questions!  Check it out:
So the name?  Where did Mad Llama come from?

Mad Llama came out of my quirky head and there is really no backstory for it.  It’s a conversation piece and I like that.  Some people ask if the llama is angry or crazy, really the Mad is just short for Madisonville and gives the llama an adjective.  Llamas are a weird but cute animal and I think our logo is memorable.  I really had no idea how many people would love the llama but people really like them and bring us drawings and stuffed llama’s ( or at least things that resemble llama’s) all the time.

What makes Mad Llama unique?

Well, a local family coffee shop with a drive-thru is pretty unique.  I like to think it’s our approach to being a specialty coffee shop.  My wife has been a barista and coffee roaster in this city for over 15 years and I have learned along with her.  We both get really excited about trying new coffee, roasts and brew methods but never really enjoyed some of the exclusivity that often surrounds coffee culture.  I think we have done a pretty good job at hiring and training enthusiastic baristas in a non-judgemental atmosphere where we can introduce people to new things and provide coffee education and have fun with it.  It’s a family business and the staff are family.

I can attest to the quality of your baked goods.  I may have sampled a few different items. Who is the baker? 

I am the baker and I have trained some of the staff to help me out.

I am a huge fan of coffee shops with drive-thru windows. Not really a question, but more of a thanks.

Thank you!

Do you roast your own beans? If not, are your beans from a local Cincinnati roaster? 

Yes, we roast our beans.  We have recently started sourcing green beans from several smaller exporters so we are excited to be offering a lot of new and different coffee’s very soon.

 Why Madisonville? Also, love the coffee. Love the menu. However, you do not have much indoor seating. Is there a specific reason?

Originally, the business was going to start as just a wholesale bakery which is why the majority of the building is bakery and not seating.  It was not easy to get the drive-thru because zoning didn’t allow it and the bathroom is in the very back making the building not ideal for retail.  I wanted a coffee shop so we decided to just do it.  Not a major reason but I also have a historical connection to Madisonville.  My many great grandfather and grandmother were the first family to settle and build a home there.  Two roads are named after them, Bramble and Ward.

How do YOU take your coffee?

I drink it black.  I enjoy coffee like people enjoy wine or a cigar and I get excited when I find a unique coffee; something that stands out.

What should coffee lovers know about you that I haven’t asked?

We are very involved in the coffee culture; people can find us at most of the coffee events around the city and we travel to other cities for coffee events and festivals.  I would like to bring more of a coffee experience to my customers in the future.  We do pour over’s and experiment all the time, possibly baking classes and coffee tastings may be in our future.

If, like me, you enjoy supporting local businesses and dig a solid cup of coffee, please check out Mad Llama!  My favorite order, so far, is a Llama Latte (a mix of dark and white chocolate) and a sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich on housemade sourdough bread! Yep, I’m a fan!

P.S.- For those into Chai Tea, I’ve heard on good authority that Mad Llama makes a stellar one!

GO THERE (Mad Llama Coffee)!  TRY THAT (Llama Latte, House Made Chai, Cold Brew, Egg Sandwich, Bagel)!
Mad Llama Coffee Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


WKRC Cincinnati and Thanksgiving Cocktails!


It’s the day before Thanksgiving; most people have their big meal planned and prepped.  If you want to elevate your gathering while lightning the mood, I have some holiday inspired cocktails and roasted nuts for you to make!  Never show up at a party empty handed! As I told Channel 12 anchors Sheila Gray and John Lomax, even if you can’t be trusted to make the mashed potatoes, you can still make a mean mixed drink!

On Cincinnati WKRC local 12 this morning, I offered up some roasted nuts and other snack mixes.  These were straight up Pinterest successes and super easy to do.  I’m including the link for the Sugar Cinnamon Pecans, the Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts, and the Festive Snack Mix.  I love the idea of cayenne and maple syrup coating the mixed nuts, but man, those sugary pecans, slowly roasted over an hour, are melt in your mouth goodness.  Tie these up in a bag or put in a small glass jar, add a label, and use as a hostess gift or a party favor.

As for drinks, I had fun searching Pinterest and experimenting!  I am actually alcohol intolerant (I break out in hives) (and yep, I’m everyone’s designated driver), but I love throwing parties, especially a good themed party.  The idea of elevating a gathering with the flavors of Thanksgiving kind of made me giddy.  I ended up going with a Bourbon Pecan Pie (my Mad Men inspired drink), a Caramel Apple Moscow Mule (the trendy drink), an Apple Cranberry Sangria (beautiful on a table), and a Sparkling Mimosa (people like me need to feel special, too)!

My Pinterest use fluctuates.  I get on and pin, pin, pin, pin, pin . . . and then don’t create.  I’m trying to get better at pinning and following through!  From the eats to the drinks, no Pinterest fails here!  This is such a fun way to take your party to the next level.  Bring a little flavor!  A little pizzazz! Make your guests and your host happy!

GO THERE (Party Source, Pinterest, Channel 12)! TRY THAT (Sugar Cinnamon Pecans, Caramel Apple Moscow Mule, Apple Cider Sangria)!