April 22, 2013 § 1 Comment
He didn’t understand why we had to take a tram, two buses, and then our feet for another three rainy blocks just to get to another coffee shop. I told him it was different.
He said the croissant was too crumbly – not enough chocolate for what looked like a day-old pastry. The coffee was too black. He felt judgement emanating from everyone else when he just thought about adding cream and sugar.
“I’m comfortable with my uncultured taste buds,” he said. But he didn’t move. He just sat there instead, grimacing through a dark, nutty Girasoles.
At least it was hot.
My short legs, ringed by purple and vagrant goose bumps, twisted themselves around the icy metal of the hand-wrought wood table. It was good to feel something tangible against the numbness, even if it was just more cold.
Ahh. An El Ischo steamed on the rough-grained wood of the counter, waiting for me. I wrapped my hands around it and took a tentative sip. Butterscotch and peanut brittle rolled across my tongue, luring a bubbly pear flavor after them. I was happy. Happier than I’d been the entire day.
He watched me, unable to make heads or tails of my affinity for coffee.
It’s a strange thing, really. Without a cup of coffee in the morning, I’m unwilling to recognize the passing of time. Without coffee, time stops, ceases to limit me, and I move like a character stuck on repeat in a Japanese anime film, shooting through lines of neon space and never getting anywhere.
Coffee is a relationship, then. A relationship with time, a relationship with people. Coffee is a culture, a feeling, an instigator of late night conversations and unexpected A’s on papers. For Coava Coffee Roasters, it’s a relationship with the growers that constructs a community for the roasters and thus, the drinkers.
“Coava couldn’t roast the finest single origin coffees in the world without the hard-working farmers who grow the coffee. At origin we cup through hundreds of samples in search of the coffee that best represents each growing region with a distinctive personality and we get to know the farmers. Most of our coffees will only be found at Coava because we create exclusive, long-term relationships with our growers.”
Located in the industrial district of Portland, Oregon, Coava joined the coffee culture circle of Portland back in 2010 and has been transforming coffee culture in all the right ways ever since.
March 9, 2013 § Leave a comment
Hectic weeks, stacks of books, breakups and broken dishes – college turns difficult sometimes, but exploring always seems to put at least one out-of-place facet of life back where it belongs.
It was a dreadfully long day and I was prepared to curl up in bed with a Forster novel. I needed to soak up words because I used up all the ones I’d gathered the night before. But my roommate looked despondent and the apartment was too messy, so we climbed in the car and got lost in Nickel Hills. The important part is that we found t, an urban teahouse.
Soft lighting, bright silver tables, and the irresistible aroma of assorted teas greeted us more cheerily than we’d expected. A curly-headed brunette answered our barrage of questions with efficiency, offering us can after can of aromatic tea to help us make our decision. I settled on a lemon ginger oolong that smelled like sunshine. My roommate chose a dainty strawberry white tea highly reminiscent of childhood tea parties.
Ten minutes later, we were pouring the fragrant liquid into small teacups and with the steady stream of tea flowed all the words we hadn’t used up yet.
The English have it figured out. There’s nothing quite like a cup of tea to get the world spinning right again.
So when you need a moment to gather your senses and retreat from the absurdity of everyday, duck into this small tea house and find peace in steeping tea leaves and a quiet buzz of conversation.
If you want a taste of tea culture in your home, their selection of loose-leaf tea is enormous and affordable. In addition to exceptional drinks, t also supports local artists and the majority of the art on the wall is temporary and available for sale. Bring your Keep It Local card, or buy one there and take advantage of the rewards you’ll get from supporting the local movement.
Oklahoma has never been revered for its appreciation of coffee and tea culture, but thanks to passionate entrepreneurs who open places like Cafe Evoke and t, an urban teahouse, the state’s coffee and tea community is beginning to make a mark on the up-and-coming city. Don’t just sit in your overstuffed chair and tell me that Lipton uses fresh tea leaves, go explore fresh(er) tea and community that you won’t find with a yellow box of teabags.
7518 n. may suite d
okc, ok 73116
February 21, 2013 § 2 Comments
Driving down 23rd street on Saturday night, we stop at Cuppies & Joe, drawn by the warm light pouring out of the little house’s windows. Inside we find overstuffed couches and antique chairs and corner tables with peeling paint. Low wood beam ceilings. White, green, turquoise. Litographs on the walls. Lamplit and bustling with conversation and tonight, live music. There’s a couple in one corner reading poetry together. Across the room, three men lean over a small table. It’s a business meeting; one takes rapid notes on his Lenovo tablet.
We maneuver our way to the register, scanning the drink menu. I linger at the glass case by the register, salivating. The Lemony Snickett, a lemon cupcake with lemon buttercream, grins up at me, tantalizing. Strawberry Mary Poppins rubs shoulders with mocha Bangarang while Donnie Darko throws an ominous shadow across The Traveler. With their quirky names and unexpected flavor combinations, it’s no surprise that Cuppies and Joe is so popular.
Unable to choose a cupcake, I just order a frozen chai. It comes to me in a quaintly chipped mason jar with a silver espresso spoon rising like an exclamation point from the middle. The girls and I wander to the back room with our drinks, crowding around a small side table with a beaded lamp that jingles pleasantly every time I clumsily knock my knees against the table.
My friend Em offers a taste of her Sass-a-frass cupcake. A bite of red velvet, an explosion of cloud-light buttercream, and a sip of cold milk from a mason jar and I’m reminded why I don’t like being poor. I drown my sorrows in Hannah’s macchiato, made with a nutty espresso from Oklahoma City’s Elemental Coffee Roasters.
The atmosphere isn’t the only thing that makes Cuppies special. They also make all of their bakery items from scratch (and I assume with a lot of love. Buttercream doesn’t get that fluffy without love.) As is the case with any gourmet food or drink, Cuppies is on the pricier side. If you want to spend fifty cents on a cupcake, be Wal-Mart’s guest. If you want to extend your life expectancy and enjoyment, shell out $2.50 for a cupcake that will probably change your life during its journey to your hips. The cupcake selection is ever-changing; this isn’t a place for the habitual customer. However, their Twitter feed is updated every day with the list of available noms, so if you’re headed that way, follow their Twitter.
Next time you need a quiet afternoon studying in a cozy atmosphere, remember that you can’t go wrong with Cuppies. They’re a Keep-It-Local partner, as well, which means you have a chance for 10% off your purchase. With that sort of deal, what’s stopping you from opening up a tab and over-caffeinating? That’s right, nothing. So go visit. Give them all the stars on urbanspoon. And buy a t-shirt, too; they’re almost as good as the cupcakes, though for different reasons (I don’t recommend eating them).
February 16, 2013 § Leave a comment
On a tired Saturday morning, few things are more motivating than coffee. When @CaffeineCrawl pops up on my Twitter feed, the mere thought of fresh roasts and caffeinated pretention gets me out of bed and into the city. Eventually, I’m lounging at Coffee Slingers, the last stop of the crawl, sipping a freshly-pressed Guatamalan Amarillo and tapping my feet to the quiet rhythms of De La Soul.
I feel caffeinated before I even take a sip my pour-over; the very atmosphere of the place is coffee and it seeps into your pores. At the next table over, a ginger-bearded father munches scones with his two blonde daughters while they chat with the turquoise-clad barista behind the counter. At the bar by the window, laptops come out and customers type away with the bustle of the street as their inspiration.
Coffee Slingers grew up on OKC’s Broadway Avenue five years ago, back when the up-and-coming culture of the city was just a dream for most. A pioneer of Oklahoma’s micro coffee culture, Slingers Roasters had a slow start, but is now thriving in the rise of “cultural relevance.” A block away, Wayne Coyne’s graffiti-encrusted studio colors the alleyways next to Iguana Tacos, Shop Good, and S&B’s Burger Joint. Broadway Avenue is growing up under the influence of the super-caffeinated, typography-obsessed generation that I’m proud to call my own.
When I first arrived in Oklahoma, I had to spend a good three months drinking whatever coffee I could get my hands on. I searched high and low for local roasts and when I finally found Coffee Slingers, I knew I’d found my paradise. They roast locally every Tuesday, ship Wednesday, and the beans are best brewed within fourteen days.
I usually polish off a bag in three.
|CURRENTLY ON THE SHELF|
Huckleberry Espresso // notes of spice, butternut, green grape, dark chocolate
Guatemala Guyaba // notes of nutmeg, walnut, apricot, & bakers chocolate, with a syrupy finish
El Salvador Malacara // notes of tea rose, green apple, and brown sugar
The best thing about micro coffee culture is the sense of community and camaraderie. Coffee brings people together. Employees aren’t there to punch a clock and collect a paycheck; they’re behind the counter because they have a passion for hospitality and coffee and want to share this love with whoever walks through the door. Your experience at Coffee Slingers or one of its sister shops will be different from a stop at Starbucks. At Slingers, it’s about quality. Every cup of coffee is made fresh with patience and passion. No more of yesterday’s Pike Place that’s been sitting on the burner for the past four hours; grab a cup of the Guyaba and experience a coffee that needs no sugar or creamer to be the best cup you’ve had all week.
So make the drive and pay Slingers a visit. They’re located at 1015 N. Broadway, downtown Oklahoma City, OK 73102 and open at all the most convenient times. Sit down at the bar with a cup of espresso and chat with the barista. You won’t regret it.
Mon-Fri 6:30am – 7pm
Sat 7am – 7pm
Sun 8am – 7pm
February 11, 2013 § 1 Comment
Second Friday in Oklahoma City means one thing: LIVE on the Plaza, Okies! In search of food, art, and repurposed, hipster-y things, I and several of my friends trekked down to the 16th Street Plaza District for the evening. Dinner, thrifting, and an art show, all in the up-and-coming Plaza District.
DINNER // Hot melts and cold beers at The Mule on Blackwelder
The Mule is a delicious addition to the quirky Mom and Pops of 16th Street. We’ve all had a love affair with a grilled cheese sandwich at some point in our lives and The Mule takes that love to a whole new level. Three words: gourmet grilled cheese. More specifically, THE FANCY PANTS. This “sandie” consists of roasted chicken, brie, gruyere, caramelized onion, and pear on toasted nine grain wheat, slathered with the freshest basil pesto my tastebuds have ever met.
BUT WAIT, THAT’S NOT ALL.
Also on their typographically-delicious menu you’ll find The Macaroni Pony, the H.A.M, the Big Ass Grilled Cheese, and a BCLT that’s rumored to convert even the staunchest vegetarian. Pair any one of these with the soup of the day, salad on the side, or sensationally seasoned fries and you have a blue-ribbon combination.
The Mule’s culinary success is only emphasized by the lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and supper rushes. Its popularity makes finding a table in a rush an impossibility. So, if you’re needing a life-changing culinary experience, be prepared to jot your name down on a long list and go putter through the District until a table opens up.
Fortunately, the District has a lot to offer.
SHOPPING // Dig It & Bad Granny's Bazaar
With $20 in my pocket, I went riffling through the racks at Dig It and flipping through books and baubles at Bad Granny’s. Whether you’re in the District for LIVE on the Plaza or just passing through on a Wednesday afternoon, pay them a visit and pop some tags, find some flannel, or get a friend to try on a really ugly sweater. Dimly lit to hide the pretentious smirks of other customers, both shops offer a wide variety of quirky and/or useful clothes and accessories, all for the low, low price of $5-$10. You never know what treasures you may find lurking between a Pink Floyd t-shirt and a handmade argyle sweater.
Retrokc is the place to be if you’re in need of true vintage accessories to establish your kitsch coolness. Nestled next to No Regrets Tattoo, Retrokc offers a variety of mid-century, retro, atomic and kitsch furniture, décor and accessories. Unfortunately for the run-of-the-mill college student, mid-century décor is a bit pricey, which is why the avocado chip bowl is still sitting sadly on the Charles and Ray side table, instead of gracing my kitchen. If you see it, be a doll and give it a home for me.
ART // Gallery 1612
Before calling it a night, my photographer friend and I popped into Gallery 1612 to see OPUBCO Director of Photography Doug Hoke’s photographs. Luckily, we also got to catch the photographer himself and discuss everything from the marketability of iphonography to the concept of photography as a lifestyle. We left feeling affirmed in our love for the art.
All this being said, LIVE on the Plaza was a rousing success. I ate too much food and got home smelling like an entire pack of American Spirits, but rubbing shoulders with OKC natives was just what I needed after a week in the college bubble. It’s good to know there’s life outside the collegiate worries of Oklahoma Christian University. I will be heading back downtown VERY soon, and you can be assured you’ll hear about it.
February 5, 2013 § Leave a comment
When the straight-backed, no-nonsense chairs of the library cubicles begin to wear into your spine and visions of lovely overstuffed affairs and gentle lighting dance in your overworked eyes, pack up your things and take a short drive down Memorial Road to Edmond’s Credo House.
Credo is one of Edmond’s local gems and, naturally, a Keep-It-Local partner. A hub of theological debates and events, the vision for this coffee shop is to present a safe and neutral environment for the community to discover or foster its faith without the pressure of a denominationally-biased church. Lining the brick walls, Credo’s library is probably one of the most theologically rich in the city. Should you fall in love with a particular book, each one can be bought for a reasonable price.
While few may advocate a black cup of Credo Coffee (their roasts aren’t the best in the state), their lattes leave little to be desired. Named after famous preachers and theologians, these hand-pressed espresso drinks come highly recommended as less distracting study partners. The Luther Latte, for example, pairs well with gospel conversations and a desire for reformation. It also complements a reading of Jonathan Edwards, if you’re feeling anti-social.
Whether you’re studying in a group or seeking studious solitude, Credo has a corner to offer you. I prefer to curl up in the Heretics Corner, where the couches are the most comfortable and Martin Luther isn’t staring snidely at my computer screen. Here, you may sink into the overstuffed leather and stare into high-vaulted ceilings, reminiscent of the Oxford library, buzzing with the quiet flow of caffeine-stimulated conversations.
| HOURS |
M-F 7am – 10pm
SAT 9am – 7pm
| LOCATION |
109 NW 142nd St. Suite B
Edmond, OK 73003
January 18, 2013 § 3 Comments
evoke |verb| to bring or recall to the conscious mind
Having a hectic week? Finding yourself forgetting important things like pants when you walk out the door? Perhaps it’s time for a hiatus from whatever madness has overcome your schedule. So grab your Keep-It-Local card, head on over to Café Evoke and knock back whatever your caffeine-addicted heart may desire.
For those of you avoiding caffeine (a wily temptress, to be sure), Evoke also serves an assortment of seasonal, loose leaf teas as well as an apple cider that tastes like half your grandpa’s prize-winning orchard squeezed into one cup (seasoned from your grandmum’s spice cabinet, of course). Also, if you’re looking for something with a bit more kick, Evoke is also a fully functioning coffee BAR, which here means you over-21s can indulge in a locally crafted beer or a fun wine from a perpetually revolving list.
As for you coffee aficionados, you’ll be happy to know Evoke is home to a thriving community of fellow coffee culture lovers. Grab a hand-brewed Ethiopian and bask in the ambiance provided by wide open spaces, local artist Dylan Bradway‘s massive wall piece, and music handpicked by the talented and tasteful baristas who will be serving you the best of America’s roasters.
Café Evoke purchases their delectable beans from several American coffee roasters and rotates these products on a regular basis. (Handmade and Damn Handsome and Verve are personal favorites, particularly the Ethiopian and Guatemalan roasts.)
- MADCAP COFFEE ROASTERS / GRAND RAPIDS, MI
- PT’S COFFEE / TOPEKA, KS
- VERVE COFFEE ROASTERS / SANTA CRUZ, CA
- HANDSOME COFFEE ROASTERS / LA, CA
- BATDORF AND BRONSON COFFEE ROASTERS / OLYMPIA, WA
- ELEMENTAL COFFEE ROASTERS / OKLAHOMA CITY, OK
In addition to providing coffee of the highest quality, Evoke supplies an exquisite selection of freshly made noms that are always lounging seductively behind a glass case. From made-fresh-daily sandwiches to assorted pastries worth the extra padding, they’ve got the perfect goods to complement a steaming cup of joe.
Got a bad case of caffeine withdrawal? There’s hope for you! Squint your eyes, muscle through the pain, and run over to Café Evoke to show your undying support for one of our favorite local businesses.
103 south broadway
edmond, ok 73034
monday – wednesday 7:00am-10:00pm