This last weekend the LAB took work from their offices in Kansas City to Oklahoma City for one of the first Caffeine Crawls to happen this year. I took a group of friends from Kansas City down to the crawl in Oklahoma City. We were off to rough start, but even with the little delay we were back on our way. We headed to our first stop which was Coffee Slingers.
We met up with the rest of our group at Coffee Slingers; our group was led by Jason Burton of the LAB. At Coffee Slingers we were split into two groups to learn about Roasts and Origin. My half of the group went with Melody to learn about roasting. Melody mentioned she has been in the industry for 10 good years. Learning how to roast took a lot of time and connecting with other roasters in the area and around the country. We were roasting a Guatemala that came from El Sacurro which was a yellow bourbon. The sample roasting that we were apart of took about 8 minutes, or about 1 minute after the first crack. When roasting coffee, it is important to take note of changes happening in the coffee, from temperature change, aromas, and coffee roast. A lot of great questions were being asked. I could tell from the beginning that I was apart of a great group, from coffee newbies to the baristas to coffee shop owners. After this our group went to try this coffee as a pour over. This coffee was brewed as a Chemex with the Able Kone Filter. You got maple sweetness and stewed fruits. It was a delicious cup of coffee. We left Coffee Slingers then went right around the corner to Elemental Coffee Roasters.
I have had Elemental Coffee before at the LAB’s hospitality brew bar, and I have been impressed and was looking forward to visiting their shop and also had one of the many highlights of my day. Hannah who was teaching us about pour overs, recognized me from the BCRBC and she said she really enjoyed my presentation. I thought it was really cool that someone from Oklahoma City recognized me.
At Elemental, we were split up into different groups to go to different stations to learn about Crop to Shop. At the first station Hannah taught us about pour overs, the difference between the Hario V60 and the classic French Press. She brewed for us the Groove, which was an El Salvadorian coffee. We were given the V60 first then given a French Press. We were describe the difference between the two brew methods by flavor and mouth feel; same coffee different brew methods. The French Press was a heavier body and I felt it brought out the earthy notes(someone else had mentioned it had muted flavors because it a fully immersed brew method), where as the V60 brought out more the fruit and acidic notes. Then we went over the sample roaster, where we found out that we were smarter than we thought we were, answering questions correctly. We still learned a lot by reiterating what we already to bring our knowledge to the forefront of our brains. Walking to the other side of the room to the larger drum roaster, we noticed that they had just finished roasting their Sheer, which was a Kenya coffee, which I ended up buying for a friend up in Kansas City. The time had flown by so fast that we missed the last station, but went off to Syrup Breakfast Boutique.
Syrup Breakfast Boutique was located on what seemed to be on a main street of Oklahoma City in a cute yellow brick building. There we learned a lot about Stumptown Coffee Roasters, who are located in Seattle. I thought that it was great that Stumptown sends all of their suppliers this book that is full of information on every coffee that they get and the farm it comes from. We even had a sample of their House Blend and a Guatemala Finca de Injerto. They were both great coffees even for being brewed into air pots(which nothing against the coffee, I have not been the biggest fan of it). I was really excited about the Stumptown Coffee that I bought some of the Ethiopia Nano Challa. Our next stop was going to be Cuppies and Joe where they did a cold brew pairing with pastries, but we were hungry and couldn’t just go anywhere because half of our group is vegan so we went to the grocery store, by the time we left we missed it. I had heard from many people that it was their favorite stop of the day, so I am slightly bummed that we missed it. We went straight to the stop after that; t, an Urban Teahouse.
T, an Urban Teahouse was definitely one of the stops I was looking forward to because it was about tea. I enjoy drinking tea, and coffee, but I do not know hardly anything about tea. When we walked into t, an Urban Teahouse, it looked like Teavana. It was very cute, and had this chill atmosphere. The wall behind the bar was filled with a ton of different teas, and the rest of the walls were filled with art from a local artist. It made me happy to see a Dalek in one of the art pieces. We had skipped the stop at Cuppies and Joe we were about 10 minutes ahead our group. A couple of us had gotten Matcha Lattes, while I was looking around taking pictures. At t we learned about specialty loose leaf tea and what made it so different. Kristy was the owner of t, an Urban Teahouse and also gave the presentation about tea. She told us that it took her an entire year to figure out what teas were going to be on her menu. I think that is awesome, a lot dedication to picking out the best product for her shop, which has been open for 3 1/2 years now.
White, green, oolong, and black tea all come from the same tea plant. For almost all of teas the process of oxidation is how the caffeine levels are achieved. The longer the tea is oxidized then the more caffeine a tea generally has. The only exception is the white tea. It’s the bud of the plant, not the bud of the flower, but of the leaf. That bud is picked and then dried with no process, but because it is the bud of the plant it contains a lot of the caffeine. Green tea has the least amount of caffeine, then followed by white and oolong. Then black tea with the most amount of caffeine. I also learned that tea is similar to coffee in a few ways in the sense that tea is also sensory, as well as where the tea comes from affects the taste of the tea. The famous Rooibos tea is a bush that is only found in South Africa, and is actually green like coffee, and is roasted to create the familiar reddish brown color. This is technically not a tea because it is a different plant, but it has health benefits such as no tanic acids as well as being full of antioxidants.
Something that Kristy makes sure that her employees follow the same mission that she does. Here’s how she worded it: “I want you to leave here to feel smarter about tea and how to brew it correctly.” For those customers that do not really know what they want and come in to ask what tea Kristy and her employees would recommend and Kristy responds with “best is defined by you. Best is about you, not me.” She will ask you about 5 questions to get that list of 50+ teas down to that one that you really want.
After t, an Urban Teahouse was the After Crawl Party at Cafe Evoke. Honestly when we walked in I think I drove my friends slightly insane, because I kept going ooo or ahhh over the shop. It was so beautiful. Then I noticed their espresso machine; it was in a recent issue of BARISTA MAGAZINE for Custom Machines. It was so beautiful in person. When we got in there, we came just in time for the raffle and Jason thanking the sponsors, shops, and everyone for attending this crawl. In the raffle there were coffee to be raffled off, as well Rip Van Wafel(which are delicious, if you haven’t had one yet), a year subscription of BARISTA MAGAZINE, an Askinosie Gift Set, and the coveted Baratza electric burr grinder worth $450.
It was such a great experience to go outside of Kansas City to visit other coffee shops. I met so many awesome people, including a blogger from Oklahoma City who wrote about the Caffeine Crawl before it happened, which you can find the link here for that blog. As well as a guy from Oklahoma City who created these tampers that you can adjust the weight of the tamp. I made new friends, and I can not wait to go back to Oklahoma City to visit some of the shops we saw earlier.
If you are close to Oklahoma City, I would definitely recommend visiting these shops, or take a day trip to visit. Even some of the shops(Coffee Slingers and Elemental Coffee Roasters) you can purchase their coffee online and have it delivered to your front door.