// OKC and Tulsa will surprise any visitor with their exciting beverage scenes. //
The 2017 Crawl season started with San Diego and Houston. One neighboring the ocean, and the other one of the country's largest cities only 40 miles away from the waves. We moved inland more, but took on a whole state with Oklahoma's 5th annual Caffeine Crawl event. Tulsa was added to the lineup last year, and this year we had a total of 18 participating coffee, tea, and chocolate businesses on two days of routes. Did we drink well? We sure did!
A big part of Caffeine Crawl is getting perfect weather. The sun wasn't out in full force, but we dodged rain and too much of a chill. Each shop in Tulsa welcomed us and brought relief from the outdoors. Brian and Andrew at Double Shot Coffee had a warm cup of their Colombia El Boton - Maduro for us followed by the same coffee on nitro. We learned about Brian's sourcing trips to Colombia, and were invited back to the roasting room. The team at Cirque Coffee presented us with a flight of an Ethiopian coffee they roasted. A tray held a glass of cold brew from the Kyoto tower, another with cold brew infused with hops, and the last glass a cold latte on tap. As we interacted with our drinks and the story behind Tulsa's newest shop, a pourover of the same coffee was delivered to us. Both of these shops were first timers on the Crawl, and were great additions.
Topeca Coffee has been a part of the Oklahoma Crawls before we added Tulsa. They were represented at their bar-cafe, Hodges Bend. Chip informed us on their multiple food and beverage businesses, and Hodges' role in Tulsa's community. Jason and Jamie on different stops presented two coffee mocktails they created. Both using an El Salvador coffee from Topeca and vanilla simple syrup. One drink had orange juice and lime, while the other differed with caramel and apple.
Foolish Things Coffee Company was the only business to incorporate chocolate during this Crawl. Their bean-to-bar business, Middle West Chocolate, used cacao in the cold brew process with an Ethiopian coffee from Onyx Coffee making up one of the three drinks Justin prepared for us. The other two was the regular 24-hour process cold brew unaltered, and their local favorite of that cold brew aged (settled) in oak chips.
Tulsa has a downtown full of Art Deco Buildings, and Mod's Coffee & Crepes used their historic lobby to set up with a one-group espresso machine and make affogatos using espresso from local roaster Nordaggios Coffee. Rusty chatted with us about their range of gelato creations, and about the Italian influence of their place. Chimera Cafe uses a flash brewed style for their cold brews, and served up a Colombia co-op by Airship Coffee in a small snifter for us. Rob and their team explained the brewing method, and shared details about their rotating guest roaster program.
For those already counting down to next year, we will have at least one Tulsa route on Saturday joining a Friday lineup.
Rolling into half a decade in OKC, Norman and Edmond celebrating great coffee and tea. That's impressive! Every shop in the lineup this year has been on the Crawl before.
In Edmond, Cafe Evoke combined coffee and spirits. The coffee base was a washed-process Colombia from Middle State Coffee, and other ingredients were Cointreau, honey, and Angostura Bitters. The drink was served in a coupe glass that was misted with orange water. Ally at Compass Coffeehouse is always a great host pairing their local baked good and coffee. Her team had mini cinnamon rolls alongside two different signature lattes using Topeca Coffee. One of them we were able to chime in on the possible name of the drink.
On the flip side of town, in the college town of Norman, Gray Owl Coffee and Second Wind Coffeehouse were the two shops on multiple routes. For those that visited Elemental Coffee, they were able to see Scotty twice on a Crawl. He created the signature oatmeal latte we had at Second Wind. The latte on ice included oat milk, Mariposa Coffee's Amy's Blend, blueberry-brown sugar syrup, orange bitters, mint and lemon. The drink ingredients were discussed, exploration of coffee at home, and the amazing non-profit story behind the shop. At Gray Owl, Caleb and Jenny welcomed us on their comfy wrap around couch with blueberry and ginger-peach scones waiting, and to drink a tumeric-ginger tea from Rishi Tea, or espresso from Topeca Coffee through the Toddy process. Caleb talked about the evolution of coffee, cafes, and coffee consumption in America.
A couple of shops tested our sensory skills. Clarity Coffee was led by Steve and Chelsea with Aeropress demos, and then each Crawl route was divided in groups to do their own Aeropress using a Heart Coffee Roasters Ethiopian coffee. One drink used a honey-lavender syrup and milk to create a latte using the coffee from the "press". The roaster, Ian, at Coffee Slingers Roasters had three of their coffees for us to taste brewed via a pourover - Los Bellatos, Malacara, and Dulzura. Then using food items to compare smells with flavor nuances of each coffee.
t, an urban teahouse was our solo tea representative, but Kristy always covers a lot of tea knowledge with each route. Kristy covered tea's origins, different processing that defines each type of tea, and helpful tips for brewing different teas while we sipped on matcha. Cuppies and Joe spent two weeks prepping their cold brew popsicles for the Crawl using a local dairy, and rose simple syrup. Can't come in Cuppies without a treat, so Elizabeth made sure we had cookies, too! Junction Coffee literally stands out on a Crawl with their double-decker mobile bus. We hopped on, sat upstairs and got comfy with raspberry Viennas - a housemade whipped cream, raspberry syrup, and Mariposa's Fireside espresso poured over the drink.
Meg and Scotty (mentioned above) teamed up at Elemental Coffee Roasters to create the first non-alcoholic coffee drink with beer we've had on a Crawl. Remind you, this was Crawl #59! The recipe called for a reduction of the Los Naranjos Black Mesa coffee beer using Elemental's Coffee by the namesake. The reduction was a syrup joining with coffee concentrate, and steamed milk to create a very special cortado. Elemental was packed, but hosted us in their space behind the roaster wall, and both team members fielded multiple questions on creating the drink, and advice on drink making at home. Mariposa Coffee Roastery used the beautiful space at Okay Yeah and the Plant Shoppe. Sipping coffee among plants was special for those of us on the Crawl. Our drink was a coffee mocktail with a carbonated Ethiopian coffee from Mariposa and cardamon-orange peel simple syrup.
We wrapped everything up with a get together at Anthem Brewing put together by Anthem and Elemental. Once again a one-of-a-kind experience with the state's beverage scene. It continues to grow, and build strong community support. A big thanks to the sponsors listed above, plus Yelp Tulsa and OKC, Boxo coffee subscription, Barista Magazine, and Ally Coffee - green coffee importers, for their support. Also, to our fabulous local tour guide assistants, Stephen Tyler and Morgan Day, and Dean Kallivrousis from Ally. We look forward to seeing you again, Oklahoma friends. - Jason Burton