Article and photos by Sadie Colwell
Midwestern charm, southern hospitality, and an ample supply of great coffee (plus dessert!) sounds like an excellent way to spend a weekend. This is precisely what we did on March 15 at the second annual sold-out Oklahoma City Caffeine Crawl, and we fell in love all over again with the modern quaintness of this city and its coffee scene.
From the locals’ friendly enthusiasm to our shiny red rides from our Perfect Crema Sponsor, Fowler Auto, we were off to a great start, and anticipation mounted as crawlers began to arrive (and had their first cup of coffee). Our three Roaster Sponsors—Coffee Slingers, Elemental Coffee Roasters, and Mariposa Coffee Roastery—kindly played the role of caffeinated starting points, and welcomed us with warm smiles and the smell of great coffee. Crawlers grabbed burlap bags filled with swag from Wholesome Sweeteners, Barista Magazine, Yelp, and participating shops.
Anyone in need of breakfast at Elemental Coffee before the Crawl commenced was well taken care of at the company’s homemade crepe bar—yum! We then gathered around Elemental’s red roaster to learn about coffee processing at origin while sipping a great Yirgacheffe, and admiring the sweet Stella di Caffe custom Barista Nation espresso machine with Brian from Unic and Joe from Sleeve a Message, who both came along for the ride.
Coffee Slingers gave crawlers a great origin immersion experience in its roasting space, complete with slideshow and samples. We passed around glass jars of bean samples, noting the differences, and felt quite involved as we sat next to bags filled with coffee waiting to be roasted and brewed into the delicious cup we were drinking.
The enthusiastic staff at T – an Urban Teahouse gave a fantastic rundown of tea processing with great style and energy, and questions flowed as crawlers sampled a savory Oolong. We headed to Syrup for some unique espresso cakes and a sampling session of 4 different Stumptown brews, while Crimson & Whipped Cream highlighted cold drinks with Toddy, chai, and cold brew lattes. Gray Owl in Norman provided cold brew and house-made pastries to snack on while we learned some coffeehouse culture history, and we wrapped up our time there marveling at (and sampling, of course) a siphon demo.
Moving along, we found ourselves in front of the scrumptious pastry case at Cuppies and Joe, where we sipped espresso milkshakes out of Mason jars and sampled tiny tiramisu cupcakes in its cozy back room.
Mariposa provided a great discussion on clean water, social justice, and brew methods, and we sampled a stellar Burundi brew, Cascara tea, and Lavender cake from a local bakery. Crawlers mingled happily and wandered outside to check out Mariposa’s charming coffee truck, which was serving up samples of a coffee beer from a partnership with a local brewery. Score!
We licked our cupcake wrappers, drained the last of our coffee samples, and said a big thank you and a fond farewell to the shop owners and baristas who had done such a fabulous job giving us the low-down on what they do and making us feel at home. We then headed to Café Evoke in Edmond for a fantastic after crawl party! Happily caffeinated crawlers chatted over beers (or more coffee) and snacks, and entered in the raffle to support the OKC Regional Foodbank. Winners went home happy with awesome prizes from Bhakti Chai, Unic, and Baratza.
Thanks for an awesome Crawl, OKC—your friendly charm made a great crawl even better, and we’ll see you next year!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sadie Colwell is a completely committed coffee addict who adores coffee shop culture and chocolate. She is currently living the loft life in downtown Kansas City, Mo., with her extraordinary husband, Tyler, and her imaginary dog. When she isn’t advancing her unorthodox latte art skills as a barista at Quay coffee, working on a project for The LAB (creators of Caffeine Crawl), or teaching young prodigies to play the piano and like it, she dives headfirst into blogging and freelance projects with reckless abandon.