Monday, January 17, 2011

From Seed to Cup: A Tulsa Experience

So today for Adjusting the Grind, I am going to do a coffee shop review for you. This weekend, I did a quick trip to Tulsa, OK, to visit Travis's momma. While I was there, I took the opportunity to check out Topeca, a coffee shop two Baristas suggested I check out.
Topeca is located in downtown Tulsa, OK, in an interesting hotel building. The decor is fabulous--very inviting, cozy, and Latin-inspired. It serves a full food menu along with coffee.

The menus are hanging chalkboards behind the bar. My favorite part is how they list each size for the coffee drinks, and next to cappecino it says, "Only the perfect size". Love how they turned what can sometimes be negative (only serving the traditional 6oz or 8oz cappecino) into something special.

The coffee of the day was Santa Ana, a blend of coffee grown in the highest elevations of Finca Manzano. They describe it having a lime fragrance, and it is a fully-washed coffee. However, I ordered a cappecino for there, and a bag of beans of Santa Ana to take home with me.

My cappecino was very good, a little too foamy for my liking, but overall a great drink. I gave the Barista working a lot of grace, though, because the place was packed on a Sunday afternoon. It was evident this was an unusual amount of people on a Sunday afternoon because there was only one Barista and one chef on duty.

Travis's mom ordered a Turkey and Swiss Panini, which she let me try. It was delicious, and so was the side salad with some sort of raspberry dressing.

However, what makes Topeca stand out in my mind is not the atmosphere, the coffee, or the food, (even though all of those things are excellent) but how they source their coffee. The coffee farm, roaster, and cafe is all owned by the same people. This is called a "Seed to Cup" method. Their farms are all in El Salvador and have been around since the 19th Century when the founder brought coffee trees from Colombia to El Salvador. Now, six generations later the legacy lives on through their shop and roaster.

This process allows them to control the quality and create meaningful relationships between farmers and Baristas and roasters. All of the people involved are intrinsically connected on a deeper level. I like that.

They also are able to give back to the communities they grow coffee through an El Salvador non-profit called "Libras de Amor".

I greatly enjoyed my experience at the shop yesterday and my cup of coffee in my El Salvador mug this morning. If you are ever in Tulsa, you should check Topeca Coffee out!
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