The third annual Caffeine Crawl Oklahoma City took it to another level following the 2014 honor of being awarded "Most enthusiastic Crawlers" in the first Caffeine Crawl awards. This event sold out over a month in advance, and 150+ ticket holders were ready to sprint - we mean crawl!
Elemental Coffee Roasters hosted the largest groups of the day, and Rachel handled the crowds with her golden hospitality. They served a sparkling cold brew and also prepped the crowd on their coffee-beer collaboration with Black Mesa Brewing. We patiently waited until the After Party to try the beer.
Gray Owl Coffee in Norman was another early kickoff spot, where Jenny and her team had delicious scones and Topeca cold brew ready. A slideshow accompanied the narrative of her recent El Salvador trip. 40 minutes to the north in Edmond, Compass Coffeehouse also hosted a route kickoff, and Ally of Compass paired 3 different Topeca El Salvador coffees with different pastries so we could select our favorite pairing. Also in Edmond, Cafe Evoke brought the bartender-barista technique to their sample drink. The ingredients consisted of Ritual espresso, Ritual dark chocolate (not the same company), a housemade vanilla syrup, Q Tonic Kola and maraschino cherries.
Other shops incorporated food into their presentation and samples. Elizabeth and her crew at Cuppies and Joe spoiled us with their fresh baked and perfectly gooey chocolate chip cookies followed by a Mason jar serving of horchata, brewed with a Topeca Coffee. Junction Coffee gave us a sneak peek of their double decker bus as they served us on the top level, where a warm sample of Mariposa’s espresso blend brewed as a drip awaited. The husband and wife team of Junction told us about their plans and tie in with community, then sent us on our way with samples of artisan toast with cream cheese and cucumber. Locals are excited for these guys to start serving on a regular basis.
Kitchen 324 was also new to the OKC Crawl lineup, and jaws dropped as we arrived to Joe-nuts and side-by-side Madcap Coffees for comparison. Mary Beth at syrup paired cinnamon pancakes with Stumptown Coffee (also part of our Portland Caffeine Crawl), and Hugo Tea. It was our first coffee and tea combo at the same stop for the young Crawl season. The entire focus was on tea at t, an urban teahouse in OKC. Kristy has experience with two years as a Crawl stop, and she brought the same energy and passion for all of us. We literally buried our noses into loose leaf tea while sipping a very nice Assam.
We’d had coffee, tea, and food, but Mariposa Coffee Roastery was our stop for coffee cocktails - created by using a slow cold brew method, then adding Champagne, jalapeño and celery. Props to them for juggling the Crawl activities with a baby on the way any second. Second Wind Coffeehouse also served Mariposa Coffee, and demonstrated their impressive community involvement with a full staff of volunteer baristas.
On top of the amazing shop visits, Crawlers went home with Yelp goodie bags full of gifts from Barista Magazine, Sleeve A Message, Clarity Coffee (coming summer of 2015), Elemental Coffee and groovy stickers from Gray Owl and Junction Coffee.
The day wrapped up with a fantastic After Crawl Throwdown at Coffee Slingers. Baristas teamed up with non-baristas to form 16 different teams. The baristas helped coach their teammate and took turns pouring round-by-round in elimination battles. Slingers had music going, huge prizes for the winners from Acaia, Baratza, Barista Magazine and The LAB along with coffee cocktails and Black Mesa Brewing Co. pouring their (Ethiopian) Ardi Stout.
With a third year of Oklahoma’s hospitable Caffeine Crawl magic on the books, we’re already looking forward to next year’s event and entertaining rumors of adding Tulsa to the mix.