I have always been a fan of the coffee house. When I was in college a latte, a locally sourced, ginormous salad and a table in the corner of the café courtyard often got me through mid-terms and finals – the studying portion, at least. When I moved to Boston, and after that Paris, I was surprised to see that the lassiez-faire attitude of coffee houses (or even the focus on delicious coffee) had yet made it eastward. I missed the sense of belonging – the ability to sit, read, work and stay as long as necessary, even with only long-drained coffee in front of me.
It was with great interest that I began to read about the ‘new’ local coffee movement – coffee houses throughout the US that were buying, roasting and brewing their own beans. The focus was far more on the basic brewed coffee itself – not the flavored syrups added in or the whipped cream decorations atop – that mattered. Coffee was moving beyond a means to a productive, caffeinated end. As an avid consumer, I was thrilled with the focus on making the brew tasty, not just strong (and bitter), which seemed to be the point with coffee culture up until this point. It was with excitement and anticipation that I dragged two colleagues to Coffee & Tea Collective in North Park to taste what all the fuss was about.
This is definitely a new coffee culture, with the intense focus on the artisanal roasting and the carefully poured drip, (not your usual) filtered cup ‘o joe. I’d have to say, it was utterly worth it. I am, admittedly, just learning to use my descriptive words to classify and select wine (a bit behind, yes, I am), but the coffee that slid past my palate this afternoon deserved just as much attention (and adjectives), as any glass of Pinot Noir on a Friday night.
Warm, fruity, pungent, strong – the house-roasted, hand-selected coffees at Coffee & Tea collective are worth searching out. Take a seat, enjoy a cup and peruse the eclectic art collection and the airy, high-ceilinged dining room. If you enjoy your cup, be sure to purchase some beans to take home with you – they are just as good when brewed on a lazy Sunday morning (trust me). I may still be learning about the nuances into the new coffee culture, but I have no doubt that Coffee & Tea collective will be happy to teach me, every step of the way.
Not to mention that I need to go back to pick up the (at least) three house-blended teas I want to try as well…