A Caffeinated Christmas

What is Christmas without a hot drink? Coffeehouses have made a cup of coffee more than an early morning wakeup. With fresh roasted coffee of all flavors, coffee connoisseurs gather at local coffee shops for "pure perfection" in a cup of their favorite hot brew.

Bruce & Mindy Baldwin own and run Java Dave’s Coffee, located on Broadway in downtown Edmond. For two years they have added to downtown’s warm, homey atmosphere. As part of the community, Baldwin knows most of his regular customers and their favorite drink. Of course, many come back for Mindy’s fresh homemade soup or cranberry nut bread.

“My wife and I wanted to do something different. We looked at a lot of restaurants and cafes,” said Baldwin. “This seemed to fit. We’ve met so many good people here.” Java Dave’s is not a franchise but a licensing agreement to sell only their coffee.

The coffeehouse roasts their coffee beans in Tulsa. Beans come from all around the world, including a variety of islands. These "straights" (non-flavored coffee) include dozens of choices from countries like Kenya, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Sumatra, and Guatemala.

"Flavored coffees" are a second line. Edmond Java Dave’s number one, best-selling flavored coffee is "Snickerdelicious," a mild flavor combination that is not overpowering.

“Second is probably ‘French Silk,'” said Baldwin. “Black Gold coffee has the lowest acid, and we also have a large variety of decaffeinated.”

Java Dave’s is also a place for meetings, whether political, business or just listening to classical music such as the “Stringent,” a string quartet that plays there occasionally.

“People associate cold weather with a hot cup of coffee,” said Baldwin, “but tea drinkers have increased by about a 1/3. We also offer hot chocolate. Parents want latte, but kids want chocolate.”

Other things that make the shop unique are book signings, gift items made in Edmond and Robin Potts, a certified massage therapist, who is at Java Dave’s every Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. offering massages. Java Dave's is also the only Oklahoma distributor of Dewar’s Famous Chews, a candy made in Bakersfield, California.

Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Java Dave’s will be open Sundays during December.

Prima Café is another independently owned coffee roaster. They buy ‘green’ coffee beans from at least 20 different countries. “Sixty to seventy percent of our coffee is Fair Trade and Organic Certified,” said Gary Hargrave, one of the owners. "Our World Neighbors® Certified coffees are 100 percent Fair Trade and Organic. Prima Café and World Neighbors® share similar interests, like helping coffee farmers in Guatemala. “Our goal is to purchase Fair Trade and Organic beans exclusively but the certifying bodies do not yet operate in all countries.”

“Just because a coffee costs more doesn’t mean it’s better,” said Lee Morrison, Prima Café’s other owner. “Labor costs make a huge difference.”

Beans arrive at Prima Café in 150 lb. burlap bags. Small amounts are roasted to perfection, each type at different temperatures, reaching up to 500 degrees. Roasted for the exact length of time–not too dark or too light. Prima Café roasts in Oklahoma City and delivers fresh to the customer within a day or two because roasted coffee degrades within two weeks to two months.

Morrison explained that all coffee cherries are handpicked and better coffees are grown at high elevations in volcanic soil. "Coffee beans are the cherry pits,” said Morrison. “It’s amazing that a cup of coffee isn’t way more expensive than it is.”

Morrison worked on a coffee plantation for a month in Costa Rica. “I strapped a basket around my waist and climbed the mountainside, dropping ripe cherries into the basket.” Cherries ripen at different times so machination is difficult.

After coffee cherries are spread out, sorted and pulped, coffee beans are "cupped" to evaluate their flavor, body and acidity. Fragrance is also important to taste.

“The best coffees change from year to year, depending on factors like weather or politics. Right now, we’re receiving samples from new crops in Central America,” said Morrison. “We’ll choose the highest quality.”

“We sell more coffee at Christmas, especially around universities,” said Hargrave. Christmas flavors include Pumpkin Spice, Cinnamon Bread and Chocolate Mint. Chai is black tea with spices, brewed and served with milk and honey. “Green tea seems to be getting more popular. I especially like green tea chai.”

Few other cities have as many local coffeehouses as Edmond. “We encourage people to go to small, independent coffee shops where they will get freshly roasted coffee,” said Hargrave. “People drink more coffee when they taste good coffee and realize it’s available.”

Cowgirl Coffee Shop on Waterloo and Broadway, and Times Square at 15th and Bryant both sell Prima Café coffee.

Will’s Coffee Shop on 4322 North Western is located in the Will Rogers Theater, which opened in 1946, providing a local flavor they also purchase from coffeehouse roaster, Prima Café.

City Bites' new café on Broadway will have a signature coffee, the “Eye Opener,” and other morning mind benders. Along with the cappuccino and espresso machines, they will offer an assortment of Prima Café coffees.

Independent coffeehouses attempt to enrich people’s lives through the experience of true artisan coffees and to promote a café culture. This Christmas, Hargrave says, “Drink slowly and smell the aroma. Pick out the characteristics and depth of the coffee. There’s a whole story behind each cup.”

For more information, check out Javadavescoffee.com or Primacafe.com.

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