BY SADIE COLWELL
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE
On a drizzly morning in the Bayou City, Caffeine Crawl Houston kicked off at The Honeymoon Cafe and Bar, home to Boomtown Coffee and finger-licking beignets. Tejas Chocolate joined us for the high-energy and humid buzz before the Crawl, kindly providing samples to kick-start the caffeine highs. Crawlers checked in and collected their swag bags from Yelp Houston, complete with LOCAL Houston Magazine‘s latest issue, customized coffee Sleeves from Sleeve a Message, coupons from Boomtown and a sneak peek at Retrospect Coffee Bar. Caffeine Crawl founder Jason Burton welcomed everyone to Houston’s second Caffeine Crawl, and Matt gave us insights on Boomtown’s roasting & vision while we sipped Cafe au Laits.
Attendees took off on routes via car and bike (for those braving the rain) for a caffeinated trek across the metro. A recreation of David Buehrer’s signature drink from the 2015 U.S. Barista Championships at Blacksmith included El Vado Colombian espresso with orange peel simple syrup and bitters, and we sipped cardamom infused cold brew (popular in Guatemala) while discussing Catalina Coffee‘s initiative as one of Houston’s first specialty shops in 2007. Crawlers added Brazilian whole bean samples from Amaya Roasting to their swag bags, and we soaked up the captivating local graffiti as we headed to our next stops.
At Paper Co, Dave took coffee to another level with his culinary meets coffee presentation. They passed out slices of Challah bread toast with a coconut custard jam made from coffee infused coconut milk spread, sirloin strip topped with coffee infused butter and coffee infused vodka using a SousVide method mixed with coconut milk. We left Paper Co. in a delightful daze.
Southside Espresso brewed up Costa Rica Hacienda Sonora on drip and pulled shots for honey butter macchiatos – an intriguing and savory treat. The smell of Doughmaker Doughnut’s truck outside Mercantile Montrose whet our appetites as we went in to meet Jonathan, where he passed out cold brews using Amaya’s seasonal espresso and explained the process to us. We snagged a donut on our way to Siphon Coffee, where we watched in amazement as Carlos and Nicole demonstrated siphon brewing, and we tasted coffee fresh off the brew and cooled down, accompanied by salted chocolate chip cookies.
Eatsie Boys drew us in from the rain to eclectic vibes, cups of steaming coffee and individual scoops of ice cream. At Double Trouble Caffeine and Cocktails, Robin greeted us with Houston hospitality and cold Toddy drinks œas is or with the option of adding house made Kahlua. The last stop for the Crawl also got to take home milk from the coffee community’s local favorite, Mill-King Dairy, including their new œcacow chocolate flavor. Retrospect Coffee blew us away with an other-worldly experience blending Ethiopian traditions with modern coffee culture in a magical old gas station from the 1940’s. Three fantastic ladies prepared a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, and we sipped the freshly pan-roasted coffee and munched popcorn and we listened to Stephen and Caleb’s plans for the cafe’s future.
A big thankyou goes out to all the participating shops who creatively hosted, entertained and satiated us, and to our wonderful sponsors including InterAmerican Coffee, Unic Espresso Engineers, Barista Magazine & The LAB – Caffeine Crawls wouldn’t be possible without them! Houston’s cafes gave us another delicious taste of the city’s hospitality and flavor, and we’ll be back for year three before you know it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brimming with ambition, sarcasm and caffeinated zeal, Sadie Colwell is fascinated by all things beverage and the extraordinary humans behind them. Recently relocated from KCMO to Fort Collins, Colorado, you can find her behind the bar of Harbinger Coffee or hunkered down with a cappuccino, fervently planning the next Caffeine Crawl or blogging for The LAB. When she isn’t traveling to caffeinated cities, she drinks a lot of local beer and lets her dog take her for long, vivacious walks through City Park.