The state’s coffee community pushes through severe snow storms.
BY KATRINA YENTCH
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Cover photo by Marc Kleen for Unsplash
Bursted frozen pipes, power outages, and destroyed perishable food are just a few of the many struggles that citizens and businesses across the United States have experienced over the past week-plus. Winter storms have been causing chaos, and one of the least prepared states to face them is Texas. With a typically mild climate year-round, central Texas has been particularly shattered by the Winter Storm Uri, whose damage has been lasting. Thousands in the Dallas and Austin areas have been without power for days, and are only just now getting electricity again. Many restaurants, bars, and coffee shops are trying to do their part to provide warmth and electricity for temporary relief while trying to stay afloat themselves. We talked to two coffee companies in Texas to see how they’ve been faring during this time.
In northern Texas, the Lubbock region is used to some snowfall every winter. This turn, they experienced heavy snowfall and frozen pipes. Although the city felt some effects from Uri, it was generally in a good place to handle the situation. “The roads were a little rough but they got paved in good time, and we’ve been pretty busy ever since,” reported Taylor McAlpine, general manager at Sugar Browns Coffee Co. Taylor shared that they had actually just opened a new location in downtown Lubbock during the first week of the winter storm. This didn’t stop Lubbock residents from checking out the highly anticipated spot, and although it suffered through some minor heating unit issues, Sugar Browns has been relatively safe during this time.
Houndstooth Coffee, on the other hand, has locations throughout Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth, some of the areas hardest hit by Uri. With several of its own locations out of power, Houndstooth Coffee was completely out of operations in Austin for a week. Several of their employees had been without power for three to four days, too. “Thankfully, we have not had pipes burst or long-term issues (that we know of) aside from basically a week’s lost revenue,” reports Sean Henry, co-owner at Houndstooth. “A year into the pandemic, it literally comes at the worst time.” Upon reopening their locations this past weekend, Sean says that it was their first day since the pandemic began that they experienced crowds comparable to their pre-COVID days.
Countless other businesses are slowly coming back to life in Texas, but the damaging effects are lasting. Here are some ways that you can help coffee businesses and Texans.
Provide hunger relief: Homes experiencing power outages means warm refrigerators, thrown-out food, and dysfunctional kitchens. Several food security nonprofits and community fridges are furiously working to provide meals to these residents, and you can donate to help their efforts.
Funky Town Fridge
Kick the Cold
Central Texas Food Bank
World Central Kitchen
Laredo Community Fridge
Free Lunch Austin
Prep to Your Door’s Free Meal Delivery
Feed the People Dallas
Buy a coffee bag from Texas: With some cafés in operation, or closed during this time, roasted coffee is likely at a surplus. If you’ve been buying coffee to brew at home, consider purchasing a bag from a Texas-based coffee business to relieve supply and help cover some of the losses of sales. Houndstooth is one of many companies that were still roasting coffee through the storm, and countless others throughout the Austin, Houston, and Dallas regions could use your support.
- You can find a list of coffee shops in Austin here.*
- This is a list of some coffee shops in Houston.*
- Some of the Dallas-Fort Worth region’s many cafés can be found here.*
*Note: These lists were sourced with the intention of finding maps that encompassed the biggest number of cafés, not the “best.”