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Gourmet grinds


Forget that stuff in the foam cup. Opt for gourmet coffee instead.

Shawn Lealos October 5th, 2011

When most people think about drinking coffee, a hot cup straight out of the pot comes to mind. It’s a pick-me-up to get the day started right, but it is an acquired taste. For people who generally dislike the taste, there is an alternative in the form of gourmet coffee.

Beans & Leaves, 4015 N. Penn, is a new coffeehouse that offers many unique gourmet coffees as well as cookies, cakes and specialty teas. Unlike many gourmet coffee shops, which offer basic choices, manager Desiree Moore brought her own creations to the business.

“I tried to bring in at least a few new drinks,” Moore said. “I brought in different kinds of coffees. I have (one) called a Jamaican Me Crazy, but I’ll brew whatever you want. I can give something to everyone.”

To understand the difference between the coffee drinks you find at a coffeehouse like Beans & Leaves and the coffee you might buy at a convenience store, it is important to understand the beans used in the drinks. For quality coffee drinks, they search out the best quality beans and, in the case of Beans & Leaves, they searched until they found their perfect beans roasted in New Jersey.

right, Desiree Moore uses gourmet coffee beans in the brews made at Beans & Leaves, 4015 N. Penn.

“People are looking for just the right bean in their coffee,” Moore said. “It has to be oily enough and just the right roast for it. When you get a bean that’s been over-roasted, it is dry and looks like it’s cracked. When you get a good bean, it is oily and is covered in a sheen. That way you actually know the flavor is there.”

Moore, like other coffeehouse employees, is considered a barista.

“It means ‘bartender’ in Italian,” said Tanner Golden, a barista at the Hardback Coffee Cafe in Hastings, 2300 W. Main in Norman. “I heard originally a barista referred to people working in bars or who sold coffee or alcohol, both in Italy.”

While Hastings stores have basic menus with specific coffee drinks, Golden said he tries to give customers what they want.

“I do what I can to make it work,” Golden said.

Some people look at coffeehouses and see ’90s-era Seattle, but that’s not the atmosphere for which many coffee shops are looking. An example is what Moore considers to be one of Beans & Leaves biggest draws: the young crowd. Moore said they bring in a lot of musicians to perform on weekends. The coffee shop itself is decorated with artwork from local talent in the form of photographs, paintings and sculptures.

“We invite local artists to come in if they want to display their work,” Moore said. Once they get the people to start coming in, it is time to introduce them to different flavors of gourmet coffee.

“If someone doesn’t think they like coffee, or only had what you might find at 7-Eleven, I’d say let’s try you out on some brewed coffee,” Moore said. “Let me do something laborious for you.”

Whether at a small coffeehouse like Beans & Leaves, or a larger local chain like Java Dave’s, there is a chance you will find something that hits the spot.

 
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