POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 19, 2007:
Steeped in History
"Decaf grande skim latte." "Double mocha macchiato!" How do you take yours? The days of the plain cup of coffee are long gone, but that's not such a bad thing. Captain John Smith, who in 1607 is said to have introduced coffee to North America, would be perplexed and amazed at today's coffee advancements.
Originally native to Ethiopia and the Sudan, it is a simple coffee tree's small red berries that contain the seeds--the coffee beans--so many crave. Who would have imagined, or devised, the process of roasting, grinding and brewing with boiling water.
A celebrated brew, once demonized by the health establishment, recent scholarship suggests coffee is not as bad for you as once thought. The on-again, off-again latest research of its effects on health report that moderate consumption does not cause the body harm; to the contrary, a Harvard Medical School report in 2006 uncovered possible benefits.
Today's choices for a cup of Joe, while more entertaining and creative, can be at times confusing. Options include the automatic drip or French press versions, ground or whole bean. Caffeinated or not? Cappuccino, cappuccino with cream, Americano, mocha, latte, espresso, macchiato?
Stonewood Coffee & Tea Co. is hip to the modern bean. Manager Monica Martin says what sets their coffee house apart from others is "the personal care and attention to hand craft each and every drink."
She says preparing each drink is a "culinary art," definitely the current strategy and Starbucks model. Martin says General Operation Manager for Stonewood David Sell attended to The American Barista and Coffee School (ABC's) in Portland, OR, for special training in preparing the perfect cup of coffee. (ABC's is the only professional school in the U.S. devoted to domestic and international specialty coffee business education and hands-on barista training.)
And, I will have to say, my cup of cappuccino was one of the best versions I've had of late. I had the Piccolo size (12 oz.) of my favorite coffee drink; it was hot, creamy and, for a little decadence--an aberration of the true cappuccino, I admit--I agreed to have a dollop of whipped cream on top. The cream quickly disappeared within the first few sips, which soon exposed the authentic cappuccino I love. Other sizes are Medio (16 ounces) and Grande (20 ounces).
I also ordered an Italian Fizz, which begins with a cup of ice, a good measure of club soda and a splash of gourmet flavored syrup--I chose ruby red grapefruit. Sounds a bit odd, I admit, but it turned out to be a very refreshing drink for this hot day.
The dining room is large and welcoming, with wi-fi available, of course. Tables, couches and chairs offer a warm feel to stay a while. Martin says they are also going to have live music on Friday evenings to see how it received.
Other Monin syrups which can be added to the Italian Fizzes or other drinks include vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, almond, cinnamon, coconut, white chocolate, frosted peppermint, toffee nut, cherry, amaretto, and more. Many of these are sugar free. All syrups are made from natural fruits, nuts, spices and sugars and are fat and cholesterol free.
Stonewood carries more than 30 loose teas of the Metropolitan Teas and Adagio brands, she says. Some include the popular English Breakfast, 1776 Blend, Earl Grey, Sunshine Rooibos, Blueberry Bang Rooibos, Long Island Strawberry Green Tea and Margaret's Hope Darjeeling.
These are sold by the bulk, as are the more than 20 coffees. Price for teas are $3.25 for two ounces, $6.50 for four ounces and $13 for eight ounces.
Beans are roasted by roastmaster Brian Franklin of Double Shot Coffee Co., who uses a 1953 Vittoria from Bologna, Italy, for preparing the perfect beans. By the pound, beans are $13.50, except the espresso beans. I took a few pounds home, the Kenya AA Kieni and the Stonewood Signature; the Stonewood Signature has a rich, yet mild taste, good for a morning cup of coffee; the Kenya is a bit stronger, yet bursting with deep, authentic taste.
In the few months that Stonewood Coffee & Tea Co. has been opened, some of the most popular drinks are surfacing.
"For the hot drinks," says Martin, "the Mocha Latte and Vanilla Latte are some of the most requested ones."
Other drinks on the menu include Café Latte, Café Mocha Latte, Chai Tea and Café Au Lait.
The popular cold coffee drinks are the many versions of the Ice Blended Arabicaccios, which are espresso, milk, ice and mixed with a Monin gourmet flavor; Caramel Latte and Double Fudge Mocha are two of the favorites, says Martin. And, how can you go wrong with Ghirardelli as the chocolate used in these drinks?
Big Train Fruit Smoothies are also popular, says Martin, coming in Medio and Grande sizes. Smoothies are infused with green tea, high in vitamin C, low in fat and antioxidant rich. They can be mixed with strawberry, lemon cooler, pineapple coconut, peach pizzazz, mango guava madness, passion orange guava, wild berry boost, banana banana, acai and blueberry pomegranate.
If the drinks aren't filling enough, desserts, fresh pastries and wraps will do the trick. Cookies ($1), scones ($2.75), cinnamon rolls ($1.95), assorted Danishes ($1.35) and muffins ($1.25) are all baked in-house while the coffee cake, dessert cake ($3.25), snowflake cake ($3.25) and the wraps are all from Merritt's.
The best way to Stonewood from Tulsa is to take the Broken Arrow Expressway east, exit Elm. Turn left (north), and turn right on Stonewood Drive. Stonewood Coffee & Tea Co. is on the southwest corner of the strip shopping center.
Stonewood Coffee & Tea Co.
449 W. Stonewood Dr., Broken Arrow
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