Where are the Best Coffee Shops in Tulsa?
The kings of Tulsa coffee are Topéca and DoubleShot. All other coffee shops bow before these two. Both of these joints roast their own beans in a local facility which means that the coffee is very fresh and has only been roasted for a few days by the time it hits your lips. Compare this to Starbucks where there is no guarantee of when or where the beans were roasted. This definitely makes a difference – the fresher the roast, the better the taste. Both of these companies sell their roasted beans to other local shops and ship to other locations.
- DoubleShot is located in the 18th & Boston district. If you like a stronger coffee/espresso taste in your drinks, then this is the place for you. Even the mochas only have subtle amounts of chocolate so that the coffee flavors are not overwhelmed. Their signature drink is the Americano. They buy unroasted beans from various regions, combine them for a proprietary blend, and do the roasting in the store. These guys are coffee fanatics! They are so fanatical, that one of the workers (Isaiah) told me that they have limited their tea sales because people were ordering dirty chai, and to the owner of DoubleShot, this was undermining the taste and pleasure of the espresso. As a side note, Starbucks tried to make DoubleShot change their name as they thought it infringed on their DoubleShot canned drink. Obviously, small business won. (Note to the 2Shot owners — your website needs help. Why does it try to load a QuickTime movie? This isn’t 1998. In fact, my company strongly encourages us not to load the QT player for security reasons.) Doubleshot could use some more power outlets at their tables. The tables with outlets fill up quickly.
- Topeca is a larger operation than DoubleShot. If you only drink Starbucks and want to dip your toe into “real” coffee, I suggest you start here. This place has the best iced mochas around. Topeca is one of the only coffee companies in the world that owns the complete supply chain from end to end – or as they call it, from seed to cup. Yes, Topeca actually owns the coffee plantation in El Salvador, employs the workers, picks, packs, ships, roasts, and sells coffee. Topeca has two retail locations in Tulsa — one at 115 W. 5th St. and the other in the Hyatt on 2nd street downtown. One of the baristas told me they are going to start offering coffee classes to the public. Sign me up now, please! I want to learn to make froth designs in my mochas.
From there, there are other good coffee shops in the Tulsa area. The hippy types seem to hang out at Shades of Brown and Coffee House on Cherry Street (CHoCS). Mod’s Coffee, downtown on Boston Street is a cool retro looking shop that sells handmade crepes. All of these have good coffee. CHoCS makes a really good dirty chai. Stonewood Hills Coffee in Broken Arrow and Kaffe Bona in South Tulsa are also good for those in the suburbs. My least favorite is Gypsy Coffee on the north side of downtown. The coffee is sufficient, but the dirty chai was bad bad bad. The atmosphere reminds me of Jimmy Hendrix’s living room.
Interestingly, even though most of the local shops buy their beans from Topeca or Doubleshot, the recipes and final product vary greatly. Most people are very loyal to their coffee shops. That’s why it is often difficult for new ones to be successful.
The Best Starbucks in Tulsa
If you’re from out of town, not looking for “real” coffee, and simply looking for the coolest Starbucks in Tulsa to get some work done, then head to the one in Utica Square. It was remodeled in June 2011 and is very comfortable. It has lots of inside and outside seating and enough power outlets to share. It has wood(ish) floors and a comfortable atmosphere.