Monday, October 26, 2020

Coffeeneuring Challenge 2020 #6: Koken Coffee

It turned cold a couple days ago, coming in with some big wind gusts that made it even colder.
Today the wind calmed down and the temps warmed -- a little. The morning low was 35F, and the afternoon sunshine warmed things up to around 50. Bundled up against the cold, I tweaked my singlespeed one last time, swapping a laprade seatpost I'd finally scored, and then I set out for a brisk spin.


I managed a couple fast residential sidestreet loops around the far side of Woodlawn Park, primarily to meet the minimum two-mile suggested ride length, and then meandered over to MLK and Dekum, where I decided to give Koken Coffee a try.

They'd set up the space last year but were delayed in opening it until August. Now, they're offering fresh roasted Ethiopian coffee and select brunch items to go.

There was a picnic table facing east, which was bathed in sunshine, so if I sat there I'd be warm.

I ordered a cup of hot coffee and sat down outside to enjoy it.

The location is around the corner from the convenience store space, also called Koken [Market], that the family owns and operates.

If you didn't know where to look, you might miss the cafe; but brightly painted walls and a sign help mark the place.

The coffee is roasted on-site in a back room, with beans imported from the family's native Ethiopia.

Ethiopian coffee actually isn't my favorite; it's lighter than the dark roasts I normally like, and ends with note of fruit and flowers. If that's your thing you'll like this. It tasted fresh and lovely. Pro tip: Skip the creamer and just get some sugar if you need sweetener. The only thing they had on hand was some non-dairy flavored creamer that's pretty awful. The coffee is good enough black and I was happy to just take a little sugar in mine. Bonus: a cup of hot fresh coffee is no more than I'd pay at Starbucks, and this is a super-local small business I'd rather spend my limited funds at anyway.

I enjoyed my coffee at the picnic table, soaking in the sunshine and letting it warm my face.

While I sipped my coffee, I looked around at all the recent construction along Dekum.
In the past two years, several older houses had been removed and were replaced by three- and four-story apartment buildings whose architecture is what I'd call Hipster Brutalist: klunky blocks in earth tones.

Not the most inspiring look, but with houasing being at such a premium, replacing single-family dwellings with apartment probably made the most sense -- even if the new apartments cost more to rent than a couple of the smaller houses had.

I finished my coffee, unlocked my bike and took another longish loop back home, to put a total of four miles on my ride. I'm really enjoying my singlespeed these days. It's light, simple and easy to pedal since lowering the gearing on it. A perfect bike for urban coffeeneuring. I'm waiting for a slightly larger saddlebag to arrive, and I still need some way to carry a cup (though the latter will make the bike look more cluttered than I qwant, so maybe I'll just carry coffee in a thermal bottle  and call it good).

Thanks to Mary's dispensation, I will start and finish my Challenge early so I can get all my rides in before my second eye surgery, which is coming up soon.
Weather permitting, I'm planning a multi-modal ride for my seventh and final Coffeeneuring ride next weekend. If I have time to add an extra rider before my surgery, I will; but I'm not making any promises. I have a couple more bikes to finish working on and some manuscript to write out before my surgery (because afterwards, I won't be able to see clearly for a little while).

But I'm glad the fall weather has been sunny and brisk, and very pleasant to ride in.
Happy riding!

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