Zinc Coffee

I’m a sucker for windows. I crave natural light. Anywhere I go, I immediately seek out a spot near a window.

 

I especially need to be near one when writing. Being able to peer at the ever-shifting clouds, watch the movement of the wind through the trees, or follow the graceful flight of a flock of birds helps to spark a thought or two whenever I experience writer’s block.

 

 

So does coffee. Not just any coffee. Watery brown liquid mixed from powder will not do. I need the strong stuff, an elixir that is carefully crafted and not haphazardly mixed.

 

And when I drink delicious coffee while bathed in natural light, my soul sings.

 

Zinc Coffee is one place where I can capture this feeling.

 

 

The garage doors of this former service station have been converted into windows that reach from the ceiling to about a foot above the floor, allowing natural light to dance over the simple elements of the interior: the rough concrete floor, the warm, honey-colored wooden tables and chairs, and the crisp, white brick walls.

 

 

The effect is an environment that appears clean, bright, and cheerful, even on the gloomiest of days; a perfect spot in which to enjoy a thoughtfully crafted beverage.

 

 

The Drinks

 

Like the decor, the drink menu here is simple. The focus here is on the quality of the coffee itself, and Zinc uses beans from Onyx Coffee Lab, a Arkansas roaster, and Archetype Coffee, based in Omaha.

 

 

In addition to espressos and lattes, Zinc offers drip coffee and pour-overs. Pour-overs are individually made by pouring hot water over ground coffee in filter-lined cups. Pour-overs bring out the subtle flavors of the coffee, making them a great option for coffee connoisseurs with highly discerning palates.

 

I’d never tried a pour-over before, so I ordered the Ethiopia Bishan Fugu at Zinc which, according to the pour-over menu, presents subtle notes of lime, Concord grape, kombucha, and dark chocolate.

 

I was able to identify the taste of dark chocolate (I can recognize chocolate in anything), but that was the only flavor my unskilled taste buds could distinguish. I guess I’m used to my coffee flavors shouting at me rather than being delicate.

 

I found the robust quality that I crave in Zinc’s Lavender Latte, which was accented with a touch of herbal sweetness.

 

 

My husband Travis tried one of Zinc’s creative seasonal drinks, the Campfire Cappuccino. This dreamy cool-weather drink, served with torched marshmallows,  is made by soaking honey graham crackers in steamed milk to extract the flavor, then adding white and dark chocolate.

 

 

The staff here treats coffee like a science, and the Campfire Cappuccino is one of its successful lab experiments.

 

If dairy isn’t your thing, you can choose oat or almond milk to put in your coffee instead. If you’re watching your caffeine intake, you can order decaf espresso. If you prefer to have something besides coffee, Zinc offers loose leaf Rishi Tea, matcha drinks, smoothies, and golden lattes (made with tumeric, ginger, and steamed milk).

 

 

There’s also a small selection of pastries to snack on, as well as a variety of Mylk Labs oatmeal. And if you want a cross between a meal and a cup of coffee, try the decadent coffee shake.

 

 

The Space

 

Zinc opened in 2018 on Joplin’s historic Main Street.

 

 

Being housed in a former service station adds character to the interior. There’s the main room, the converted body shop, where you go to place your order. It’s filled with ample seating.

 

Next to that is a smaller room (the old office/waiting room, perhaps?) that contains more seating, as well as the barista counter – the coffee lab.

 

 

 

In the rear of the building, there’s an additional room that’s available to book.

 

 

Zinc is an excellent venue for meetings, study groups, or for mobile workers, like me. You can place your order at the counter, get the password for the secure Wi-Fi, then find a seat and start your meeting or project. Someone will bring your drink to you. Not having to wait at the counter for your individually crafted beverage is a nice perk of choosing Zinc.

 

 

Additional Perks

Fur babies are welcome at Zinc, too. Bring them with you inside the coffee shop, or let them lounge next to you under the covered patio when the weather is nice.

 

If you’re short on time, you can always grab a coffee from the drive-through, which is actually a door that your server will come through to take your order.

 

 

The drive-through process, as well as the parking situation, can be a bit confusing for a first-timer, so here’s a map that illustrates both.

 

 

Another question you may have is, “Why the name Zinc?” It’s a name that pays homage to the mineral that was mined in the area a century ago, and which brought prosperity to Joplin’s economy and helped construct our city.

 

Today, Zinc Coffee serves the fuel that sustains Joplin’s most important modern resource.

 

Its people.

 

 

Zinc Coffee is located at 1825 S. Main Street. Click here to visit its website, here to follow it on Facebook, and here to follow it on Instagram.

 

To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.

The Coffee Shop at Joplin Greenhouse

Have you ever experienced such outstanding customer service that you feel like you’ve stepped into an alternate reality?

 

Like when you’re greeted by someone who flashes a warm smile, makes direct eye contact, and engages with you in such a familiar way that you begin to think that perhaps that person has mistaken you for someone else – like a regular customer, or the boss’ sister?

 

But after a quick glance around, you realize that you’re the only person standing in line.

 

So… you must be the recipient of this VIP treatment.

 

It’s somewhat discombobulating, but yet oh-so-wonderful, to be regarded more like a human being than just a customer, isn’t it?

 

This is what it feels like every time I go to The Coffee Shop at Joplin Greenhouse.

 

greenhouse entrance

In addition to its exceptional customer service, The Coffee Shop also offers quality local products (including coffee, of course), inventive menu items, and lots of greenery (hello, nature!), making it one of my favorite places to go to meet with friends or to get some writing done.

 

greenhouse facade

Opened in September 2018, The Coffee House shares a building with Joplin Greenhouse, and is located in front of the Food for Less store on 32nd Street.

 

greenhouse counter

The interior of the shop looks like the work of HGTV’s Joanna Gaines, with its stained concrete floors, exposed ductwork, corrugated metal focal walls, black and white tiles, and, yes, shiplap.

 

greenhouse sign and counter

This industrial look is softened by a multitude of plants (courtesy of Joplin Greenhouse) that are spaced throughout the shop, and on a living wall – in front of which there is a selfie station that my daughter and I had fun using (see our Instagram boomerang at the end of this post).

 

greenhouse photo booth

Feel like you’re outdoors while you sip your coffee at one of the tables next to the koi pond created by Inside Out Designs.

 

greenhouse inside out

Or, when the weather is warm enough, physically go outdoors and sit at one of The Coffee Shop’s covered tables.

 

greenhouse outside

Local is the focus here, and The Coffee Shop proudly serves coffee from Bearded Lady Coffee Roasters and Cottage Small Coffee Roasters, as well as Kansas City’s Hugo Tea Co. products.

 

greenhouse menu

In addition to the regular beverage menu, there are special drinks each month, like the festive Eggnog Shooter, or refreshing iced Ozark Stinger, sweetened with local honey.

 

greenhouse monthly menu

Over the winter, I got hooked on the Dark Chocolate Cortado drink special, made with Bearded Lady espresso, Ozark Mountain Creamery chocolate milk, and dark chocolate pieces (finding the chocolate at the bottom of the cup is like discovering a treasure!).

 

greenhouse cortado

Even though the Dark Chocolate Cortado is not on the regular menu, the staff will gladly make it upon request – another sign of excellent customer service.

 

To go with your coffee, try The Coffee Shop’s unique offering: the puffle, a soft, lightly sweet puffed waffle. Fill it with ice cream for a sweet treat, or choose the savory Breakfast Puffle any time of the day; it’s filled with bacon, egg, cheese, guacamole, Sriracha sauce, and maple syrup, and delivers a salty, sweet, savory mixture of flavors.

 

greenhouse puffle

I’ve also tried the Avocado Toast special here, which is served with tangy feta cheese crumbles, and fiery Sriracha sauce.

 

greenhouse avocado

If you’re hankering for some baked goods, sample a macaron, cupcake, or cookie made by local baker Maggie Brown of Willis Baking. Always committed to encouraging local entrepreneurs, The Coffee Shop has opened its kitchen for Maggie to use so that she can access the resources she needs in order to grow her business.

 

greenhouse pastries

This movement to support local businesses is not new to Curt Carr, the owner of Joplin Greenhouse. Prior to opening The Coffee Shop, he operated The Marketplace in the same space, carrying local and organic produce, meats, and other goods (read about it here).  He continues that tradition by selling local goods at The Coffee Shop.

 

greenhouse local goods

Curt hit the jackpot when he hired Adam Lopardo, and his wife Ivy – both former Starbucks employees – to run The Coffee Shop. Prior to working at The Coffee Shop, Adam honed his barista skills by completing the Starbuck’s Coffee Master program, but it was his time at Best Buy that taught him something equally valuable. There, he worked in the Geek Squad, hiring employees who demonstrated good customer service skills first, and then training them on information technology.

 

Adam has applied that same model at The Coffee Shop. He does not hire baristas; rather, he hires people who radiate hospitality, and then he trains them in the art of coffee-making.

 

Because you can teach employees to make a good cup of coffee, but you can’t teach them to care about the customers.

 

Lucky for us, at The Coffee Shop, they do both.

 

 

The Coffee Shop at Joplin Greenhouse is located at 2820 E. 32nd Street. Click here to visit its website, and here to follow it on Facebook.

 

To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.

Caroline’s

Pirate’s Plunder.

 

Superman.

 

Tizzy Lizzy.

 

These sound like names of amusement park rides that would make your belly flop.

 

But last week, these names carried a different meaning for us. These are the names of ice creams and sweet treats at Caroline’s, and they made our bellies full, not flop.

 

My daughters and I kicked off the first week of summer break by engaging in our yearly ritual of celebrating the no-school season by going out for ice cream. This year, my girls picked Caroline’s, an ice cream, candy, and coffee shop in Joplin’s downtown district.

 

sweet carolines facade2

Located on the main floor of the historic Gryphon building, this ice cream parlor opened in June 2014. Owner Michael Joseph named it after his daughter, Caroline (the shop was initially called Sweet Caroline’s but is now simply Caroline’s – although it is still sweet).

 

sweet carolines counter1

The focus of Caroline’s is to offer an old-fashioned parlor experience, and to do so they serve Ice Cream Club ice cream, a premium parlor ice cream from Florida. There are 32 Ice Cream Club flavors that rotate at Caroline’s.

 

My youngest daughter was immediately attracted to the vibrant red, yellow, and blue flavor called Superman (which actually has a vanilla flavor).

 

sweet carolines superman1

While I was busy ordering for my other girls, she went to town on her cone, and the next time I saw her she looked like this.

 

sweet carolines superman2

My oldest daughter created an eclectic combination of triple-rich Captain’s Chocolate and Rainbow Sherbet, which is swirled with fruity orange, raspberry, and lime flavors.

 

sweet carolines choc sherbet

My middle daughter – the chocolate addict of the bunch – chose a scoop of Pirate’s Plunder, a chocolate ice cream with chocolate-covered pecans and mini caramel cups swirled together with thick caramel. She topped that off with a scoop of Stellar Coffee (the only kind of coffee I allow her to have), which is a coffee ice cream that contains mini dark chocolate-covered coffee cups and a rich fudge.

 

sweet carolines plunder coffee

I didn’t hear from her for quite a while as she worked her way through her iced confectionery tower. Meanwhile, I ordered an espresso to give me the energy to keep up with my kids (and their impending sugar highs) for the rest of the day.

 

Caroline’s serves Onyx Coffee, a gourmet roaster located in northwest Arkansas.

 

carolines onyx

The 3 bags on the left have black Onyx logos on them, which apparently don’t photograph well…

 

If you like adding milk to your coffee, Caroline’s offers a variety of options; traditional dairy products like milk, half-and-half, and heavy whipping cream; coconut milk, almond milk, and soy milk.

 

While my espresso was brewing, I browsed through the candy case to find some treats to bring home to my husband (I’m kidding – they were for my private stash). I chose a dark chocolate sea salt caramel, a RumChata truffle, Kahlua truffle, and some candy bark called Tizzy Lizzy.

 

sweet carolines chocolate

If chocolate isn’t your thing (well, I guess we can’t be friends, then), there are many other types of candy to choose from, like fudge…

…gummies…

 

…Jelly Belly candies…

 

…and a variety of confections that you can mix and match.

 

And if sugar isn’t your thing because of dietary restrictions, no worries. Caroline’s has something for you, too.

 

carolines keto

Each week, local baker Desserts First supplies the shop with a variety of keto-friendly treats that taste so good, you’ll feel like you’re eating the real sugar-and-carb-loaded things. Do yourself a favor and try the lemon cupcake – your taste buds will be wowed.

 

sweet carolines painting

Caroline’s also offers birthday parties in the shop, and provides off-site catering. Plus, it’s open daily, so my ice cream, coffee, chocolate, and candy cravings can be satisfied seven days a week.

 

Sweet.

 

 

Caroline’s is located at 1027 South Main Street in downtown Joplin. Click here to visit its website.

 

To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.

Joplin Avenue Coffee Company

Friends was a popular TV show when I was in college, and I’ve always wanted to hang out with my own friends at a place as cool as Central Perk.

 

I recently found that place, and it’s called Joplin Avenue Coffee Company.

 

The second I stepped inside this coffee shop, I felt hip. The interior is an eclectic mix of local art, festive twinkling lights, and whimsical vintage items (like coffee pots and a retro TV – you know, the kind where you have to change the channel manually).

 

coffee jac front

The place was abuzz with activity, yet it was still quiet inside. People were either working on their laptops or talking to each other in hushed tones.

 

JACC’s extensive menu is written in colored chalk on a board behind the counter; there’s a variety of latte drinks with playful names like the Lucky Leprechaun, as well as non-espresso drinks (great treats for kids), smoothies, teas, and regular old joe.

 

coffee menu

I ordered the Marilyn, one of JACC’s most popular lattes. The combination of white mocha and sweet caramel went down smoothly, and instantly warmed me up. I also enjoyed crunching on the chocolate-covered espresso bean that was served with my drink – what a fun treat with my coffee.

 

I ordered a chai tea latte for my husband (he doesn’t drink coffee – weird, right?), and it had a nice balance of cream and spice.

 

After fueling up at the counter, JACC customers can find a spot to plug in and enjoy free wi-fi. There are tables in the sunny front room, plus this single table in this incredible nook.

 

coffee nook

There’s also a large room in the back that has lounge seating (perfect for conversing), and high tables near electrical outlets (perfect for studying and working).

 

coffee wifi

The focal point in the back room is this bar – a curious site in a coffee shop.

 

coffee bar

Apparently, this back room is used when JACC hosts private parties and concerts (click here to see what’s happening on JACC’s Facebook page).

 

With its hip, relaxed atmosphere and steady flow of regular customers, JACC is Joplin’s Central Perk.

 

 

Joplin Avenue Coffee Company is located at 506 S. Joplin Avenue. Click here to see its Facebook page.

 

To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.