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