Grab a Cup of Coffee
Grab a cup of coffee

Grab a Cup of Coffee

By Christian Toews
From the March 2021 Biskinik

Nothing says good morning like a cup of coffee. Everyone has a favorite way to enjoy this delicious beverage. A hot cup before work or a warm latte on a snowy day, there is no doubt that Americans love coffee – or at least its caffeine. With the popularity of gourmet coffee, we have come a long way from the cans of Folgers in our grandparent’s cabinets. We now have coffee shops that provide espresso and specialty brews. Some of the country’s best coffee shops are right here in Choctaw Country.

Coffee is popular among Americans. According to the National Coffee Association (NCA), Americans are drinking more coffee than ever. The NCA website states that seven in ten Americans drink coffee every week, and 62% of Americans drink coffee every day. That means that if you are reading this right now, the odds are that you have had a cup of coffee today.

According to the NCA website, the majority of the coffee sold in America are premium beans and espresso-based beverages rather than traditional coffee. Nearly 60% of coffee served in the United States is gourmet (brewed from premium beans). It’s clear that we love specialty coffee.

Good coffee starts with good coffee beans, according to Tammie Johnson, who owns The Coffee Cup in Poteau, Oklahoma. “We source our beans from great local roasters. My main source that I’ve been using for years is Onyx out of northwest Arkansas. They are one of the top coffee roasters in the United States, but they are also known all over the world,” she said.

She said that the difference between using premium coffee beans and a typical cup of coffee is noticeable. “I would compare to a garden-fresh tomato vs. a store-bought tomato,” she said.

Opera House Coffee
Ana Rivera serves a muffin at Opera House Coffee in Durant, Oklahoma.

Shaun and Ami Rawlings, who own Opera House Coffee in Durant, Oklahoma, said that many variables create a good coffee cup. “It’s the details that make it,” said Ami.

“Coffee is mostly water, so you have to have great water. You can make bad coffee with good water, but you’ll never make good coffee with bad water,” Shaun added. “All of our water is ran through a carbon filter, then water softener, and then we have a reverse osmosis system. There should be nothing in the water. The water should just be a blank slate and then let the coffee do its work,” he continued.

If you love coffee, there is good news for you. A recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that among older adults, those who drank coffee (caffeinated or decaf) had a lower risk of dying from diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, and other medical complications than non-coffee drinkers. In the study, scientists concluded that two or more cups of coffee per day equated to a 10% reduction in overall death for men and a 15% reduction in overall death for women when compared with non-coffee drinkers. Researchers say there is a strong association between drinking coffee and living longer.

While the intricacies of making coffee and the health benefits are interesting, most of us love sitting in a coffee shop and enjoying our coffee because of the environment. Tammie Johnson said that her favorite aspect of owning a coffee shop is the atmosphere and the platform for bringing people together. “Having people connect, using this place for work, reading or studying, or just meeting up with people. That’s the best part,” she said.

Shaun and Ami said one of the benefits of going to a locally owned coffee shop is the community and relationships you build. “Here (at Opera House Coffee) being a small town and a big space, you’re building a relationship with the people your meeting, the employees, and you’re always seeing friends that come by,” said Shaun. “I think it’s kind of a neutral zone too. Here people feel comfortable to have meetings and just feel at ease,” said Ami.

One customer at Opera house said that he uses this space to be creative. Jimmy Tran is a freelance videographer and goes to Opera House Coffee to work. “It’s like a little escape for me, creatively. I feel like, especially in mainstream media, coffee shops have become synonymous with creativity. Whether that’s real or not, there’s something about writing, editing, hanging out at a coffee shop that feels vintage yet new, and it just gets the creative flow going,” said Tran.

It doesn’t matter if you are a lifelong native to the area or just passing through. If you are looking for a good cup of coffee and a warm, friendly environment, look no further than right here in Oklahoma. The ten and a half counties of the Choctaw Nation has some great coffee stops featuring specialty coffee. No matter what part of Choctaw Country you are in, coffee is never far away.

Latte Lingo

Latte Lingo

Do you speak coffee? If not, you’re in luck, because we do! Right here in Southeastern Oklahoma, are 10 of the best coffee hot spots to enjoy, and we’re here to help you decipher just what to order. Below is our glossary of common coffee terms and the places to get them!

  1. Red Eye at Sacred Grounds in Antlers, OK
    Red eye coffee is a regular cup of drip coffee with an added shot of espresso in it. Some coffee enthusiasts refer to it as the best of both worlds: coffee and espresso!
  2. Americano at Adam and Eve Coffee in Broken Bow, OK
    Add hot water to your espresso and you have an Americano. Need a drink to wake you up in the morning or an afternoon pick me up? For a special treat, order an Americano with three pumps vanilla and your favorite milk of choice.
  3. Dirty Chai at Okie Girls Coffee & Ice Cream in Broken Bow, OK
    A chai latte is black tea infused with cinnamon, clove and other warming spices. Combine this with steamed milk and top with foam and you’ve got the perfect blend of sweet and spicy. What makes this drink dirty? Adding a shot of espresso.
  4. Nitro Coffee at Blakes Coffee Shop in Durant, OK
    When nitrogen, a colorless, odorless gas, is added to coffee, you get nitro coffee. Like a typical cold brew, nitrogen infused coffee is very smooth and low in acidity. For a nutty taste, try a pump of toffee nut syrup!
  5. Iced Breve at Hot Shots in Durant, OK
    Breve is an espresso-based drink made with steamed half-and-half instead of milk. This produces a very creamy foam. Amplify your order by getting a white chocolate mocha breve or a caramel macchiato breve!
  6. Cortado at Opera House in Durant, OK
    A cortado is an espresso with an equal amount of steamed milk. The steamed milk is just enough to mellow out bitterness of the espresso. Think of it as an espresso ice cream without all the sugar.
  7. Affogato at Hochatown Coffee Central in Hochatown, OK
    An affogato is your perfect go-to summer drink. A scoop of ice-cream with a single or double shot of espresso. Nothing says sweet like a creamy vanilla taste to a bold and dark flavored drink.
  8. London Fog at Punkins Coffee in Idabel, OK
    A London fog is a grey tea latte infused with hints of sweetness and steamed milk. Add some vanilla extract and elevate the drink one step further.
  9. Frappe at Harbor Mountain Coffee House in McAlester, OK
    A frappe is an iced beverage that has been blended and makes a tasty, foamy and refreshing drink. Often served with whipped cream and toppings. Sweeten up your frappe by adding Oreos, caramel, mocha and more!
  10. Hand Pour at The Coffee Cup in Poteau, OK
    A hand pour or hand-drip coffee is a technique that uses a standard coffee drip where water is “poured over” ground coffee. The advantage to hand pour coffee is that the water slowly passes through the grounds, extracting a more rich flavor.

Here in Choctaw County, we’ll keep you caffeinated whether you’re a cold-brew connoisseur or latte lover. Hurry up and slow down, because we have the brew for you!

The Spa at Choctaw Casino and Resort

Girl’s Day in Durant

Hey guys, there’s LOTS of stuff for you to do in Durant! And while you’re busy doing that, here’s what the ladies will be up to:

First, get your strength up for a fun day with a hearty breakfast at Butterfields Buffet or the Grand Café, located in the Choctaw Casino & Resort – Durant! There are so many options, you may spend more time deciding than eating!

Once you’re full and ready, head out for some incredible shopping in Downtown Durant. When you bring this stuff home, everyone will want to know where you got it – but it’s your little secret!

Let’s face it – shopping is a lot of work! So make sure to refuel your stomach by having an amazing lunch at one of the Local bites, like Main Street BBQ, Roadhouse, or Roma’s.

Full of energy again? Good! ‘Cause it’s time for more shopping at The Shops at Choctaw Casino and Resort! Find clothing, shoes, accessories, gifts – pretty much whatever you’re looking for!

Tired yet? Then head over to The Spa at Choctaw Casino and Resort for a relaxing massage, makeover, and Mani/Pedi!

Concert at The Grand Theater

Now that you look incredible, it’s time for a night nut with the girls! Head to dinner at 1832 Steakhouse for some of the best food in the area, followed by a great concert at The Grand Theater!

And then, of course – there’s always the casino! Hit, stay, play all day!