Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Charleston Edition: Moxxee Coffee

I've heard of Moxxee. Apparently it's a hip little coffee place in Charleston that is fairly new (and highly anticipated up until that point). I'm nowhere near an expert on coffee. If you want that, you check out this blog. However, I follow a few Charleston friends on Twitter who seem to enjoy this place, so we decided to make a pitstop and get some mid-afternoon work done.

The outside resembled a bar to me, with some shiny silver astrological-looking sign out front. It's actually two goats (I'm a Capricorn), and is supposed to represent the origin of coffee.

"According to legend, coffee was discovered by a friar who was herding goats. Some of the goats that were grazing in the same area became rambunctious. They were eating coffee beans and getting a shot of caffeine. The friar harvested the beans and the practice of roasting them evolved." (Charleston Gazette)

I couldn't find the name Moxxee anywhere on the building; I didn't even know that's where we were until my friend pointed it out. I guess Moxxee is Native American for "black water." There is some parking and some outside dining, which is cool. Apparently a few of the windows on the side open up to enhance that indoor/outdoor dining feeling. When we walked in, though, every table, except one, was taken up. And that one had just opened up as someone left. I noticed on the outside of the door that it said max 15 people inside.

It's very small inside, with a few individual tables, some booth-like setup, some more comfy chairs over by the side, and a circular bar area in the center. It's a concrete floor, with metal chairs and gives off a minimalist feel. There was a cool TV screen hanging up where we were sitting that looked interactive. Apparently this little coffee shop is a third-wave coffee shop:

"For the record, first wave coffee is something served at diners and restaurants that appeals to the masses. It's been around forever. Second wave is coffee served at places like Starbucks. Third wave is vaguely defined as coffee made from beans purchased in small batches from coffee farms and individually brewed for each customer." (Charleson Gazette)

I do like its focus on the culture: they make individual espressos and cappuccinos from coffee beans from around the world. The countries are listed on the beans. The process takes longer, as each cup is individual, and the types of coffees are always changing.

While some tasty-looking pastries dotted the counter, I only wanted something small. I didn't really need the extra caffeine boost, so I opted for their "100 calorie Milk & Honey Burst" under specialty and cold drinks. I made sure it said nothing about espresso or java or anything. I wanted something easy. $3 later, I tasted it, and it was strong as could be. I tasted the top foam and threw the rest away. Maybe that's a waste. But it wasn't what I was expecting, it was overpowering, and I felt an instant headache coming on after my first sip.

Maybe it's my fault for not clarifying. Maybe it's their fault for not mentioning any trace of java under that description. Whatever the case may be, I'm not sure I want to spend that much for something I didn't entirely enjoy in a cramped area with lots of young kids sitting there, as some sort of status symbol. Or maybe I'm not the coffee culturist. Either way, if you're young, like the appearance, don't mind being a little squished, but could maybe get a great cup of joe, if that's what you're into, this is your place.

Grade: C
Moxxee Coffee on Urbanspoon