Sapulpa is now offering something it hasn’t had in over a century—fresh-roasted coffee.
Crossroads Coffee Lab, located inside of what they’re calling the Crossroads Cookery—a restaurant in downtown Sapulpa slated to open in spring or summer of 2022—has been roasting coffee beans at a steady rate for the last three weeks. For Jacob Birdwell, the Restaurant Operations Director for The Kante Group, parent owner of Crossroads, it’s a dream come true.
“It’s the realization of a 5-year dream for me,” Birdwell said. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do since we opened up a shop here, and the fact that we held off, we waited until we knew we could put out a great product, it’s really exciting.”
Birdwell and his wife Brianna also own CTX Coffee, which is almost directly across the street from the roaster, and a big customer of Crossroads. Birdwell says it’s a great match because it allows them to get exactly the kinds of blends they want, which isn’t always the case when purchasing from an outside distributor.
“You can say you want Columbian coffee, but there are thousands of farms in Columbia,” Birdwell said. “So we’ve chosen five different farms, including [ones from] Columbia and El Salvador, and others.” He says this allows them to get a good variety and create new blends—something they’ll need as they start selling packaged beans to the public. The first batch to be sold was a special “Christmas Blend,” which had cute characteristics such as listing the origin as “North Pole,” and the process as “Elf Washed,” and describing the blend as “Merry, Bright, Christmas Cheer.”
Of course, the best part of the whole package is at the bottom: “Roasted in Sapulpa, Oklahoma.”
The beans—as well as other products for the coffee connoisseur or homebrew enthusiast—are now available for sale at CTX Coffee (114 E Dewey) and at SeneStyle (18 N Park), another Kante-owned retailer in Sapulpa. Birdwell says there are two more blends that are going to be available soon: The Highway Blend, named for the store’s location on the famous Route 66, which Birdwell says will be a good home brewing coffee. “A little fruity, but not overpowering,” he says. The other is called The Real McCoy, which, just as its name implies, is described as a “good, traditional, dark roast.”
The roaster itself, a San Franciscan SF-25, is an environmentally-friendly machine that bills itself as a “small-batch coffee roaster,” but is still capable of roasting 100lbs of beans per hour. A combination of modern technology and handmade beauty, the roaster looks more like a classic muscle car with its brilliant blue sheen and victorian-era brass. And it’s made like an American muscle car as well. “We chose these guys because they’ve been around a long time, and they’re U.S.-based,” Birdwell said. “All their parts are American-made.”
Birdwell says the roaster is a game-changer for CTX Coffee. “It expands CTX from Sapulpa to the world,” he said.
According to Birdwell, Crossroads Coffee Lab is also planning to offer subscription boxes with roasted coffee, and they’ll be partnering with CTX to offer coffee brewing classes. Details about those are supposed to be released soon.
There’s not a lot known about the coffee roasting industry in Sapulpa. The earliest-known coffee roaster in the town is depicted in a photo at the Sapulpa Historical Society Museum, proudly advertising Sapulpa Coffee Co. as “Roasters and Grinders of Highest Grade of Coffee” from a horse-drawn cart with products on display like an old-west elixir salesman. Though the photo doesn’t have a date on it, it’s estimated to be from the early 1900s.