Posted by: literallydelicious | March 17, 2010

Here in Topeca

I’m not one of those people who have always need a cup of java to get going in the morning. In fact, I distinctly remember having one — count ’em, one — cup of coffee in the first 90% of my life. We’d gone to Silver Dollar City and gotten soaked on the water ride. When we went to eat after, it was so cold in the restaurant that the waitresses took pity on my son and niece, who were about 3 and 6, I think, and scrounged up towels to wrap around them. There were no towels for the adults, so I tried a cup of blistering coffee. It helped get me warm, but as far as taste, it was like drinking a mug of nasty water.

Last year the day job required me to do some research on coffee. About the same time, my niece came back from a year in El Salvador with gifts of coffee beans for us all. Might as well do some actual tasting instead of just reading about it, right? So I got my husband to grind some beans and brew me a cup of Salvadoran coffee, figuring it couldn’t be as bad as my one previous experience.

It was incredible. I fell in love with the Manzano blend from Topeca — a bit of a concern, considering the bag was only twelve ounces and El Salvador was a looong way to go for a refill. I got online and checked out the company’s website, and there were the magic words: at that time the only place in the U.S. to buy their coffee was a little roastery in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Not even twenty miles from our house. How cool is that?

I’ll never be a big coffee drinker. One cup every few days is enough. For me it’s not a drink so much as a treat. I like to brew a cup, get the sweetener and cream exactly the way I like, sit back in the quiet and savor it.

If you’re not lucky enough to have a niece who drops in on El Salvador, or to live near the roastery, Cafe de El Salvador ( 115 West 5th Street, in the old/new Mayo Hotel) in downtown Tulsa or near Petty’s Foods in Utica Square, where I hear they now sell it, maybe you can order it online. Because, believe me, it’s worth the effort.



  1. Love the coffee! But then, I knew I would. I need coffee every morning. EVERY.
    There’s a restaurant in Utica Square near Petty’s called Cafe de El Salvador? I’ll have to check it out. Have you eaten there?

    • I’m not familiar with one in Utica Square. The restaurant where the roastery is is on the ground floor of the Mayo, and I’ve had their chocolate-covered strawberries and some of their pastries — wonderful. There’s also a little Salvadoran place on Sheridan, I think, that I’ve been meaning to try. They have pupuas (I’m sure I misspelled that), which my niece made for us when she came back home. Made with beans, cheese, with a really different salsa. I made them once and my first two were unrecognizable. The third one looked pretty good, but I cheated. (You’re supposed to make the flour fat-tortilla-like outside, then work it into a solid piece around the filling. I wound up making a sort of pancake, put the filling on it, then topped it with another pancake. But even the ugly ones tasted great.

  2. Marilyn,

    I’m not a coffee drinker. I love the smell, the ice cream, candies, etc. But coffee disagrees with me. I’m a big tea drinker. You’re going to have to give us your thoughts on loose versus bagged, and what your favorite blends are. Those I will go out and buy to try. spw

    • Ooh, ooh, my former agent sent me a loose-tea basket as a get-well gift last year, and I loved it. I’ve still got the tins, so I’ll have to make this a topic one day soon.

      I will say, no matter what kind of tea I’m drinking, I think it’s better loose. Even just cutting open the bag and pouring the tea into an infuser makes even the cheap stuff taste better.

      In South Carolina, all my Southern friends made a simple syrup, then steeped the tea. I don’t do it often, but mint tea made that way will always be one of my special treats.

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