I stand wide-eyed as Jeff, co-owner of Fair Fellow Coffee Co, takes my coffee order. I think about it a moment and instantly know what I want. I’m going for a Cortado, a coffee brewed with an Ethiopian amaro gayo natural bean.
The flavor is unique with a hint of blueberry that holds the richness of the bean with each sip you take. I sit down in a sort of introspective bliss.
By the time I’m done, I understand a little better about what makes the perfect cup of coffee: the knack of brewing perfection has to be born out of the right type of bean and roasting technology. Absent that fusion, there’s no way to tap the hidden flavor of the bean to reach coffee nirvana.
Oh, and there has to be plenty of love in the process…yes, that’s right, love. After all, chemistry is just chemistry until it meets the sublime. In the same way, Java is just java, until it’s infused with the right amount of culinary amore.
At Fair Fellow Coffee Co, the new coffee house in the historic Kendall Whittier District, coffee making is the perfect blend of art and science with a double dose of loving care. The shop is a micro-roastery and specializes in direct trade, single-origin coffee.
The shop, open 7am – 7pm Mon – Thursday and 7am – 8pm Fri – Sat, roasts its own coffee beans on site every single day. Fair Fellow Coffee donates a pound of food to a local food bank for every pound of coffee it sells.
I recently got to talk with Andrew Unruh, co-owner of Fair Fellow Coffee Co, about his relentless search for coffee roasting perfection. He said he gained inspiration from his journey through a few too many bad cups of coffee growing up. When he finally tried a cup of the real, gourmet stuff, something was sparked within that caused the needed thrust to launch his own brand. That’s where the idea ofFair Fellow Coffee Co was born.
“Coffee is meant to be mysterious, it’s a journey with no arrival that keeps you searching.”
And, it’s that very search that defines Fair Fellow Coffee’s mission (and what gets Andrew out of bed in the morning): one can’t just manhandle or over lord the coffee roasting process; he has to gently entice the coffee beans to take on the flavors they were grown and processed to take on. Most coffee roasters drum roast, but Fair Fellow Coffee air roasts their beans, a technique that is clean and yet preserves the clarity of their God given flavor. Andrew sees his purpose as bringing out the “personality” of the bean and lovingly coaxing it to perfection without diluting its essence.
Andrew laughs that he has even been known to whisper to his beans. Somehow I can believe it. He is an exceptional roaster, of course, and you don’t become one unless you come to believe in the ethereal essence of your art. Whether the beans talk back is another story, but they certainly have something to say as you sip the nuanced flavor of the coffee and scent its stellar aroma.
It’s easy to see why Fair Fellow Coffee Co is making such a big noise in Tulsa’s specialty coffee community along with the entire Kendall Whittier District, the area just east of downtown that has become one of Tulsa’s trendiest spots for entrepreneurs and artists. There’s no better roastery in Tulsa and there’s something so unique and honest about the business model; it just makes me feel good sitting and relaxing with a cup.
“Fair Fellow Coffee Co. is a great addition to the neighborhood. We’re proud to note it’s the 17th new business to open in Kendall Whittier since January 2013. Kendall Whittier is emerging as a place where creative people want to be, whether that’s visiting the local shops or opening a business of their own.”
Ed Sharrer, the Executive Director of the Kendall Whittier District
When you go to Fair Fellow Coffee Co (on several visits, of course), you’ll want to be sure and try a variety of coffees such as their espressos and pour overs. And, don’t be afraid to ask questions; talking with Andrew is like getting your own personal coffee maharishi with advice on various grinds, roasts and methods of brewing. Service is laid back yet enthusiastic and the coffee, well, the best in the area.
Coffee aficionados will love the huge variety of opulent roasts, which I can’t do justice to in this small article. And, don’t forget the baking goods either. Fair Fellow Coffee lovingly serves delicacies such as granola bars, espresso macaroons and other baking products from the Bake Shop Tulsa, another local favorite.
My love for the corner coffee shop has just reached a whole new level of joy.