YXE Coffee Club boldly documents our local caffeine culture
A few years ago I had an idea of doing a coffee crawl. Similar to a pub crawl in that participants wander to different bars in the noble pursuit of getting shit-canned, I figured it was far too early in the afternoon to get belligerent on beer.
Instead I was going to caffeinate myself at every establishment on Broadway that sold coffee and document the exercise in zine format.
It almost worked.
Broadway has some very nice cafés, restaurants and bars. But after my first scaldlingly-hot latte I couldn’t discern between tastes. Furthermore, Broadway also has some tip-top gas stations, which are similarly known for their coffee. By the time I made it to 8th Street I was a shaky, greasy mess.
Tellingly, the clerk at the Co-Op wouldn’t even serve me.
“I think that guy’s drunk,” he whispered to his co-worker.
Defeated, I went home and threw up a bunch and lay in bed until the next morning, which was coloured by a wicked caffeine hangover. Excess may be a bad idea but it rarely boring.
Saskatoon has changed a lot since then, and the coffee has only gotten better and more potent. And the YXE Coffee Club has been boldly documenting our city’s growing caffeine culture via every social media tool at our disposal.
On the Club’s Instagram site we get a glimpse of the immaculate art and atmosphere that goes into every local latte. But there’s more to it than just keeping awake, says Club founder Mike Morien.
“There is a lot of innovation and collaboration that happens when people sit down in these cafés and they become the information centre of those areas. Part of the baristas’ job is to know their clientele and what they do for a living – I’ve seen baristas connect those people to other people and I think it’s really interesting.
“I think the education behind the coffee and where it comes from is important.”
The blog features some good reading material, including information on how to brew coffee as well as mapping where good coffee can be found in Sasaktoon. And while the photos of local cafés are the primary focus, Morien similarly travels across the province and documents every small town coffee shop he finds – after all, urban or rural, our collective love of caffeine may be our one uniting factor.
In addition to the usual blog-type stuff – Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc. – Morien is hoping to expand into a printed magazine.
“I’m hoping to get a wide variety of collaboration from other coffee enthusiasts. And obviously I’m hoping talking to the people who make coffee and anything else that is associated with it.”