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Shaw's could be an art gallery, or a $1 million penthouse loft. The former bank space is a breathtaking architectural marvel, with an honest-to-goodness pressed-tin ceiling, transom windows and a still-intact safe-deposit vault you can sit in while you sip a macchiato. Other Euro-style beverage options include French and Italian bottled sodas and granitas (drinkable Italian ices). Eats are just coffeehouse nibbles and pastries, but the java -- oh, the java! Co-owners Walt Boyle and Gail Maher bring in beans from Kenya, Zimbabwe, Sumatra and other locales, then roast them on-site in a gorgeous old roaster. With décor to die for and a quiet, comfy atmosphere, Shaw's might just be the perfect place to while away an afternoon or to engage in an intimate tête-à-tête.
When the doors are unlocked at 7 a.m., a small cadre of caffeine junkies will already have gathered outside Shaw's Coffee, Ltd. champing at the bit for their morning espressos. Lucky for them Jessica Jarvis is pulling the shots. Open since 1999, Shaw's has thrived in its historic Italian neighborhood -- the Hill, of course, is an area where espresso experts are legion. Jarvis brings to the counter half a lifetime of barista experience: When she was a young girl, her mother opened a... More »
Coffee drinkers know that the closer you are to a cup of coffee, the better, and experienced coffee drinkers know the corollary: The closer the cup of coffee is to you, the better. Now, the Midwest is a fine place to grow a lot of things, but not coffee beans. The bean is nothing before it's roasted, of course, and St. Louis is replete with local roasters. The café that roasts its own beans is reminiscent of another dear departed era, when cities were full of small breweries, some... More »
Shaw's Coffee presents those jonesing for St. Louis' best cup of joe with a true coffee mecca. Instead of bulk bins of pre-roasted beans lining the walls, a roaster dominates the richly accented main room, attesting to the management's dedication to providing the freshest coffee for its discerning clientele. Using green beans imported from the world's principal growing regions, roasters draw out the flavors characteristic of their origins, creating more than twenty roasts in all. (Our... More »
"We're coffee fanatics," proclaims Walt Boyle, referring to himself and Gail Maher, co-owners of Shaw's Coffee Ltd. on the Hill. And what else would you expect from a pair of java junkies other than the richest, most savory cup this side of Bogota? In fact, the far wall is piled with burlap bags stamped with the names of exotic locations -- Sumatra, Kenya, Zimbabwe and others. These bags are not mere props; they contain handpicked coffee beans that have traveled halfway around the world to... More »
Coffee drinkers know that the closer you are to a cup of coffee, the better, and experienced coffee drinkers know the corollary: The closer the cup of coffee is to you, the better. Now, the Midwest is a fine place to grow a lot of things, but not coffee beans. The bean is nothing before it's roasted, of course, and St. Louis is replete with local roasters. The café that roasts its own beans is reminiscent of another dear departed era, when cities were full of small breweries, some that served only a handful of taverns. And that's a good thing. These days we have everything from industrial-size roasters that sell their beans wholesale nationwide to neighborhood joints that serve the community their own robust wake-up brew. Shaw's Coffee, Ltd. falls nearer the latter end of that spectrum: Since 1999 they've roasted their beans in a former bank building on Shaw Avenue. Half the space is dedicated to the coffee shop (the safety deposit box vault is still open — perfect if you want some quiet or privacy), the other half to retail. The beans originate from the usual nations, like Ethiopia, Colombia and New Guinea; each batch is roasted by a specialist according to his ability, each bean roasted to its need. If all of this sounds familiar, it should: Coffee roasting is as much artisan as it is art, and the consistency of the work — that is, to be consistently good — is one of the hallmarks of superior craftsmanship. Ultimately, the proof is in the pudding: If you aren't sure, sit at the café and drink one. It's a fine cup of joe.
Raise a glass to the Cup of Coffee, the engine of industry, the most delicious and gratifying of the minor, reasonably harmless addictions, a feisty little pecker of a pleasure that feels so good on so many levels both physical and psychic --... More »
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