A cocktail coffee in the park

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Yes, you read that headline correctly: a cocktail coffee, not a coffee cocktail. 

I'm talking about Story Coffee Company's Coffee Old Fashioned, a superb drink with deep molasses notes, which subs coffee in place of the whiskey in a typical Old Fashioned. It's made with a cold brew coffee mixed with Fee Brothers orange bitters and a maple simple syrup garnished with orange peel and a cherry. 

Looks like a boozy drink, sips like a refreshing iced coffee. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Looks like a boozy drink, sips like a refreshing iced coffee.

Barista and co-owner Carissa Niemyer says not every coffee would work in the drink, and that this particular Guatemalan bean roasted by Brio Coffeeworks pairs perfectly because it provides a smooth chocolatey base. "It definitely needs a Latin American bean," she adds, noting that the coffee goes in at the same ratio as whiskey would in the cocktail.  

I'm telling you about this drink specially because A) it's amazing and B) it'll only be on the menu for another couple of weeks before it rotates out to make room for another cocktail-inspired coffee drink. So get it now because we don't know when it'll come back around again. 
The walk-up window if you don't care to go in. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The walk-up window if you don't care to go in.

If you're new to Story, we began our story with them here last November, talking about tiny house culture colliding with third wave culture. We met Carissa and her husband Don and business partners Brandon and Kelly Noffsinger, learning of respective cross-country tours to taste the best coffees around. 

Story had been set up on the north side of Acacia Park during Skate in the Park's seasonal hours, and only recently pinned down a unique contract with the City's Parks and Rec department to stay in the park more permanently, relocated to just behind the band shell, facing Bijou Street. 

A tiny house business in the heart of downtown. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • A tiny house business in the heart of downtown.

Some outdoor seating is coming soon, as is a special Friday night dessert night from 6 to 9, tentatively, starting in April. 

We got a small taste of sweetness today with an excellent and lavishly creamy vanilla latte, made with a half-ounce of Monin syrup added to a 70-30 blend of Mexican and Ethiopian coffee, handled by Bespoken Coffee Roasters

A vanilla latte, creamy and under-sweet. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • A vanilla latte, creamy and under-sweet.


If you've gleaned that we were pretty enchanted by our visit today, you're correct. I joked with Carissa that there's a high level of expectation that goes into a drink made by a barista who has judged for the U.S. Barista Championship. With that bullet point on her resume, the bar's set high for standards, and the results show with beautifully executed drinks. 

This is embarrassing, but we got so caught up chatting, snapping photos and touring around the tiny house that we walked out without remember to pay. I called Don the moment I realized and apologized profusely. The funnier part is that he says "it happens all the time — we take it as a compliment." (I've since dispatched a colleague to settle the debt, who was already in search of a mid-day coffee.)

Not that he wants you to dine and dash, so to speak, but he interprets peoples' spaciness with them being so comfortable around the business and feeling welcomed. I told him there's likely a similarity to my situation, in which people get somewhat captivated and distracted. Plus, Carissa warmly started making our drinks before ever passing over a tablet to swipe our card or anything: coffee experience first, business later. 

Anyhoo, while I had Don on the line, he wished to credit Robin Pasley with the interior-design job on Story's trailer. "She took all our ideas and brought a cohesion to the final design," he says. 

On that note, take a look: 

Co-owner Carissa Niemyer has also judged for the  U.S. Barista Championship. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Co-owner Carissa Niemyer has also judged for the U.S. Barista Championship.

The current menu, which will switch over soon. Each time the roasters utilized will sub out, and a new signature drink will star. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The current menu, which will switch over soon. Each time the roasters utilized will sub out, and a new signature drink will star.

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