If you’re wondering where WestVirginiaVille’s roving home office is on any given day, one place to check is the new nameless coffeeshop at the corner of Lee and Morris streets which opened recently in Charleston, W.Va. Actually, it does have a name — Moxxee Coffee. But in one of those post-modern operational twists more suited to a shop in Tribeca or along the Naviglio Grande Canal in Milan, the name (which the owners say is a Native American word for ‘black water’) cannot be found either on the outside or inside of the establishment. Instead, a brushed steel, stylized depiction of two circular goats hangs outside. Which is why I started calling the place ‘the Two Goats Cafe’ when I initially could not recall the name of the place — and the place wasn’t helping me recall it once I got there.
But know this: Moxxee/Two Goats has flat out the best cappuccino certainly anywhere in Charleston, possibly in all of West Virginia (Lost Dog Coffee in Shepherdstown, W.Va., home of the quadruple shot, is the only remote contender). I’d go so far as to say, after two visits, that their cappuccinos are as good as any I’ve had in Little Italy, real Italy and, well, Seattle. Unlike the sea change at Starbucks a few years back, which no longer hand-pulls each individual espresso and has become the MacDonalds of same-old same-old cappuccinos, the Moxx-ites hand-pull each coffee and it’s as strong and rich as can be. I haven’t tried the exotic teas yet, but I will once I start going to ‘Espresso Anonymous’ meetings and take the first step and admit that I have a problem.
The logo, as Julie Robinson explains in her Nov. 8, 2011 Charleston Gazette profile of the place below, features two Ethiopian Ibex goats. It’s a nod to the legend that coffee was discovered by a goat-herding friar whose animals got frisky after nibbling some wild coffee beans. The friar took the cue, roasted the beans and as a result today we have an economy that would grind shudderingly to a halt if American workers failed to reach their coffee cups before 9 a.m. Or so the coffee legend goes.
This friar’s tale recalls the far more fantastic legend of the origin of strong, caffeinated tea, which legend has it came about as a result of the 5th century Buddhist monk Boddhidharma’s decision to meditate facing the wall of cave for nine yeas. He fell asleep seven years into the nine years and — peeved with being such a pantywaist — cut off his eyelids to prevent it from happening again. As this Wikipiedia entry goes on to explain: “As his eyelids hit the floor, the first tea plants sprang up; and thereafter tea would provide a stimulant to help keep students of Chán awake during meditation.” Which, by the way, explains why artists depict the monk with bulging eyes.
But, really, a good espresso will accomplish exactly the same thing as tearing off your eyelids without all the social consequences.
Here’s more on Moxxee:
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — T.J. Baldwin, his two brothers and two friends just wanted a good cup of coffee. In their extensive travels, they’d developed a taste for “third wave” coffee, but couldn’t find any in Charleston.
For the record, first wave coffee is something served at diners and restaurants that appeals to the masses. It’s been around forever. Second wave is coffee served at places like Starbucks. Third wave is vaguely defined as coffee made from beans purchased in small batches from coffee farms and individually brewed for each customer.
“We had coffee at a small shop in Toronto and asked ourselves why Charleston doesn’t have coffee like this,” Baldwin said. “When we had friends visit us from out of town, we couldn’t take them out for a good cup of coffee …” | READ ON