Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My Weekend Gem: IBOP Coffee Company

I was back in my hometown of Dallas this weekend in Northeastern Pennsylvania. My cousin's graduation party was on Saturday so, my sister and I drove north Friday evening and made a weekend out of it at our father's house. I made a point to run out on my lunch break Friday and stock up on some travel packs of raw almond butter and organic fruits and veggies. (The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area is not exactly brimming with organic options and I've yet to convert my father, so I knew I had to come prepared!) I packed a little cooler with two greenks, pre-cut veggies, homemade hummus and organic teas and fruits and almond butter. My dog doesn't sleep well in other people's homes which means neither do I. So, I woke up Saturday morning tired and wanting coffee, despite recently giving it up cold turkey - I knew that was a bad idea! (Just kidding, I'm actually experiencing amazing results from kicking my dependence on caffeine.) Anyway, we like to take a spin class as a family Saturday mornings whenever we're in town - a newer tradition that I have really come to love. I hadn't thought to bring any organic decaf with me, so I jumped on Local Harvest and EatWellGuide from my phone but the only things that came up were the local dairy farm that provided organic grass fed milks and a small health food store that wasn't open. Oh well. 

We cut through downtown Wilkes-Barre to meet our dad at the gym for class. While stopped at a red light, right there on the corner, as if it were meant just for me to read, there was a sign - "Coffee - Mocha - Iced -100% Organic Beans". Was I dreaming? Did my lack of sleep and yearning for a cup of organic joe have me seeing things? Organic coffee in downtown Wilkes-Barre? I had to stop! But we were about to be late so my sister won and we drove by. Class was great, my heart rate monitor had us at about 650 calories burned when all was said and done - but the whole time all I could think about was that organic coffee sign. I had to go back - my curiosity couldn't control itself. 

Before Entering IBOP Coffee Company
After class, my sister and I back-tracked to the corner where we had seen the sign. I wasn't dreaming - it really said Organic Coffee and the shop window read "IBOP Coffee Company". To be honest, I wasn't sure what I was about to walk into. Knowing what I do about Wilkes-Barre's organic "scene", part of me expected to find 3-hour old organic Green Mountain brew in a caraffe on a side counter next to styrofoam cups and sweet'N low. I said to my sister as we were walking in, "If this place is good, I'm going to write about it because people in this area need organic." 

Well, it wasn't just good - IBOP Coffee Company is simply divine.

Let me remind you
- I studied in Italy, I sipped from cups in cafes all over Europe and almost make a hobby out of finding really special coffee spots wherever I go. IBOP Coffee - they've nailed it.

The coffeehouse is owned and operated by Soni and Joshua Park. They take commitment to high quality coffee to the next level. Having spent over three years just studying coffee before opening their shop, the Parks can offer you not just a drink but a story, a process, an explanation - something that enriches any coffee-lover's experience. They serve Organic Fair Trade coffee and espresso as well as some conventional blends, to suit any lifestyle and budget. If you're familiar with my blog, you know how I feel about choosing organic coffee to maximize your health and protect your body from exposure to unwanted toxins. Loving coffee as deeply as I do, I refuse to have my experience tainted by imposing harm on my body. In talking with Soni, it is clear the she and Joshua share this same passion. 

Decor Inside IBOP Coffee Company
Their menu is... IMPRESSIVE. Lattes, mochas, cold-brews, affogatto, chai - everything you'd want from your cafe.  I found their bean and brew selection particularly special - its not everyday you find a privately run coffeehouse serving brews from around the world, like their cold-brewed Kyoto and New Orleans. Even rarer is having your barista perform a pour-over right in front of you (as Soni can be seen doing here for her customers) - ensuring the freshest cup you've ever tasted! The Parks are extremely in tune with the nutritional preferences of their customers and allow you to have your drink prepared with organic grass-fed milk from local Lands at Hillside Farms, soy milk or almond milk. They also offer natural sweeteners like honey and stevia - which always makes me smile :)! Their knowledge of their product and their market did not go unnoticed. Just as my sister and I were about to sprinkle some stevia into our Iced New Orleans coffees, Soni stopped us, suggesting we taste it before adding any sweetener. She explained that the New Orleans blend is roasted with chicory and cold-brewed - this combination gives it a sweeter, smoother taste. She was right! I really appreciated that - she easily could've let us go about our business and walk out with overly sweetened drinks. But, her genuine care for her craft and her customers' experience saved us from missing out on enjoying the best iced coffee either of us had ever had - EVER

What Remained of the Amazing Apple Muffin
They also offer a variety of freshly brewed tea and tea drinks. In addition to coffees and teas, IBOP sells bottled kombucha - a delicious source of probiotics. So, even if you aren't a coffee drinker, they most likely have something right up your alley. As I was discussing nutrition and my organic lifestyle with Soni she was excited to show me a spread of organic gluten-free muffins and cookies. She explained that two women who frequent her shop while visiting the nearby farmers market on the square, prepare organic, vegan and gluten-free paninis and pastries that you can purchase and enjoy at IBOP. I was all over the pastries: blueberry, chocolate chip and apple cinnamon varieties, freshly made by a local woman who shares our passion for thoughtful cooking and baking. I didn't get the baker's name, but if you know her or you are her: That was the best apple cinnamon muffin I have ever had. Made of organic garbanzo, fava and tapioca flour, raw agave nectar, coconut and almond milks, cinnamon and apples, it is completely gluten free and void of processed sugar. As you can see in the photo to the right, I couldn't restrain myself long enough to get a photo of the muffin in its entirety. 

Thanks to IBOP, I was on Cloud 9 & Caffeinated
despite this little pup keeping me up all night!
I left IBOP Coffee Company on Cloud Nine. Finding such an absolute gem in my home town overwhelmed me with joy and refilled my tank of hope for the future of our country. I immediately contacted EatWellGuide and LocalHarvest to have IBOP added to their directory so that those passing through can locate an organic cup of joe. I encourage you to stop in and meet Soni and Joshua at IBOP Coffee Company and share in their passion. Bring your friends. Spread the word. Share this post with anyone you know in or around that area. By supporting what the Parks are doing on that corner in downtown Wilkes-Barre, you become part of a growing number of us fueling the organic movement in our country - and you'll have the greatest cup of coffee of your life while doing so!

IBOP Coffee Company
49 E. Northampton Street
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IbopCoffee
Email:  IBOPCOFFEE@gmail.com

Keep it Real & Support Local Organic Vendors

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