Posts tagged with Coffee

Java Break celebrates 20th anniversary in 24/7 style

Java Break has been caffeinating Lawrence 24 hours a day for 20 years. To celebrate the milestone anniversary in 24/7 fashion, the funky, half-underground coffee shop at Seventh and New Hampshire streets is offering half-price everything from midnight Thursday to midnight Friday.

Arron Atchison, Lawrence, a barrista at the Java Break, 17 E. 7th, sets up chairs at 4:53 a.m. part way through his graveyard work shift of midnight to 8 a.m.

Arron Atchison, Lawrence, a barrista at the Java Break, 17 E. 7th, sets up chairs at 4:53 a.m. part way through his graveyard work shift of midnight to 8 a.m. by Mike Yoder

When it comes to coffee shops, Java Break is like the anti-Starbucks. It’s one-of-a-kind from the retro diner tables and swag lamps (collected through the years by owner Derek Hogan), to the kooky seasonal drink posters behind the counter starring Java Break employees, to its signature coffee drinks and baked-in-house sweets and sandwiches. And let’s not forget the computerized cereal bowl randomizer on the Cereal Bar.

Hogan said “good coffee, good food and a lot of homemade products” have helped the shop stay in business. With the exception of a few months shortly after it opened, Java Break has always been open ‘round the clock.

“We’re not cookie-cutter,” Hogan said. “There’s a lot of competition in this town; you’ve got to stay fresh and unique.”

A Cereal Bar concoction at Java Break, 17 E. Seventh St. This one features Cap'n Crunch, Cocoa Puffs and Rice Krispies topped with fresh sliced banana and chocolate syrup.

A Cereal Bar concoction at Java Break, 17 E. Seventh St. This one features Cap'n Crunch, Cocoa Puffs and Rice Krispies topped with fresh sliced banana and chocolate syrup. by Sara Shepherd

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @saramarieshep. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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Alchemy Coffee now a bakery, too

I wish I were better at resisting temptation, but man, do I love a sweet treat with my coffee. And especially given all the coffee shops selling stale or over-sugared, trucked-in baked goods — or none at all — I REALLY love a handmade, freshly baked sweet treat with my coffee.

Alchemy Coffee, 1901 Massachusetts St., has added an in-house kitchen to offer just that, and the establishment now calls itself Alchemy Coffee and Bake House. In-house baker Joni Alexander whips up treats daily in the cutesy little kitchen (lavender wall, shiny red mixer, retro mixing bowls and everything) at the east end of the shop.

Joni Alexander prepares to bake a loaf of zucchini bread on Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in the newly added kitchen at Alchemy Coffee and Bake House, 1901 Massachusetts St.

Joni Alexander prepares to bake a loaf of zucchini bread on Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in the newly added kitchen at Alchemy Coffee and Bake House, 1901 Massachusetts St. by Nick Krug

This week I tried the triple-chocolate sea salt cookies — big, soft, laden with chocolate chunks and generously sized flakes of sea salt — and strawberry peach muffins — also big, soft, with sweet crumbly tops and hunks of fruit, all nestled in brown paper. Other offerings include cakes, pies and more muffins, including a blueberry doughnut muffin complete with glaze.

Triple chocolate sea salt cookies and other treats are now baked in-house at Alchemy Coffee and Bake House, 1901 Massachusetts St.

Triple chocolate sea salt cookies and other treats are now baked in-house at Alchemy Coffee and Bake House, 1901 Massachusetts St. by Sara Shepherd

Alexander, a Kansas University graduate who traveled the world while working as a professional model, got into cooking and baking as a hobby.

“I love it,” she said. “It’s so calming, and I love feeding people.” She said she tries to keep things simple — ideally five ingredients or less — yet fully commit to the flavor at hand. For example, that decadent chocolate sea salt cookie. “If I’m going to do a triple-chocolate sea salt cookie ... it’s going to be in your face,” she said.

Alexander started working with Alchemy owner Benjamin Farmer last fall. He had been selling cookies and granola bars made in Kansas City but brought in Alexander’s goods (then baked off-site), which were a hit. The kitchen was completed two weeks ago, he said. Alchemy is known for its cold-brew, sold in bottles and even on draft at several other places around town. Farmer and Alexander said they hope some of Alchemy’s baked goods soon will follow suit.

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @saramarieshep. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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‘United States of Caffeine’: Lawrence coffee shop represents Kansas on Zagat list

Brenna McKedy, a Kansas University junior from Garden City, left, works on homework near the cereal bar at Java Break, 17 E. Seventh St. Sarina Geist, right, store manager, says cereal bars are popular on the coasts and suit Java Break’s college-age clientele.

Brenna McKedy, a Kansas University junior from Garden City, left, works on homework near the cereal bar at Java Break, 17 E. Seventh St. Sarina Geist, right, store manager, says cereal bars are popular on the coasts and suit Java Break’s college-age clientele. by Mike Yoder

For the second time in two weeks, Lawrence has landed a spot on a Zagat list.

Our very own Java Break, 17 E. Seventh St., is representing Kansas on Zagat’s latest online roundup, “The United States of Caffeine: 50 States, 50 Must-Try Coffee Shops.” It's No. 16 on the slideshow list, revealed Wednesday on the Zagat blog.

Here’s what caught the judges' attention:

“Lawrence has no shortage of cool-kid coffee shops, but Java Break is unique thanks to the 24-hour coffee-flowing-though-your-veins service. The ultra-kitschy decor is loved by hipster college kids sticking Starbucks to the man, and their drinks, like the cult-ish Hazelnut Chai, are made from scratch without preservatives or corn syrup. Bonus: there’s a cereal bar with a slew of toppings.”

I'm an almond milk latte gal myself and haven't tried the chai, but I'll vouch for the rest of this writeup. If you missed our recent Off The Beaten Plate feature on their Cereal Bar, check it out here.

The other Zagat mention? That would be Burger Stand making its "Best Burgers in 25 Cities" list.

Java Break’s Minty Hot Chocolate.

Java Break’s Minty Hot Chocolate. by Nick Krug

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