Key zŏ tic? quix zo tic? How do you pronounce the name of this place? Of course I asked; got to get the name right, it’s \kwik-'sa-tik\. You can learn more about the name on the website. In line with the vibe of this gem of a community meeting and gathering place, Quixotic Coffee is a unique find. Tucked into the Highland Village neighborhood, Quixotic Coffee is new to me; but I found out from the manager that it’s been around for over six years and went through some upgrades 2-3 years ago—how ever did I miss it! It was challenging to find a coffee shop that I had not been to in St. Paul, but on our list of 10 or so options that we found in our google search, Quixotic was the only one on the list that I had not visited. We almost missed that because we had selected another location, one that really enjoy but have gone there several times.
Let me tell you a little about this gem. Quixotic Coffee delivers high quality hand-crafted beverages, made with local ingredients. As my barista shared with me, as much as possible their both their beverage and food items are sourced locally. Yes, that description came from their website, but from my experience on yesterday, I give them a Gold Star!
The décor is warm and somewhat subdued but the atmosphere is bustling and vibrant…families, friends and even business associates seem to flock to this neighborhood gathering place. The staff is friendly and helpful. At one point there was quite a line; orders were being called out, some requests sounded like a foreign language, but the team knew what they were doing and they kept things flowing and the keep a good attitude about it. That’s always important to customer service. Makes you want to keep coming back.
Now what’ I’m about to tell you might make you think that I’m exaggerating but I’ll share it in their own words “Reserve the meeting room today! Book the meeting room for $10/hr and receive a $10 gift card to Quixotic for every hour booked. Great for group study sessions, club meetings, or family get-togethers. Seats up to 10 people comfortably!” Really? In 2018, you can get a meeting room almost for free. I include this here because many of us use coffee shops as regular meeting places and sometimes you need a bit more privacy and accommodations for more than 4 people. I noticed the room when I first walked; a group of about eight women were gathered in the room; mental note…I could use that room. When I visited the website and say that it’s only $10/hour, well put that on my list. Now, I don’t know how long they will be able to offer that rate, but for now, it’s a plus.
Because I had had my morning Joe and was planning to attend a banquet later , I decided to have something different. My barista introduced me to their specialty version of kombucha . They even suggested I “tasting” to make sure I ordered one that I would enjoy. Those of you who are on the kombucha bandwagon know that kombucha is purported to offer health benefits, especially to the digestive system. I’m not sure if they offer the same flavors every day, but the one with a hint of “turmeric” was right on tap…literally.
It took a minute for the steady stream of customers to slow down so that I could ask the staff to talk with me about coffee shop etiquette, but indeed they did. They were as open and quite willing to talk with me but initially they could not think of anything. The Highland neighborhood residents are their main customers, along students from the local colleges, so there seems to be an “unwritten” way to treat each other and the establishment that works.
However, if there are a couple of coffee shop etiquette reminders, these are those. When the place is busy, and I’m sure this one can get quite busy, and you don’t know what you want, step aside, read the menu then step back in when you are ready. Ask the barista or other attendant to help you if you don’t know what you want or if you don’t know the terminology of that establishment. Nitro? Kombucha? Pour over? Coffee shops really do have a language of their on. Oh! I found out the other day, that many of 50%, i.e. Half regular, half decaf.
Another coffee shop etiquette tip, which has been echoed previously, is to be patient when they are “super” busy; they want your business and appreciate you as customers, please appreciate their efforts as well.
I’m glad to know that Quixotic has really good customers and most of the time, it’s smooth sailing.
Before I go, I must share that the barista indulged me by making me a “handcrafted” latte with me initials artfully designed in foam. What do you call this, “foam art?” Let me tell you how this came to be. I was having a “coffee” meeting with a business associate just yesterday. She knows aobut my coffee shop visits and my coffee shop etiquette articles so she suggested that I ask the barista to create a Ms. J “foam” art for me.
I thought they were going to look at me as a real odd ball, which I am in a way, but odd balls are really cool so I embrace that part of me. But, you what? She did it. When I asked one of the baristas if they would try it she immediately said, I can’t but if anybody can do it, Heidi can. The manager Brandon said yes. So, here it is, Heidi’s creation of the first Ms. J “coffee art” initials. Well, Heidi had to create the artwork with coffee, so she served me one of the most delicious latte’s I’ve ever had. It was smooth and creamy but not a dessert. I said I wasn’t going to have coffee, but I’m glad I did. Delicious!
Ask the barista or other attendant to help you if you don’t know what you want or if you don’t know the terminology of that establishment. Nitro? Kombucha? Pour over? Coffee shops really do have a language of their own.