The difference between a pub crawl and a café crawl is largely in the ending: Too many beers at too many pubs and you're more likely to crawl home at the end. Too much espresso, and you'll just be crawling out of your skin.
One group of intrepid espresso chasers has taken this cup crusade on the road with The Caffeine Crawl: A community-sourced coffee-tasting adventure that encourages coffee lovers in various American cities to join forces and get wired at several different coffee shops along a pre-planned itinerary.
The next stop on these jazzed-up journeymen's list? Where else but where the wind comes sweeping down the plain: Oklahoma City.
The project is a brainchild of Jason Burton, who founded the marketing startup The Lab to focus specifically on spreading the good word of good beverages. Since its 2011 inception, the Caffeine Crawl has taken people to the streets of cities that might not necessarily leap right to mind when one thinks about good coffee: Denver, St. Louis, and Indianapolis have played host, among others, and who knows what spot the next X might mark.
Starting at 11 a.m., 100 ticket holders from across the region will make their way to any and all of the sponsor locations, traveling in groups capped at 30–35 to keep organization to a maximum and stress to a minimum (especially on the baristas). For $30, each lucky crawler receives a bottle of water (very important under the circumstances); instructions, a starting point, and directions; a beverage to sample at each stop; and a printed program commemorating a caffeine overdose well done.
There will also be several opportunities to learn more about the tasty brown stuff in each cup along the way, as well as plenty of chances to chat with and meet other crawlers.
Six shops in the greater Oklahoma City area are taking part in the espresso escapade: Café Evoke, Coffee Slingers, Cuppies & Joe, Elemental Coffee Roasters, Syrup Breakfast Boutique, and t, an urban teahouse.
For anyone who can't crawl (but who can still drive), an after-event reception will be held at Café Evoke starting at 4:30 p.m., featuring some cocoa-flavored palate relief from Askinosie Chocolate as well as non caffeinated beverages and a raffle to benefit a local charity.
Crowd sourced café crawls aren't a brand-new thing—this is the ninth official Caffeine Crawl, and we recently had a similar choose-your-own-adventure-style event in NYC to support businesses affected by Hurricane Sandy—but they are a beautiful synthesis of the dedication to community, support for small business, and undying love for deliciousness that coffee people—both pros and civilians—bring to the bar.
Hey, where else is this kind of "disloyalty" not only encouraged, but also rewarded? Coffee people, man. They really are just the best.
About the author: Erin Meister trains baristas and inspires coffee-driven people for Counter Culture Coffee. She's a confident barista, an audacious eater, and a smiling runner, but she remains a Nervous Cook.