First, the overview: Cafeza is a quaint little spot on the corner of Houston and Crockett. It is a coffee house that also serves wine and beer. The kitchen produces delicious Spanish and Latin-influenced food. Last night was a private event soft opening, which I attended. It officially opened this morning.
Now, the details: I am friends with the owners, Ryan and Keisha Hazen, and walking into an establishment belonging to a friend can be rather hazardous to a friendship because you must be kind and gentle about the expectations and the achievement of those expectations, if they dare ask. As I left last night, after about three hours, I told Ryan goodbye and he asked how everything was. Honestly, I hardly had words. I think I made a gesture with my hand as well as my face trying to convey my experience. It may have been a thumbs up or a long-stretch high five that couldn't reach, but there was no justice served with that expression. So here, I do hope, is justice served.
When I arrived last night for the private event celebrating the grand opening, I was taken aback by the immense detail and craftsmanship of Cafeza. Everything appeared constructed with a delicate hand, from the counter and flooring to the tables and individual artistry, primarily the art hanging at the front of the coffee house right over the piano. (P.S. - A place I wouldn't mind playing sometime.)
The lighting fixtures accentuate the modern European style the Hazens were going for. Think of old school lighting. Like Tesla old school meets steampunk meets "I wish I had those at the house."
The counter (bar), which I mentioned, is unlike any other I've seen, with a dark rust colored metal top - like the bottom of an old ship, but sanded perfectly smooth. The bar provides a very homey feel, yet with a feel you've never experienced - that steampunk feel that seems to get familiar. Also, the counter has hanging hooks for jackets and purses, which keeps us from having to sit on our jackets or keep them on, or ladies from having to put their purses on the floor or in their lap.
The metal and wood stools offer a one-size-fits-all, as the height can be adjusted by spinning the seat. The granite tables and wooden chairs and bench aligning the side wall fit perfectly with the vibe of the entire setting. That wall holds several works of art, but is in itself a work of art.
The other side of the coffeehouse, where all the coffee-making takes place, offers a very sleek visual of wine bottles, coffee cups, coffee bags, and tea containers, with a backdrop of interestingly designed white porcelain tiles. The front of house has four killer leather chairs surrounding a granite top coffee table perfect for enjoying long conversations with friends - just get there before anyone else does.
To top it off, the coffeehouse sits on the cross-section of a street, which allows for glass over sheetrock. There are large windows on the front of house permitting plenty of natural lighting, which is something we all need. In the back is an outdoor seating area for when the weather is nice, which will probably be another month away after this stifling Houston heat lets up.
I overheard a friend of mine, Lisa, say something about the spiced coffee changing her life. So I figured, "Why not?" I would have to agree with her. Rather life-changing. The spiced coffee was absolutely delicious, perfectly blended and smooth. Along with coffee, there is the wide selection of various pastries for light breakfasting.
Another coffee that was offered to me was the iced coffee that came with more steps than I could count or comprehend. There were steps and measurements and elements that I didn't even know existed with coffee. At the end of the explanation, which I must admit was quite impressive, the iced coffee exacted everything told. In other words, it lived up to the hype.
The food, which receives its inspiration from Spain, is unlike any you would expect from a coffeeshop. But I guess calling it a coffeeshop isn't accurate, or maybe it is. Or isn't. Regardless, the soup was thick and pleasant with spices that match the Spanish culture. The street tacos, with slightly spicy shrimp, crumbled feta, and greens on a corn tortilla hit the spot. And there was the salad with thin slices of pear (I venture pears, but I could be wrong) that gave a sweet taste mixed with the healthy touch expected from such a dish.
Back to the drinks. Cafeza doesn't simply make coffees, which is why I can't nail it down to just a coffeehouse (but it is). They also serve wines of various varieties as well as beer, with Karbach and Saint Arnold on tap (oh snap!). P.S. - Ladies, Cafeza also makes Mojitos. I've heard the opposite sex prefers those for breakfast. Who knows? Maybe it's just the raging alcoholics I know.
And then there's the service. As I mentioned about the iced coffee presentation, everyone is very knowledgeable about the processes of the coffees. They even have these rare futuristic machines that supposedly make coffee and teas waaaaay better. I don't know. I didn't get around to trying it, but I'm looking forward to it.
Ryan and Keisha are definitely going to treat their customers right because that's how they treat everyone. Hiring Kyle Buthod to keep tabs on things as manager was a brilliant move. Since so much reminded me of steampunk, it only makes sense for the Hazens to hire someone to run the business like a well-oiled machine.
Honestly, I can't wait to go back. I might just do so tonight. Word on the street is they are having a special musical guest come and perform. The musician flew in from Los Angeles just for the grand opening. I have an inkling who it is and if it is this musician, then you definitely don't want to miss the show. But if not for the music, I think I gave you a ton of reasons to go to Cafeza as soon as you can.
Even after all this, I'm not certain I gave Cafeza the justice it deserves.