Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pasha Coffee & Tea

Pasha Coffee & Tea
3914 St. Elmo Ave
Chattanooga, TN 37409
(423) 475-5482

Pasha Coffee & Tea, located near Mojo Burrito and Blacksmith Bistro, is part of the revitalized, hipper St. Elmo that is intended to ensnare Lookout Mountain residents as they come down to where "the people are."

It's a very neat little coffee shop that boasts the area's only organic and fair trade expresso bar. The shop itself is quite small, with big windows, a handful of tables and a few comfy pieces of furniture, and walls covered with the frequently-rotating work of local artists. If their event schedule is any indication, Pasha's is a music/art/writing social hub for the area. There is almost always something happening there.

The primary feature is coffee, which you can get in essentially any permutation, along with a variety of teas and other drinks, but they also serve an all-day menu featuring a few breakfast items (omelets, oatmeal, bagels and baked goods, mostly) and there is a handful of lighter Mediterranean fare, including paninis, pitas, hummus, salads, and a few low-key sandwiches. The staff is very friendly, but on my visits there have only been one or two of them working, so you can expect to wait accordingly depending on how many patrons are there.

I can say definitively that the baked goods are delicious; I've had some amazing scones there, and the baklava is nothing to sneeze at. The chicken curry sandwich was a little too stark and curry-ful and didn't particularly move me. For me, Pasha's would typically be a morning or evening coffee & snack stop, but I wouldn't rule out a lunch run if I wanted lighter fare in the area.

Ostensibly, you'll visit Pasha because you want to attend one of their many events or because you want some coffee (or both, honestly, because there's no reason to go in there without getting a beverage). And if you're there to worship the bean, I want to steer you towards something specifically: the Turkish coffee.

Pasha is, to my knowledge, the only place you can get Turkish coffee in the area. Every cup is made to order (I believe it takes about 7 minutes) and is made by grinding coffee beans extra-fine and brewing them directly in the water. (Green tea buffs may be familiar with Matcha, which has a similar method.) There is no filter; the dregs remain in the bottom of the cup.

They serve it to you in a cute little cup with a little baby handle (awwww) and maybe you're thinking, "This is it?" since you paid about three times as much ($3.50) for about a tenth the usual volume. But since the grounds are actually ingested, the caffeine hits you fast--I could feel it by the second sip.

I made the mistake of trying Turkish coffee for the first time at 7 p.m. I couldn't sleep at all that night, so I would recommend trying it in the morning. Throw in some of that great Baklava while you're at it. You won't be disappointed.

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