Black Medicine Brew Is The Perk You Need

Author: C.L. Harmon
Category: Food | Business
Date Published: April 25, 2022
Featured Image for Makasape Coffee Beans

Its ori­gins are a bit mys­te­ri­ous. How­ev­er, one leg­end has it that a goat herder named Kal­di stum­bled upon it in the forests of the Ethiopi­an plateau. It turns out his goats found renewed ener­gy after eat­ing some strange berries. Those berries would even­tu­al­ly become the foun­da­tion for the drink dubbed “mud”, “brew”, ”rock­et fuel” and even “jit­ter juice”. As its dis­cov­ery moved through dif­fer­ent parts of the world, human­i­ty found a bet­ter way to wake up and greet the morning. 

And what­ev­er clever name those through­out his­to­ry have used to describe this nat­ur­al elixir of ener­gy and taste, this won­der­ment of nature, wide­ly known as cof­fee, has found its way into almost every cul­ture on the plan­et. And why would­n’t it? After all, led or unled, this elixir of seduc­tion has the taste to charm our pal­lets and per­suades us to pur­chase 10.4 mil­lion tons of it each year. One might even say that it’s the med­i­cine of the ages.

This seem­ing­ly end­less desire for this rich, robust taste grows with cof­fee shops spring­ing up every­where and every new gen­er­a­tion dis­cov­er­ing the var­i­ous cap­ti­vat­ing fla­vors. And this leads some of those dis­cov­er­ers of fla­vor to push even fur­ther than the spe­cial­ty cof­fee sin­gle cups or main­stream bagged com­mer­cial cof­fees packed on gro­cery shelves. 

These con­nois­seurs of cof­fee chase the bean, much the same way a craft beer brew­er seeks out the per­fect hops and grain to pro­duce the best tast­ing ale, lager, or stout. An Okla­homa res­i­dent and Osage trib­al mem­ber, Ryan Arm­strong, is one such per­son chas­ing the fla­vor. In his search, he has found the newest med­i­cine of the age. And it is called pre­cise­ly that in the Osage lan­guage, Ma^kasape (the name of his com­pa­ny), mean­ing “black medicine.”

5 cups with Makasape Coffee
Pic­tures pro­vid­ed by Makasape

Iron­i­cal­ly and by his admis­sion, Arm­strong admits that his first expe­ri­ence with cof­fee was less than enjoy­able, although mem­o­rable for sure.

“I did­n’t even real­ly enjoy cof­fee grow­ing up. Cof­fee was syn­ony­mous with Fol­gers and just some­thing my grand­pa drank. Cof­fee was a black mud-like sub­stance, and I thought it was gross,” Arm­strong said. But while in col­lege, he began to tol­er­ate it due to its ener­gy-boost­ing effects and a lit­tle bit of fit­ting in with his peers. 

Since that’s what his friends were doing, he admits it had to have an exces­sive amount of sug­ar and cream to make it tol­er­a­ble. And then some­thing hap­pened, some­thing that would change his life. He had his first taste of cof­fee made from a French press. It was black, bold, beau­ti­ful, and unlike any­thing he had ever had. From that moment for­ward, he would no longer tol­er­ate watered-down coffee.

“I remem­ber that moment. It was like a life-defin­ing moment. It was the moment I had a real­ly good cup of cof­fee,” Arm­strong said. He was 19 years of age, and his sens­es had been awak­ened. Good cof­fee had become a pri­or­i­ty. Even with costs above the main­stream gro­cery store brands, he would spend the mon­ey. How­ev­er, in 2018, mar­ried and with expens­es tight, he was no longer able to enjoy the “good stuff” with the fre­quen­cy and quan­ti­ty he wanted. 

Refus­ing to give up the black elixir he loves, he sought anoth­er way; brew­ing from home. And even though his first batch burned on the home whirly pot con­trap­tion he had pur­chased, it still tast­ed bet­ter than any­thing main­stream he had expe­ri­enced. For­tu­nate­ly, the next batch was bet­ter and the next even bet­ter. With his tech­nique and the tastes he was pro­duc­ing, he knew he had a prod­uct that would sell. Ma^kasape) Roast­ing Com­pa­ny was born soon after.

An ini­tial hob­by of roast­ing and grind­ing cof­fee beans for his enjoy­ment had become a grow­ing busi­ness. Arm­strong says he is not cam­paign­ing to reach mega busi­ness sta­tus. He does, how­ev­er, seem to share the same com­mit­ment as the founders of oth­er com­pa­nies such as Pep­si Cola and Bama Pies, which both were also born out of hum­ble begin­nings and a desire to cre­ate the best prod­uct pos­si­ble. And like those ear­ly cus­tomers of Pep­si Cola and Bama Pies who began pur­chas­ing what they thought to be a supe­ri­or prod­uct at the time, mod­ern con­sumers are fol­low­ing suit and plac­ing orders for Arm­strong’sArm­strong’s coffee. 

store display of Makasape Coffee Beans
Pic­tures pro­vid­ed by Makasape

In May of last year, he received his busi­ness license and offi­cial­ly became the Ma^kasape Roast­ing Com­pa­ny. A com­mer­cial roast­er pur­chase that can roast 7.5 pounds of beans at one time and oth­er need­ed items soon followed.

“Busi­ness has been great. I have roast­ed and sold approx­i­mate­ly 1200 pounds of cof­fee in just under one year, if I had to guess. I will prob­a­bly hit 1400 pounds by my one-year anniver­sary,” Arm­strong said. He cur­rent­ly sup­plies cof­fee to one cof­fee shop and has online order­ing for individuals. 

Those orders can be picked up at two dif­fer­ent loca­tions, Bird Creek Nutri­tion in Pawhus­ka or Dripz & Dreamz Cof­fee and Ice Cream in Cleve­land, at no cost. He also ships out to cus­tomers but adds ship­ping costs for those orders. He cur­rent­ly has 50 reg­u­lar cus­tomers and the cof­fee shop pur­chas­es from him. He says it is quite an accom­plish­ment con­sid­er­ing he has only been offi­cial­ly in busi­ness for less than one year and is doing it alone and work­ing a full-time job to boot.

And the best part is that he keeps his cof­fee at much more rea­son­able prices than oth­er spe­cial­ty roast­ing com­pa­nies, which sell a 12-ounce bag from $14–25. Ma^kasape keeps it $9–12. He keeps his prices the same as one would pur­chase a con­ven­tion­al grade qual­i­ty from a gro­cery store. 

To put it into per­spec­tive, cost and qual­i­ty-wise, a com­par­i­son would be Arm­strong’s cof­fee vs. tra­di­tion­al cof­fee of grade being the equiv­a­lent of Bud­weis­er or Miller Lite to a spe­cial­ty craft beer from a local brew­ery. So, keep­ing his prices low allows cus­tomers to get high­er qual­i­ty at the same price they are used to pay­ing for the con­ven­tion­al grade. He hopes to con­tin­ue this com­pet­i­tive pric­ing as the com­pa­ny grows by keep­ing to his small busi­ness principles.

It’s inspir­ing to see the spir­it of com­merce still brew­ing in Okla­homa through the efforts of those like Arm­strong; he has joined with those peo­ple through­out his­to­ry who added a bit of fla­vor to life through their love of the Earth and appre­ci­a­tion of the val­ue it can produce. 

Arm­strong is con­tin­u­ing the tra­di­tions of all those in search of what is bet­ter with his ver­sions of Earth­’s fla­vor­ful boun­ty brewed right here in the Native lands of this state. He allows us to expe­ri­ence a dose of this local “black med­i­cine,” which may not cure all our ails but will sure­ly perk us up no mat­ter how we are feeling.

To con­nect with Ma^kasape Roast­ing Com­pa­ny, vis­it their Face­book Page or call 918–358-6860.

The com­pa­ny offers K‑Cups and var­i­ous sizes of bagged cof­fee for pur­chase and roast­ed beans for those who wish to grind their own.

Below are some descrip­tions of some of the cof­fees offered by Arm­strong.

owner displaying Makasape Coffee Beans at an event
Pic­tures pro­vid­ed by Makasape

Latin Amer­i­can Blend

The Latin Amer­i­can Blend is suit­able for folks look­ing for “clas­sic” cof­fee fla­vors. Clas­sic is not to be mis­un­der­stood with that cheap burnt and bit­ter stuff that needs cream and sug­ar, but that rich, sub­tle choco­latey, nut­ty, earthy, semi-sweet, and smooth cup you had at that love­ly cof­fee shop. It won’t be over­ly cit­rusy or fruity and will gen­er­al­ly have a medi­um body.

 The blend will gen­er­al­ly con­sist of Brazil­ian and Columbian beans and some Cen­tral Amer­i­can Ori­gins such as El Sal­vador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.

Ethiopi­an Yirgacheffe

Ethiopi­an cof­fees are often some of my favorite cof­fees, right­ly so since it is the moth­er­land of cof­fee. If you’ve nev­er tried an Ethiopi­an, you are in for a treat. You often get fla­vors that might be described as more “exot­ic” as the clas­sic fla­vors are eclipsed by flo­ral, spicy, and fruity sub­tle sweet­ness. The cur­rent offer­ing has a strong blue­ber­ry fla­vor with mild flo­ral sweetness. 

Columbian Decaf

This blend is a Sug­ar­cane Process Decaf that stays away from the chem­i­cals used by size­able com­mer­cial Cof­fee Com­pa­nies. A rich, mild­ly sweet cof­fee that one can­not tell is a decaf.

DR Con­go

I had nev­er tried a cof­fee from the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Repub­lic of Con­go until it was fresh from my roast­er. I was in for a pleas­ant sur­prise. It has a medi­um body with fla­vor notes of green tea and hon­ey with flo­ral sweet­ness. It is now one of my favorite ori­gins. Gen­er­al­ly, peo­ple try this and are reluc­tant to try any­thing else.

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C.L. Harmon

C.L. Harmon

C.L. is an award-winning journalist who spent many years in the newspaper and freelance fields. In addition to holding reporting and editing positions throughout his career, he also owned and operated a newspaper for several years. He was born, raised, and continues to reside in Oklahoma.

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