I’m sitting in Loka, where the company tastes great. It is no surprise that I’m seated at a sexy stone table, rounded by sleek black edges; the owner (Tamms Blyth) has an eye for aesthetic and a creative understanding that atmosphere is what takes us away from the mundane and into the real realm of possibility where our ideas can fly beyond our wildest dreams.
The open sign hasn’t officially hung from the door and already local artists and friends line the unique metal bench beneath the sidewalk sunlight outdoors. Inside, the tables are filled with entrepreneurs typing to the beat of their own drum. The smells are incredible as breakfast sizzles from the grill.
I ask Tamms to take a moment to chat with me. Despite carrying out cups of capulin with a phone crammed under her neck, she stops and smiles. For some people balance is a goal, but for Tamms (who doubles as a yoga instructor) it’s the only way to live:
“I’ve been doing this for years. At first, in Vancouver, I was afraid of the espresso machine. But I knew I wanted to do it. After a few years of admiring from a distance, I applied for a job and got it. Haven’t looked back. But what excites me about Café Loka is that I get to hand somebody something they really want. The smiles say it all. And I get to educate them about healthy food and share the history of coffee’s connection to community,” says Blyth.
With a focus on local, Café Loka’s menu is comprised of food grown and gathered from within the province. Tamms hands me a handcrafted mug with a female partial-nude. The words MAYA are etched beside my thumb. I feel like I’m drinking from a cup meant for me. “Here, taste this,” she says. “It’s capulin. Super uber fair trade. People need to know where the product comes from.”
After perusing the in-house photo album of Daniel Fourwind’s Mexican family and chatting with Patrick Collins, Café Loka’s roaster and a partner in Brewed Awakenings, I learn that the slick oily (almost cherry infused) cup of yum I’m slurping has come from one family farm. The beans are unwashed and touched only by a single set of hands. This type of exchange is what saves the forests and keeps families safe from the abuse that comes with big corporate control. Read more about the process here: http://capulin.com/
The theme of family is a big one for Café Loka. Tamms’ mother smiles from the wicker chair in the corner. Her face is framed with the fresh flowers sitting on the table. It is obvious she is proud of her daughter and she quickly moves behind the counter to help with the rest of the breakfast orders. Tamms’ Italian heritage is important to her and she wants Café Loka to extend that family feel to everyone who walks through the front door:
“I want this to be a haven for creativity and community. Loka is Sanskrit and it loosely means the earth, realm, and connection. I want people to feel alive and like they don’t have to be bothered with performances. Come here and be yourself. This is a calm and personal place. Community is the source of light in my life and the lives around me,” says Blyth.
I’ve worked with Tamms at another local café, years ago, and I have to say that (as a self-proclaimed coffee snot) she makes the best brew you will ever put on your tongue. Inside every mug you can taste the patience of a happy person matched with the drive of a woman who has pursued her dreams and supports her neighbours.
And I’m already coo-coo for Loka’s scene! Swing by and CHECK IT OUT.
Follow Café Loka on Facebook
Twit with Tamms: @CafeLokaFreddy
Amanda Jardine is a member of the NB Media Co-op.