Hump day getaway!
You know those days that are just really, really good days? These days aren’t extravagant days or extra special in any way, but they are perfectly average in the best way. These kind of days are my cup of tea, or should I say, my cup of coffee! (Haha, bad jokes…) Anyway, the city of Houston is only a little more than one hour away from College Station. If you didn’t know, Madison, Kaylee and I all grew up in Houston, so naturally it has a special place in our hearts. We have had family live there and family that still lives in the Houston area today. That being said, this city is not unfamiliar to us by any means. We grew up in the Cypress area (which is in the greater Houston area), this area specifically is not far from College Station at all. You don’t even have to go through Downtown Houston to get there, can I get an amen? Madison and I both had our afternoons cleared up on Wednesday, other than homework of course, so it was the perfect day to scoot on down to the Cypress area to explore and try a new place there. I looked up several places online and “Land of A Thousand Hills Coffee Company” really caught my eye. The drinks looked absolutely to die for and the inside of the shop looked adorable and open. When Madison and I made it to the shop we were pleasantly surprised by the area it was located in. “Land of A Thousand Hills Coffee Company” is in a newly developed area called “The BoardWalk at Towne Lake”. “The BoardWalk at Towne Lake” is an upscale shopping center that is on a beautiful man-made lake with nice boutiques, shops, and restaurants. To me, “The BoardWalk at Towne Lake” was the perfect amount of style and niceness without being too ritzy or stuffy. The boardwalk had a beautiful area with lights hanging above and unique rock seats scattered around to lounge on. I can just picture this area on a busy Saturday evening; kids probably running around squealing and parents sitting around laughing and having conversations with friends. Something that Madison pointed out in this area, that I absolutely adored, was a cute little box (it kind of looked like a bird house) that was a “Little Free Library”. The tall brown box was full of fun picture books and novels. I had seen one of these once before, every time I see one of these mini libraries it just makes me grin. Anything to encourage children to pick up a good old-fashioned picture book instead of an iPhone or tablet is something I support! Not that these technological things aren’t good; you might be reading this blog on one right now, but I think that it is important to have these things in addition to tangible books for little ones. This was a neat touch that made me love this area even more.
“Land of A Thousand Hills Coffee Company” was really poppin’ when we arrived there around 3:00. There were many different people gathered there from different walks of life and ages. Gathered in large lounge sofa chairs near the fireplace, laughing and chattering, were a group of older women. There was a young girl at a table with her Bible and journal open on her table, busy in study. There were college or high school aged students here and there with laptop and textbooks open, lost in thought. Business men sat at the bar and outside busily typing while a husband and wife sat nearby talking softly to one another, sipping on their steaming java. I personally think that a lot is said about a place based on the people that gather there. Every kind of person was doing every type of thing at this shop and that says a lot about the nature of the place. You can tell that everyone feels welcome and happy in “Land of A Thousand Hills Coffee Company”. When you walk into the shop you are immediately greeted with the large stone brick accent wall that is also home to the fireplace. Above the fireplace is a dark wood beam that serves as the mantel. On the mantel is a large wooden circle with a metal tree inside. The tree inside of the wooden circle is a large stunning tree with deep visual roots beneath “the earth”. Above this stone wall are vibrant photos of incredible quality. The pictures include African children gathered around a sign that says “Land of A Thousand Hills Coffee plantation”, men holding large burlap bags of coffee beans, a woman sorting through the coffee beans, and so many more beautiful photos. To the side of the fire place are two giraffe statues, both different but gorgeous in their own ways. All of this welcomes you right when you walk into the shop. All of these amazing elements hit me as I walked in and made me think, “This is all for something more, something much more.” Hanging on the right wall as you walk in is a bright green bike that has the words “Project Rwanda” in it. At this point I started to put the clues together of what this place may be all about. Everywhere you turn there were pictures of the people and beautiful hills of Rwanda. To the left side, above several tables, was a mural. The mural consisted of the outline of the country of Rwanda and inside the country was different coffee advertisements from the coffee packaging or other sources. I found a statement of the purpose of the shop posting on the wall and everything was explained and I was so very impressed. The paper stated that “in April 1994 Rwanda (an African country half the size of the state of Maryland) experienced one of history’s most atrocious genocides…In the wake of civil war, Rwanda made a commitment to national restoration. The government called upon the church to lead the country in reconciliation and asked the outside world to support them as it looked to heal and eradicate poverty, disease, and illiteracy…Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Co. partners directly with farmers in Rwanda to provide better wages for better coffee for a better future. [The shop] seek(s) to engage redemption through coffee. [Their] goal is to meet social and economic trends any providing a first touch experience where customers do good by drinking a cup of coffee. [They] emphasize excellence in coffee, practice social responsibility and promote reconciliation through coffee.” (Land of A Thousand Hills Coffee Co.). Wow, what a cool story and purpose that is shop has! I love it when shops have a real and true purpose for what they do and why they do it. “Land of A Thousand Hills Coffee Company” does something that is bigger than itself to reach a country that many of us have probably never even heard of. There are so many times where I can be so comfortable in my personal bubble that I am not always aware of the pain going around in the world. Reaching out, with the heart of Jesus, to these people is something that can inspire all of us to think twice when we see something horrible that happened on the other side of the other side of the world. Instead of thinking that it doesn’t apply to us, we can be called to action, prayer, or giving to help these people. God’s heart for the nations is so beautifully verbalized in Psalms 67:1-2, “May God be gracious to us and bless us; look on us with favor so that Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.’ That should too be our hearts if we love and serve the Lord.
I probably would have left this coffee shop loving it without even trying the coffee if I was going to be honest… But the coffee was the cherry on top of the entire experience. First, Madison and I both got the “Rwandan”. The “Rwandan” is a mixed drink with vanilla and caramel. After being in my car with no working air conditioning (yay!!) for over an hour, a cold blended drink definitely sounded awesome. And awesome it was! Our drinks were displayed in glass mason jar looking cups with handles. This was an incredibly cute touch that made the place seem that much more homey. We had to sit outside for a large amount of time because the inside was so full! When one person would leave, immediately another would swoop in. Over an hour of sitting outside, we were able to grab a prime spot at a table near the fireplace. Our blended coffees were long gone by this point so it was time to try something else. What really caught my eye was that many people had little trays that consisted of a little french roast pot, mugs, creamer, and a little sugar selection that they would bring over to their table. I couldn’t resist, so I ordered this adorable french roast set for the later half of our visit. I could not have made a better decision. I got the medium roast and it was heavenly. But honestly, the experience and touches that a place adds is just as important as the taste of the coffee. I wish I had this wonderful tray of goodness with me everywhere I went!
As I said before, Madison, Kaylee, and I all grew up in the Cypress area. I have some wonderful memories of growing up there that are extremely dear to me. One of these important memories include the elementary school that I attended Thousand Hills Coffee Company” at all. I am a pretty nostalgic person and being in this part of town really brings me down memory lane. The teachers at Willbern were honestly some of the best of the best. Of course, not everyone can be perfect, but most experiences we had there were really spectacular. I would venture to say that Willbern is a large factor to why both Madison and I want to be teachers. We had teachers there that impacted our lives for the better and invested into us not only as students but as individuals. Madison is still in contact with one of her teachers from Willbern today! Something that I long to do as a teacher is to invest and care deeply for my students’ lives. Yes, I will want them to succeed in my class, of course. But more than that, I will yearn for them to live a life of purpose and embrace the gifts, abilities, and talents that they have been so generously given. Teaching is such a calling and can impact students’ lives in ways you would never even dream. I feel honored to be going into that profession. I also know that being in teaching is going to allow many, many, many opportunities to drink unimaginably large amounts of coffee, haha. If you are in the teaching profession, you know that I am not joking!
Wow, what a day! A busy but wonderful day of exploring amazing new places sweet places full of inspiration and memories. Until next time Cypress, Tx, I’m sure we’ll see you again real soon!
, Allie Boykin
Photos by Madison Boykin
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