Café Equinox provides the perfect environment

Café Equinox is a coffee shop located inside of the Family Tree Nursery. I found the combination of nature and coffee to be very enjoyable.

by Carmon Baker, Web Editor

Maybe it was my initial excitement about visiting Café Equinox. Maybe it was the fact that, for the first time in two weeks, the temperature was not at or below 0 degrees; or maybe it was just my overall enthusiasm about the prospect of purchasing a succulent. Regardless of the reason, I was incredibly excited to visit Café Equinox. 

Café Equinox has two locations in Shawnee and Overland Park, and I visited the Shawnee location. It is located in Family Tree Nursery, and the shop’s motto is “Caffeine and Chlorophyll.” When you first enter the building, there is a register located on the right, with a small seating area on the left. Moving through the building, there is merchandise for Equinox scattered throughout the nursery.

A plant sits on a shelf in the indoor seating area of Café Equinox Feb. 20. The cafe’s slogan is “Caffeine and Chlorophyll.” photo by Carmon Baker

Transitioning out to the greenhouse, there are various seating areas for the café dispersed among the plants; overall, I loved the environment at Café Equinox. The concept of drinking coffee inside of a greenhouse was creative, innovative and could make the winter months bearable for every type of person. 

The sun shines on a group of cacti in the Family Tree Nursery Feb. 20. Café Equinox seating is scattered among the plants in the greenhouse. photo by Carmon Baker

I will say, in my experience, if you visit Café Equinox, it is for the environment, not the coffee itself. I decided on ordering a cappuccino and a cheddar chive biscuit; I felt like the coffee was a little overpriced, but it was still a solid cup of coffee. However, I would give their baked goods a 10/10. They warmed up my biscuit without me asking, showing that they cared about the little details.

Another benefit of Equinox is that, despite COVID-19, I actually felt safe being there. Since the pandemic started last March, I have not actually been back to physically eat in a restaurant or coffee shop because the idea of being around so many unmasked people in close quarters made me incredibly nervous. However, I did not feel like this at Café Equinox. Due to the tables being scattered throughout the building and greenhouse, I did not feel clumped together. It also helps that many of the seats are in the greenhouse, which has good air circulation. 

In addition, the shop itself has clearly marked social distancing spots to wait in line and multiple signs reminding customers to wear their masks. I never felt like my health was in danger at Equinox, which was definitely a plus! 

If you do decide to visit Café Equinox, here are a couple things I learned during my experience there that I think you should know. First, when you enter the coffee shop, all you see is the register and a small indoor seating area. There are not any signs indicating that they have seating in the greenhouse, so be aware that outdoor seating is an option. Also, if you’re looking for a place with an extensively long menu where you can get a fancy coffee drink with a pump of three different flavors, this is not the place for you. Equinox’s menu consists primarily of the basics, like cappuccinos, americanos and chai lattes. 

A Café Equinox cappuccino, made with double espresso, hot milk and foam, sits on a table Feb. 20. The coffee shop is located inside of the Family Tree Nursery and has two locations in Shawnee, Kansas and Overland Park, Kansas. photo by Carmon Baker

Overall, I would give my experience at Café Equinox 4.5/5 stars. In my experience, the ambiance and environment of the coffee shop/nursery combination was excellent. I give major props to whoever came up with the idea. Considering the circumstances with COVID-19, I also felt very safe at Equinox. In the end, I believe they need to work on some of the details — like more signs to advertise greenhouse seating— on the coffee shop to get it to a 5/5. But I would highly recommend visiting Café Equinox; it is absolutely worth your time.