New shops buzz is about more than caffeine.
St. Louis is swimming in great coffee. Whether that makes us educated or addicted is hard to say, but it does make us the perfect launch pad for innovative coffee venues.
One of the newest is Chronicle Coffee, which just opened a second location in Grand Center. Its owner, Jason Wilson, has made a name for himself both as an entrepreneur in an underserved North St. Louis neighborhood and as the owner of the highly respected Northwest Coffee Roasting Co., which micro-roasts beans from sustainable operations in Africa and South America.
Another roaster jumping into the brick-and-mortar business is Goshen Coffee, an Edwardsville-based company that previously only sold wholesale beans. The Goshen Tasting Room at 4 Hands Brewery, open since September, operates Thursday through Sunday mornings with some of the perks that have become requisite: an espresso bar, pour-overs and batch-brewed coffee.
Clayton’s Whitebox Eatery, a sleek, sophisticated space from local restaurateur Brendan Marsden, is a perfect backdrop for getting at the bare essentials of a coffee menu: espresso ( brewed by forcing nearly-boiling water through finely ground beans), cortado (espresso “cut” with warm milk), flat white (espresso with less milk than a latte but more than a cortado), and of course cappuccino (espresso with hot milk and steamed milk foam).
Don’t forget to make a stop by the Wayfarer Coffee stand at the Kirkwood Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings. Tim Drescher of Kuva Coffee and barista Paul Nahrgang, who rolled out the fully nomadic operation in August, give on-the-spot demonstrations of the V60 coffee drippers they use. For a really in-depth tutorial, ask about their experimental brewing methods or the single-origin beans and proprietary roasts.
Although Wayfarer has, by design, no permanent home at the moment, that may not last forever. Just ask Chris Phillips, head roaster at ArtHouse Coffees. From a modest start five years ago—the small-batch roaster’s primary outlet was a stall at the Schlafly Farmers Market—Phillips and his business partner, baker Nate Larson, have grown to the point where it made good business sense to open a shop called the Living Room this month in Maplewood. In the can-do spirit that infuses local coffee companies, they launched an Indiegogo campaign in September to help fund the project.
Fall is the perfect time to enjoy the jolt of energy these talented entrepreneurs bring to the local coffee scene. And it doesn’t hurt that they all offer baked goodies, too.
Photo credit: Christopher Gibbons