Coeur Coffeehouse Strives For More Than Just Great Coffee | Business
Coffee shops aren't anything new for the small district on the north side of the Monroe Street bridge. But the Coeur Coffeehouse at the northwest corner of Monroe and College Avenue is different and built on a business model that most would consider a little backwards.
"We generally like to buy high and sell low," said Mike Garrison, owner of Coeur. "It essentially means that we're not trying to make a profit by buying to cheapest ingredients and selling them at a high price. We buy good quality products and keep our prices low."
The coffee shop buys its milk from Spokane Family Farms located in west Spokane county.
"We go out to the farm and we give the farmer the cash and get the milk directly from the guy who is milking the cow," said Garrison.
The word "coeur" is the French word for "heart."
Talking with Garrison it's clear he wants his coffeehouse to be the heart of the neighborhood.
"Oh, yeah. We send people up the street for coffee at Indaba," said Barista Keaton Violet who is one of four full-time employees. "We send people over to Stella's for food and they send people over here for coffee."
Opening a coffee shop in this economy may sound like a risky venture but you have to go back to Garrison's business model and his vision for giving people a place to build relationships.
"It was a gamble but there's no use preaching to the choir. We didn't want to set up shop where there's no difference to be made," said Garrison. "When you take money out of the equation it opens a lot of opportunity. I'm trying to make something nice in an area that wasn't before."
Garrison is using the positive influence of the coffee shop and its customers to drive out drug and crime problems.
In just three months, he and Violet say they've seen a difference.
"I think they were made uncomfortable by people coming to the shop and it's cleaned up a lot. It was pretty ghetto," said Garrison.
The shop features an open airy feeling seating area that's meant to give people a great place to enjoy coffee and conversation.
There aren't a lot of fancy drinks listed on the menu, but Garrison guarantees it will be quality coffee.
One of Coeur's specialties is Chemex.
It's a process that uses an hour-glass shaped glass flask that extracts just the right amount off coffee from the beans.
The coffee is carefully measured and the coarse grounds are put into a filter on the top of the flask.
A carefully-measured amount of water is brought just to a boil and as the temperature is brought back down to about 205 degrees, it's poured gently onto the grounds.
The water is allowed to soak through the grounds for precisely four minutes and then the water left over and the grounds are discarded, leaving a rich cup of perfectly extracted coffee below.
"A lot of people drink coffee, but they don't get properly extracted coffee," states Garrison. "Once they do, they never go back."
Coeur also makes its syrups, chocolate and caramel sauce from scratch, using organic flavors and no artificial sweeteners.
Garrison hopes the expansion of Kendall Yards will eventually bring more business to his coffee house but if that doesn't happen, that's okay with him.
He's already found success.
"Extremely successful. My definition of rich has nothing to do with money," said Garrison. "We're making enough money to keep the doors open. I won't be buying a Ferrari anytime soon. But we're doing good."