Reverie Coffee Roasters celebrates first year of business

06/12/2014 4:40 PM

08/08/2014 10:24 AM

When Andrew Gough opened Reverie Coffee Roasters a year ago, he had an idea of what he wanted the shop to be: a mostly wholesale coffee roasting business where coffee aficionados also could have retail access to high-quality beans roasted on site.

It wasn’t going to be a cafe, he said, but he had set up a couple of tables and would brew cups for people who wanted to sample his coffee.

Now, as Gough prepares to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the business, which opened last June in a 3,000 square space at 2611 E. Douglas, Gough has learned that sometimes plans change.

Though the shop is going strong with its wholesale and retail business, Gough’s customers have demanded more than just a couple of tables to enjoy the fresh-roasted coffee and unique, sophisticated “slow-bar” preparations that Reverie offers, from French presses to pour overs.

“We listened to our customers,” said Gough, who also was one of the original members of the Wichita Eagle Dining Panel. “It started off with ‘You need more seating. You need Internet.’ There was a vibe all of the sudden. They wanted more people to serve them. Now people want food, and that’s the next step. We respond to their needs, but we do it slowly rather than jump in all at once. We slowly evolve.”

Now, Reverie has a regular clientele that likes to linger in the shop, which features exposed brick, warm red walls, wide-plank wood floors, and six long wooden tables Gough made himself, each fitted with retro wooden classroom chairs salvaged from a school.

During the course of the year, Gough and his wife, Katie, parted ways with their initial partner, and that was just one of many changes. Gough has made Reverie a Final Friday stop, where visitors can look at art, sample coffee, listen to live music and dine at a food truck parked out front. He’s also added Friday-afternoon “cuppings,” which are like wine tastings for coffee lovers, who must reserve the spots in advance to take part.

The shop also has been the site of several coffee workshops, and in November, Gough hired Ian Miller to work as his head roaster. Miller, a former customer who was an active home roaster, works on Reverie’s giant barrel roaster, turning raw beans from Ethiopia, Columbia, Mexico, Sumatra and Guatemala into perfectly roasted works of coffee bean art. He roasts once a week on the machine that’s set up toward the back of the shop, and can roast up to 44 pounds of coffee beans at once.

Miller starts roasting beans midmorning on Tuesdays, and customers like to watch him work and ask questions, he said. Miller and his wife Jubilee, who how manages the wholesale side of the business, are longtime fans of high-end coffee, he said, and Reverie fills a niche that was missing in Wichita.

“The whole experience is pretty unique for Wichita, to be honest,” he said. “Our coffee scene is pretty behind what you would see on the coasts or even in other regional cities like Kansas City or Denver or Oklahoma City. We don’t have a lot of people in Wichita doing a lot of the things we see like the manual brew methods. The atmosphere is pretty cool, and people like that they can come in and see the exposed brick and the wood floors and they can sit there and watch us roast.”

Customers can buy the beans to brew at home for $14.99 a pound, and Reverie also has become a coffee supplier for Cocoa Dolce, for whom Reverie roasts a special blend, plus Watermark Books, Caffe Moderne, the Ambassador Hotel and Cow and Sow Deli. Reverie also has developed a relationship with El Dorado’s Walnut River Brewing, which is using a cold brew concentrate from Reverie in its porter.

Gough and his staff of nine also have developed an extensive coffee menu featuring coffee manual preparations rare in Wichita. The pour over coffee maker, for example, produces a pure-tasting cup of coffee when users pour hot water over coffee grounds and let the brew drip through filter. AeroPress coffee is prepared by steeping coffee then forcing it through a filter with a plunger. The methods take longer than traditional coffee makers, but the result is worth it, Gough says. Reverie also sells most of the unique coffee makers in the store.

“We have a very loyal customer base,” Gough said. “If you’re really into the coffee scene and coffee is your thing, people have found this is a place where they are pretty comfortable.”

Next up for Reverie is the addition of prepared food items. As early as next week, Gough plans to begin serving sandwiches prepared by Douglas Avenue Chop Shop, locally produced biscotti, muffins and more.

Also next week, Reverie will host a first birthday party. At 7 p.m. on June 21, Reverie will show the documentary “Connected by Coffee,” about coffee makers in Central America, in the shop. Tickets are free and are available at Reverie.

The day’s anniversary events also will feature taco truck Chino Parrilla selling food in front of the store from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and live jazz from 10 a.m. to noon.

About Denise Neil

Denise has been an Eagle reporter since 1997. She writes about pop culture on Sundays, reviews restaurants on Fridays and blogs at Dining with Denise. Previously, she worked for the Chattanooga Times and graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Kansas.

Contact Denise at 316-268-6327 or by e-mailing dneil@wichitaeagle.com

Follow Denise on Twitter: @DeniseNeil

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