By Ginny Lee
Custom Cup Coffee had a soft opening at its new storefront at 321 E. Monroe St. downtown during Thanksgiving week. The shop went through 125 pounds of beans in the first week, and sales have steadily increased since then.
Brent and Kendra Boesdorfer of Custom Cup’s microroastery specialize in small batch, roast-to-order coffee and educating coffee aficionados as to where their coffee beans are grown. Both are enthusiastic about sharing their expertise on the subtleties of tasting coffee.
The Boesdorfers roast single-origin coffee beans from Kenya, Colombia, Ethiopia and other coffee-producing countries. Light, medium and dark-roasted beans and freshly made coffee can always be found at the shop. A cup of coffee goes for $2, and a custom-made Pour Over cup goes for $3. Their dry process Ethiopian Pour Over is particularly flavorful. Whole beans are priced at $7.50 for a 6-ounce bag and $15 for a 12-ounce bag.
Custom Cup buys its beans from superior growing regions and chooses beans based on quality and environmental sustainability. There is only one middleman between the coffee growers and Custom Cup roastery.
Shoppers at the Old Capitol Farmers Market will remember Custom Cup from last year’s market. The couple sold freshly roasted coffee for $1 per cup, as well as roasted coffee beans, and developed a following.
In the new shop their handsome red Diedrich coffee roaster sits right behind the handmade wood counter made locally by Roger Bachman. Bachman also created the pour-over stand. The Boesdorfers chose a made-to-order Diedrich roaster from Idaho because it uses indirect ceramic infrared heat, which makes for cleaner heat, Brent said, and because it is a family-run company with great customer loyalty.
Even the lids on the to-go coffee cups are custom-made by Viora in Seattle. With both a hole for smell and one for drinking, they are designed to enhance the flavor and smell of coffee.
Kendra Boesdorfer, who is usually behind the counter, says, “Our thing is having everything accessible, without being snooty.”
The shop is full to the brim with coffee accoutrements and personality. Customers can take home a Custom Cup diner-style coffee mug for $9 or a black Custom Cup T-shirt for $22. Both items are produced by Miles Printing of Springfield. The shop also sells red ceramic coffee drippers by Hario, just like the Boesdorfers use in their shop, for $30 each. Serious coffee drinkers may want to take home an elegant Buono drip kettle, also used in the shop, for $54.
The shop is too small for seating so coffee is served in paper cups to go, but there will be outdoor seating when the weather is warmer.
The Boesdorfers have always appreciated good coffee. Kendra is from Kansas City, Missouri, so on visits there the two would stop at The Roasterie and revel in the café’s fresh-roasted brew. After graduating from St. Louis University, they lived in the Soulard neighborhood of St. Louis. They discovered the nearby Sump Coffee shop, which fueled their interest in great coffee.
“Sump Coffee inspired us,” Kendra said, “but our business is Brent’s idea.” In October of 2013 he began roasting green coffee beans at home with a Whirly-Pop popcorn maker after reading directions online. Just 14 months later, Custom Cup has a popular storefront downtown.
Custom Cup’s roasted beans are also sold at The Market at Koke Mill, Country Market, Hy-Vee and local farmers markets. The American Harvest restaurant serves Custom Cup’s coffee. The Boesdorfers also deliver fresh-roasted beans straight to the doors of Springfield customers.
Custom Cup Coffee promises to be a haven for the connoisseur along with a fun place for anyone interested in good coffee. In keeping with the sustainability focus, their used coffee grounds go to Andy Heck and Gus Jones’ organic farm, Prairie City Farm.
Hours currently are 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call 652-6154 or see www.customcupcoffee.com.
Ginny Lee is a regular contributor to the Springfield Business Journal as a writer and photographer.