Friday, January 15, 2010

Copper River Coffee and Tea

Most of the coffee shops I go to don't do coffee well. I can't tell you how many times I've had the sinking suspicion the person making my coffee doesn't actually drink the stuff. So when I find a place that's different I like to point it out. I went to Copper River this morning. Copper River is a coffee house locally owned in Peoria, IL that specializes in gourmet espresso beverages, whole bean sales, and loose leaf teas. They have a decent selection of single source small batch coffee's for sale all clearly marked with roast dates and all fresh.

Copper River Coffee and Tea is the continuation of what used to be Kade's Coffee and Tea. Formerly the manager of Kade's, the current owner of Copper River was approached by the owner of Kade's during the summer of 08' and was asked if he would like to purchase the assets of the company, essentially, buying everything that made Kade's what it was. The owner of Copper established Copper River Inc. in October of 08' and at the cusp of the new year had purchased all the equipment and inventory of the former company, officially opening Copper River on January 2 of 2009.

Their mission as stated on their web site is to providing the best quality of coffee you can find and to make all your experiences enjoyable. They strive to find ways to cut the artificial out of their drinks and to provide a high level of freshness. As such they do not use powders or pre-mixes. They provided great customer service. They are not yet up to the level of the very best coffee houses in the state such as Coffee Hound in Bloomington. But if you have a question concerning a drink or about a particular single origin coffee, they will probably have the answer.

The employees are expected to learn as much as they can about coffee and tea, and their web site claims employees are encouraged to take their own initiative to go to seminars, check out other shops states away, or read relevant literature.

At the current point in time, they are slowly coming into their own with roasting operations here at our shop. They have a small 4lb roaster. I bought a lb of espresso blend from them as I am totally out of beans. The beans were not roasted on the premise but they were roasted by a local roaster. I didn't ask who. Leaves and Beans perhaps? I am going to buy beans on Tuesday. They are going to roast on Monday.I don't know what beans they are getting specifically. Because of the small capacity, they can't produce enough inventory for all their needs.

I asked for a skim milk latte and a single shot of espresso. Both were decent but not up to the extraordinary level of a shot from Coffee Hound. The guy doing the art messed it up but the owner or manager, I'm not sure which, was patient with him and told him not to sweat it. I am sure they will eventually get it down. The shop was fairly busy.

I would say they are the next best thing to CH in the area but they are close enough I can easily stop by. It's certainly the best coffee house in Peoria. The cafe is warm and inviting. It would be a nice place to sit and read a book. I don't know if they have wi-fi. They have a drive through. You can talk with the baristas who are friendly enthusiastic young guys that seem to be fairly knowledgeable. It's not in a great location for foot traffic but War Memorial gets fairly busy and that might be enough to keep them viable. Coffee is a brutal business. In the end it will come down to whether they can differentiate from all the other coffee shop / cafe's in town that really are not about the coffee.

I hope they do well and continue to build on their enthusiasm. Go give them a try. I give them a thumbs up.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Every why has a wherefore.........................................

Tynamite said...

Definetly not Leaves and Beans. We get our coffee from a much better local roaster out of Washington, IL. Thanks for the review! We greatly appreciate it. We are working towards being the best in the area. A few baristas from Coffee Hound actually come visit from time to time to get some our our drinks :) Thanks again!