The business of coffee relies on the shared passion of coffee people all over the world, and this section is dedicated to introducing the members of our diverse, dynamic supply chain. Here we ask a few fun questions of our partners at origin, our employees, and our customers; and we share their answers with you so that you can get to know them like we do—in their own words.
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Spruce Street Espresso, PhiladelphiaIn March 2008, Spruce Street Espresso opened its door with the intent to serve quality coffee and knowledge about the product from bean to cup to the people of Philadelphia. Mother and daughter, Betty and Faith, have traveled to origin, with the opportunity to forge a relationship with renowned producer, Aida Batlle, of Finca Mauritania in El Salvador, Betty’s home country. Betty’s passionate about direct trade; she believes she helps sustain not only the environment, but people working on the coffee farms, too. Customers who crowd the tiny corner space Spruce Street Espresso occupies get to see that passion in action. Whether it's dialog on tasting notes or helping customers decide how and what to brew at home, Betty and her quartet of passionate baristas are so happy to serve the neighborhood.
Q: How long have you been open?
We originally opened April 2007 as Mochima Café. We have been open as Spruce Street Espresso since March 2008, after a serious re-evaluation and re-vamping of how we wanted to serve and present our coffee.
Q: What made you want to open a coffeehouse? What was your inspiration?
With the decline of the real estate industry, I decided to try something completely different, a coffee shop. Being an immigrant, I was looking for a business that could help families working on coffee farms
Q: What did you do before operating this business (career before coffee)?
I worked in the Real Estate industry working as a loan originator
Q: What kind of establishment is Spruce Street Espresso?
Spruce Street Espresso likes to serve quality coffee, but also help educate the customer about tasting notes as well as origin. We like to think of Spruce Street Espresso as a Cheers coffee shop… where everyone knows your name and your order when you walk in the door. ;o)
Q: Tell us about your customers: what kind of demographic do you cater most to? Are you a destination location or more of a neighborhood establishment? When are your busiest times and why?
Most of our customers are neighborhood locals, but we have a fair amount of students from Jefferson Medical School and other universities, as well as doctors and nurses from the surrounding hospitals.
Our busiest times are usually early morning when people are on their way to work and again in the afternoon.
Q: Paint us a visual picture of Spruce Street.
We sit on a cute little corner in Center City Philadelphia. We have large French windows, which allow the sun to shine through all day long, and during the warm weather months we are able to open them up. There is plenty of outdoor seating in the spring, summer, and fall and also the banquette seating inside to have cozy conversations.
Q: Tell us about your menu and most popular/favorite/quirkiest item on it.
We try to keep our menu simple. We have one size for all of our beverages, which makes the ordering process smoother during the rushes. Our quirkiest drink is our Mexican hot chocolate/mocha. It’s a chocolate fudge infused with cinnamon and chipotle pepper. It’s been a huge hit since being introduced to the menu this year! We also serve a babyccino – a cappuccino cup filled with froth and chocolate sprinkles – for our little guests so that they may enjoy a drink with their parents.
Q: Can you tell us something about how you came to develop a personal relationship with world renowned coffee producer Aida Batlle?
I came to know Aida when I travelled to El Salvador to visit my family. I wanted to visit the farm that produced for us such delicious coffee here in Philadelphia! My daughter Faith also got to know and become friends with Aida the following year when she visited during harvest and got to help pick the crop for the following year. I visited Aida again this February, and we are currently working on a project help a school for kids with cerebral palsy (Hogar de Parálisis Cerebral "Roberto Callejas Montalvo"- HOPAC) by producing hand bags made out of the coffee burlap sacks. Proceeds from the sales of these burlap bags will also go to the local Finca Mauritania school.