Justin Hartig didn't know a lot about the coffee he was drinking until he realized how much he loved it. So three years ago, he began his studies, visiting as many coffee venues as he could to learn about the power of caffeinated brews.
In February, Hartig's thirst for knowledge culminated in his newest adventure: a 1950s-themed coffee shop with creative coffee drinks in downtown DeWitt. Located at 116 N. Bridge St., The Crafted Bean serves up a half-a-dozen non-alcoholic coffee cocktails that mirror the momentum of the craft brew pub scene.
Customers entering Hartig's shop won't find staff serving up lattes and cappuccinos, but instead a selection of seven coffee drinks that fall on the sweet to savory spectrum. The popular drinks bear monikers like "Bliss," "Chubby Checker" and "Smoking Gun" with blends of ingredients like coconut cream, peanut butter, honey and vanilla extract, or infusions of smoke chips and cherry oil.
"We're the third wave of coffee," says Hartig. "We put our own stamp on things. We're creating a culture. There's a process to what goes on here."
The Crafted Bean carries and uses bean from Caveman Coffee, Lucky Duck Premium Coffee, Fresso Coffee Company, and Craft and Mason, and features Blue Owl nitro on tap. Groovy Donuts supplies carbs for dunking.
While coffee cocktails and cold brew are the main attraction, customers are also drawn to the "outlaw" décor. A mural of Johnny Cash provides a focal point within an interior that combines wood beams and rough-cut paneling, runs of aluminum piping, and a black-and-white vinyl floor. A life-sized stand-up of Elvis behind bars doing the "jailhouse rock" evokes memories of when the space was once a bank.
Customers can enjoy an occasional live performance on a small stage. A record exchange invites music lovers to spin vinyl provided by the Record Lounge, as well as to take home a vinyl album from the donated bin.
"We've had a packed house since we've opened," says Hartig. "Once you step in here, you say, 'oh, I get it,' and come back."
Hartig is currently developing his concept for an outside coffee garden that will feature a performance stage. He also purchased a food trailer, and sets his sites on going mobile with a coffee bar and craft waffles to select destinations.
"I love the way this town is going," says Hartig, who also owns the training studio the Human Performance Institute down the block. "Places like Bridge Street Social and the upcoming Looking Glass Brewing Company are making this place a cultural hub. We fit in well. We're friendly outlaws. I think everyone likes us."
The Crafted Bean can seat about 42 people, and created six jobs—three full-time.
Source: Justin Hartig, Owner, The Crafted Bean
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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