role Co-Owner, Tea Apprentice
region Minneapolis, Key West
tasting notes Dragonfruit, Purple Basil, Manna
How did you come into starting something like an entire coffee shop?
It didn’t start as a coffee shop per se, and I think that was really helpful. Coming out of high school, all I knew was that I wanted to exercise math and logical thinking in whatever I ended up doing. And that’s a pretty huge target to aim for, but, ironically, doesn’t really scream, ‘open a teahouse’. But there was also that inner child that wanted to do something with meaning and connection to it. I valued the community that gathers around cafe spaces, and I wanted to find a way to contribute to it. They’re an essential part of social life—especially in the city, where keeping yourself centered is difficult, what with thousands of cars flying by and life rushing past you while you’re working at a dead sprint. I believe an ideal coffeehouse is a space for sharing experiences, conversations, ideas, and flavors—all those things work together to make a sort of oasis. It’s immediately noticeable when you walk into a space designed for that: your shoulders relax, you take a deeper breath... That’s what I wanted to create, both for a community in Minneapolis and across the world. I suppose that’s what I mean.
Where do you think that value of community came from?
Well, I actually grew up in an island town, which has an interesting way of instilling values into you. Things tend to move quickly, despite nobody actually being in a hurry—it’s a tough paradox to describe, but if you’ve ever lived in a culture like it, you’ll probably know what I’m referring to. I think that sort of atmosphere naturally tugs you into a meandering pace of life, and you tend to take each day at a time, sort of weaving and flowing around life as it goes on. You get more time with people, simply. Maybe that’s a part of how it all developed in me?
Do you find that coffee culture has pulled you out of that island pace?
I’m a tea drinker first, and getting pulled into the coffee world was definitely a wake-up call in a lot of ways. But it’s been a good transition, I think! Some combination of these Minnesota winters and hectic espresso rushes has pulled me into a different pace of life, that’s for sure. But you learn to see it all over again in whatever new life-norm you find yourself in. I tend to like the dichotomy; using both sides to balance me out.
Is there still some dream from those early days that’s remained in the back of your mind throughout the development of Wesley Andrews?
To explain that, I should back up and clarify one more thing—beyond just living in an island town, for a while my family lived on a sailboat, and we did a lot of traveling in that way. So, with that background in mind, I dreamed up this plan to somehow make an expedition at getting a boat of my own and sailing to different regions of the world to track down and source more unique products from farmers by hand. I expect any idea like that to manifest in a very different way than my original vision of it, but...well, you never know.
top five Josh Garrels
The Legend of Zelda