We Couldn't Have Said It Better!
A few months ago a review of our shop was passed along to us from Annette Sebastian. Anne organizes a group of "newcomers" who have just moved to the Eastern Shore and need to plug into the community. One of her members, Cori, wrote an amazing review of Soul Caffeine that articulates our vision perfectly.
Soul Caffeine. I saw the sign as I drove north on Highway 98 on my weekly grocery relay. “Daphne, has a coffee shop now? Thank God!” Those were my immediate sentiments. What kept me from pulling into the place was my chatty, locomotive toddler in the backseat. Visions of catastrophe, fraught with shattered china, spilt milk, and flying sugar packets, danced across my brain. Big sigh, as I passed the shop that time and several other times on my daily back-and-forth. I would ask myself, “How bad do I need coffee right now?” What took my courage away, if I was honest with myself, was the name Soul Caffeine. At first, I thought it indicated a hipster, coffee connoisseur sort of place, in which case an invisible sign “Adults Only” flashed underneath the Open sign. However, after a few weeks, my curiosity, and a fight-for-your-rights-come-what-may attitude stealing over me (that’s what lack of coffee will do to you!), drove me into the parking lot and into the coffee dealer, baby on my hip.
It seemed dark at first. I realized that the walls were chalkboard! Fun, I thought, thinking of my daughter. And then, I saw it. A kids’ corner. There was a train-set table, a cupboard of books, a shelf of kitchenette toys, and chalk! My kid bee-lined it for the hub, which gave me the opportunity to look around. The interior gave the impression of ease with a clean, finished look to it. The menu board was simple to find and navigate. One thing, in particular, further secured my customer fealty. Star symbol: No extra charge for soy or almond milk. Perhaps, you have an imaginary business in which everything is conducted in a logical and just way. Well, my business is a coffee shop, in which one who has dairy allergies is not forced to pay extra for substituting milk for non-dairy milk. “High-way robbery,” as Anne of Green Gables would say.
The man at the counter was patient with me as I looked over all the menu items and then fretted interiorly about which to choose. He was by no means anti-kid and didn’t seem to mind my daughter forming her own country, replete with landmarks on the floor, in the kids’ corner. It was refreshing not to receive a glare that pointedly ushered me and my offspring out the door as soon as possible. (This is not always the case, but when it happens the experience colors every future attempt to enter society in the world-at-large.)
The name Soul Caffeine, I learned from my barista friend, comes from a desire to bring people together into community through the shared experience of coffee. Hence, the soul is refreshed through the refreshment of coffee. Soul Caffeine is an establishment that encourages slowing down enough to smell the roses, so to speak—or, I should say, to smell the fresh ground beans and the pull of the espresso as it issues into the shot glass. There are armchairs for friends, tables for meetings, and high tops for the worker tired of the office. There are toys for the kids and benches for mommies, and helpful staff that insists you are entirely happy with your drink.
I cannot end without mentioning the quotes on the wall, differentiated by hanging frames. One particularly struck me as meant for my pleasure. It read, “Every man should make his woman coffee. It even says it in the Bible: ‘Hebrew’.” With that in mind, and with a baby perched on my hip, I walked out less harried than I went in, confident that every mom in the park would hear about Soul Caffeine by the end of the day.
When we decided to open Soul Caffeine, this is the exact experience we hoped to provide. Our goal is to provide great coffee, great service, and an atmosphere that encourages people to stay.