Hello again! Hope you’ve been well since the last time we chatted. Today we’re going to offer a few quick updates on the ‘Café’ part of our name. That’s right, we’re in the process of opening a café! (cue thunderous applause)
Some of you may have heard some rumblings about the café at some point or another, but for those of you who haven’t, let me backtrack and explain a little. Our roasting facility is located in the annex of LangLab South Bend, a space we share with Violet Sky Chocolates, South Bend’s own producer of delicious bean to bar chocolate bars and truffles (surprisingly, Violet Sky’s owner Hans did not pay me to say that). Over the past year and a half or so, we’ve been slowly building out our part of the space into a café, and that construction is continuing in earnest. Below are a few before and after photos to show how far construction has come since Zen moved into LangLab.
As you can see, there’s been quite a bit of progress as of late; we’ve resurfaced the floors, built out a coffee bar, and finished painting all the walls. Much of this progress has been made possible by the addition of our new roaster in October; the Diedrich IR-12 (the big blue beast in the last photo) allows us to roast batches three times larger than we were previously able to. This means less time behind the roaster, increased coffee consistency and quality, and more time for our other projects (i.e., the café).
Though much progress has been made, there is still work to be done. The ceiling needs a new surface to comply with health department standards, and we still need to fill the space with furniture and install our brewing equipment and water filtration system. That’s the boring stuff we have to worry about, though, and the purpose of this post isn’t to bemoan the difficulty of opening a café; it’s to let you, our valued customers and friends, know that we’re hard at work bringing you a café which will be well worth the wait. We thank you for your continued patience and cannot wait for you to experience all the exciting things we have planned.
Now, because I personally can’t wait for you all to hear about some of the awesome stuff we’re going to be serving in the café, I’m going to give you a sneak preview of a few of the items we’re brainstorming. As I mentioned above, our production space is located next to that of Violet Sky Chocolates, and this proximity has led to a constantly fun and consistently delicious back and forth. The items listed below are just a fraction of the ideas we’ve been bouncing around.
Chocolate grilled cheese (Violet Sky Chocolate, locally made goat cheese, housemade bread and butter)
Coffee and truffle pairings from the same country of origin
Mochas with Violet Sky’s housemade chocolate ganache
A return of the original Zen-Violet Sky collaboration; the coffee bar (coffee+cocoa butter)
Pretty delicious sounding, eh? R&D has been quite tasty to say the least, and I can’t reiterate enough how excited we are to share all these items with you all when the time is right.
I hope you enjoyed this brief look into what the future holds for Zen Café. Check back here soon for more updates!
Until next time.