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Plans percolating for new Main Street coffee shop

August 13, 2014 - Curt Catallo and his wife Ann Stevenson love Clarkston – that's why they keep opening new businesses here.

"Pride starts on Main Street," Catallo said. "We can see downtown from our bedroom."

"Union Joints," including Clarkston Union, Union Woodshop, and Adworks, will soon also include a coffee shop at the corner of Clarkston Road and Main Street.

"Right now we are regrouping and getting all our ducks in a row," he said. "The coffee shop is still a ways out and we expect the process will take anywhere from six months to one year."

The process includes approval of site plans and permits by the City of the Village of Clarkston.

Catallo said he and his team are working on contamination and traffic issues.

"We are not looking to add additional traffic we are looking to do business with existing traffic. That is why we worked so hard on the engineering plans," he said. "We took all the issues into consideration and spent the last year doing due diligence on the property. I know everything there is to know about that site, and nothing has scared me away."

Catallo and Stevenson enjoy re-purposing old buildings with creative themes.

"Ann and I like to preserve what is there, and that's what we are planning with the muffler shop building, we will re-purpose it," he said.

Although exact plans for the coffee theme are still in the works, Catallo said he and Stevenson might keep the two bays in the building, which is presently used by an automotive repair shop. An addition is also planned for the building.

"We will leave the building as original as possible," said Catallo. "That's what drew us to the building, its historical and it's just a really charming place. Ann looks at old buildings like that and she sees the charm. We think if Hansel and Gretel needed to stop and get gas they would stop there."

When the shop opens, the menu will include coffee, pastries, snacks, baked goods and sandwiches.

Coffee roaster John Steen and his company Clutch Coffee will be making sure the best coffee is served. Catallo is excited to work with Steen, and said he is confident in him and his staff's talents, passions and commitment.

Clutch Coffee, started this year, focuses on hand-crafted and small batches of coffee production.

"People don't realize how many steps there are in the coffee chain. There are so many steps from the farm to the cup," said Steen.

After beans are harvested, the coffee must be roasted.

"It's a hands on artistic process in which all senses must be utilized," he said. "There are many factors from like the amount of time to the temperature the beans are roasted. When I'm roasting I listen to the beans crack, I listen, as I watch for smoke to know when the beans are ready."

Steen will prepare the beans 1/2 pound and a pound at a time--a process he learned by preparing batches for friends and family. Small batches of coffee ensure high quality freshness, he said.

Coffee beans have different flavors and come from all different parts of the world. Flavor of the beans depend on their origin, or what area of the world they come from. While he processes the beans, one of Steen's goals is to preserve the "origin" or taste of the beans and keep the integrity of the flavor in the coffee.

"It's the roasting process that draws out the flavor," he said.

Coffee to be served at the shop will include flavors based on the season, and at any given time, several different types of coffee from all over the world will be offered.

Roasting captures the "flavor" of coffee.

Each week, Steen orders 30 pounds of what is called "green coffee". This is where the process starts with green coffee beans that must be processed.

"It's a really cool process," said Steen.

Visitors can expect a theatrical experience when visiting the shop, as they will watch the coffee being prepared.

As for some tips for the average coffee drinker, Steen has a few.

"A lot of people add heavy cream to coffee and I recommend be enjoyed the black, so the drinker can enjoy the true flavor of the coffee. I encourage everyone to try it, brew you coffee and drink it black, as the coffee cools you will notice how the flavor develops. It gets sweeter. As it cools you can experience a range in the coffee's flavor. It gets juicier and brighter-something you will only notice if you don't add cream and sugar," he said.

Staff writer covering Independence Township and Clarkston area.
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