Last week, I had the pleasure of having coffee with A.J. at BREW coffee bar. During our meeting, he shared with me a story about a memorable dinner party with neighbors that took place years ago. A friend had brought single-origin coffee to the party and A.J. was convinced it couldn't beat his International Delight. If it wasn't for his friend suggesting A.J. give it a shot, Raleigh may not have BREW. He was shocked. Entranced by the flavor of the brew, A.J. was immediately obsessed with good coffee. His story followed with him and his best friend Mike purchasing wholesale coffee from around the Triangle. They couldn't consume it all--so they gave extra bags to friends. The fascination caught many and sure enough, they launched a coffee delivery service called Raleigh Coffee Club. Palates matured across RDU. A.J. formed relationships with great coffee people like roasters, shop owners, baristas and dwellers. Unfortunately, the excitement of pulling up in front of offices with bags of coffee and educational moments wasn't sustainable. So, they shutdown the operation.
But like any great movie, where all good things seem lost, A.J. and Mike had a better idea. Together, they kickstarted the idea of BREW, a coffee bar about embracing diverse relationships and excellent service. Nestled in the eclectic Seaboard Station of Downtown Raleigh, A.J. channels values he learned as a kid working in his family's restaurant. A.J. and Mike hope to communicate the message that people are valued at BREW. Of course I had to inquire about his brew of choice. His response was a naturally processed Ethiopian pour over. Black. He explained to me, "It's super volatile, hard to brew well, but worth it. Like many feats in life, it creates memories."