Brash Coffee, an Atlanta-based artisan importer and roaster of international coffee, is opening its first coffee shop in Chattanooga in February 2014. Until now, Brash Coffee has been available only through select restaurants and boutique retailers or to those who seek out owner Matt Ludwikowski at his Peachtree Street office in Atlanta. Early next year, the search will be over for Chattanoogans when Brash Coffee opens its location in Warehouse Row Building North.
Mr. Ludwikowski is a barista whose craft-brewed coffee won the Southeast Regional Brewers Cup in 2012 and scored in the top six in the National Brewers Cup competition. The idea for Brash Coffee emerged while visiting Laguneta, El Salvador two years ago in search of the perfect coffee and an understanding of how it is farmed. What Mr. Ludwikowski found was both an education and a business concept that has grown into a burgeoning industry. Since then, he has been back to El Salvador more than a dozen times, to negotiate fair terms for land and water, collaborate and work with farmers to grow and harvest coffee, and provide them with the tools to make a livable wage.
Through fair wages and an honest, relationship-driven business with coffee growers in El Salvador and now others in Central and South America, Ludwikowski has built a business importing the freshest high-quality coffee beans, scientifically roasting them and hand-brewing his own coffee.
“Coffee should be approachable, not pretentious, and the concept here is about sharing. I’ve noticed coffee tends to bring folks from many walks of life together who all share a common passion – good coffee and good times with one another,” said Mr. Ludwikowski. “I’m really excited about becoming part of Chattanooga’s local coffee culture and contributing to it.”
Brash Coffee’s Warehouse Row location will be accessible through both a Market Street storefront and an interior entrance, easily accessible by the building’s office lofts. The 1,089-square-foot space created by award-winning, Atlanta-based designer Smith Hanes will feature a raw, utilitarian, Southern workspace that pays homage to Warehouse Row’s history and represents Brash Coffee’s values of simplicity and sustainability. With no traditional point-of-sale counters, the coffee shop will be built around a large, standing community table where all brewing and interaction takes place — making the space conducive to conversation and interaction. At the 12-foot table, Mr. Ludwikowski and his team of baristas will hand-brew coffee, espresso beverages and coffee cherry tea, a tea brewed from the dried berries of coffee plants. The shop will also sell locally made sweet, savory and vegan hand pie pastries.
Mr. Ludwikowski will introduce Brash Coffee to the Chattanooga community this weekend through a pop-up shop at Warehouse Row featuring hand-brewed coffee from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. Friday through Monday. The pop-up will also offer gift items, including freshly roasted Brash Coffee beans and Chemex brewers and filters. After the first of the year, Mr. Ludwikowski and other award-winning baristas throughout the Southeast will begin training staff for the Warehouse Row shop, which will employ up to 10 Chattanooga baristas.
“Brash Coffee has an accessible, approachable take on the traditional coffee shop,” said George Krauth, vice president of Jamestown, which owns and manages Warehouse Row. “Their style is very fitting for Chattanooga, and a welcome addition to Warehouse.”