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What’s old is new again in Louisville’s hip, evolving NuLu neighborhood. The area that gets its name from a portmanteau of “New Louisville” is now home to 78 Coffee, a specialty coffee roastery and bar named for the city’s foundational year of 1778.
Amid the neighborhood’s historic building restorations, new “green” construction and a wave of new culinary, art and retail outlets, 78 Coffee opened over the summer with a fitting and fresh cup of coffee. Head Roaster Brandon Goodyear roasts the goods on site on a 5-kilo Joper machine for coffees to be brewed and served in a spacious modern industrial setting.
“We try our best to carefully craft each of our coffees to a point that is best suited for that coffee,” 78 Coffee Owner Kelly Fineman told Daily Coffee News. “For us, what that looks like is a lot of coffee tastings. We have a panel of trusted coffee aficionados who help us point out certain flavors in each coffee, both good and bad. From there we make any needed adjustments and repeat the process until we are satisfied with the outcome.”
Fineman’s previous endeavors in the coffee industry include a shop in Murray, Kentucky, called Future Grounds Neighborhood Coffee and Tea House. That shop and this one were developed in consultation with friend and mentor Gary Sawyer, formerly of Fidalgo Bay Coffee, who owns and runs his own company, Tom Sawyer Country Coffee.
“Gary was vital in creating the foundation for 78 Coffee Co.,” said Fineman. “His tutoring, his knowledge and expertise, as well as his connections in the coffee industry are and will always be valued and appreciated.”
Fineman told Daily Coffee News that he and co-founder David Hobby led the transformation of the roughly 3,000-square-foot warehouse space into a stylish coffee bar mostly on their own. Much of the structure was renovated — with all new water, gas and electric — from the new roof down to the freshly poured concrete floor.
The sleek concrete and the new white paint over exposed brick walls are balanced by warm wooden surfaces and the black and steel surfaces of the Joper and afterburner.
“We wanted to create a spot that was both unique and inviting to guests,” Fineman told DCN of the cafe where patrons enjoy drinks prepared on a 2-group Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II.
NuLu, which is already home to multiple beer breweries, a distillery, and a variety of restaurants, galleries and shops, has more improvements on the way. The local business association has announced plans to improve the area’s infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians, while adding gardens and other streetscape upgrades. Fineman said 78 Coffee plans to embrace these changes, while also keeping an eye on the future.
“We hope to expand our brand and reach throughout Louisville and surrounding counties and cities, through a combination of coffee delivery services to, one day, hopefully other coffee shops,” said Fineman. “We aim to connect people to coffee.”
78 Coffee is now open at 907 East Liberty St in Louisville, Kentucky.
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.