Coffee Together. Those are the words you see on the wall when you walk into Cultivate Coffee Roasters. After sitting down with owners Ben and Alex I do not think there are two better words to describe them. Ben is extremely passionate about coffee, which was evident simply by the way he talked about it, and Alex is all about community. Together they knew they wanted to be business owners and have a place where people could come together and build community. Despite only being open a few days I believe they have built something that is here to stay, and I could not be more excited!
They officially opened on July 17th and Ben described their opening date as a moving target, which is why they really did not announce it ahead of time. The lack of announcement did not seem to matter. I was there at 9:50am on day two and you could tell good news travels fast. Extremely fast. I was there for over an hour and the door was ever revolving. At no time were there less than thirty people enjoying their freshly brewed coffee and treats, whether they were working on their computers or just hanging out with friends and their children. I usually drink my coffee with sugar but opted for straight black to get a better idea of the flavor. They offer light, medium, and dark roast coffee. It was smooth and did not leave a bitter after-taste that a lot of coffee’s do. Next time I visit I will definitely be ordering the Nutella Latte. I personally think Nutella is one of the greatest inventions on earth, so what could be better than Nutella and coffee together? Probably not a lot of things.
Ben and Alex have been working on their brick and mortar location since April 2017. The building they currently occupy was built back in the sixties. It was the original EMS/Fire Station for the town and has been a few different businesses throughout the years. One of the things that took longer than expected was the permits and rezoning of the property. In addition to the aesthetic changes, they had to replace all the wiring, insulation and drywall and cut into the floors to add plumbing for the coffee bar. It was definitely a labor of love which shows in the feeling of home you get when you visit. Which, when I described it as that, is what Alex said she was going for. Her vision for the shop was “homey” so I would say she hit that nail right on the head.
Ben started roasting coffee at home almost five years ago because he simply wanted to see if he could do it. He realized it was fun and way better tasting than what he was getting at the stores so they decided to take it a bit further. They started selling the coffee to friends and eventually grew it into a full-blown business once word traveled. They described it along the same lines as an at-home bakery, but for coffee. Unbeknownst to me, it has actually become extremely popular for people to roast their own coffee. I will not be one of the people taking it up as a hobby so they can count on my continued business.
I asked Ben to give me a bit of background on how he acquires the coffee. Coffee beans are a commodity that is imported. A lot of coffee comes to the states via ships through huge importers that are in terminals in Jersey and New York (the only place you could grow coffee in the States is Hawaii). The coffee brought in at these terminals are mostly for the larger companies such as Starbucks who are purchasing massive amounts at a time. There are smaller importers that buy smaller quantities and are willing to break them up more to sell to smaller businesses such as Cultivate. Ben has a specific importer he has built a relationship with and enjoys working with because they have similar tastes. Ben knows whichever beans his importer brings in he is going to like them since their palates are so alike. His importer does the work to source it, get it into the country and even finding where the bean is best, meaning if it is going to be roasted as a light, medium or dark. Makes the process a bit easier on Ben and Alex’s end!
Overall the shop is very open, airy, and definitely stroller and kid-friendly, which is a huge plus for us parents!. They have one section at the front where they sell their bagged coffee and some t-shirts. They have an abundance of tables, both inside and out, and even have a smaller table and chairs where kids can sit to enjoy their treats. They have a more relaxed comfy area at the back with sofas and upholstered chairs if you plan on staying for a while.
In addition to their coffee (drip, pour over and french press) and drink offerings, which include loose teas and lattes, they also have baked goods and ice cream. They have it set up as a sub-lease rev-share type situation to help these smaller businesses as a stepping stone to having the brick and mortar they might not yet be able to afford. I got to chat shortly with Heather, the baker and owner of Bestow Baked Goods, who is responsible for the scrumptious cupcakes, donut holes, cookies, and scones. Her selection of baked goods will rotate but she has a few favorites that you will likely always be able to get. I tried the sweet potato with orange donut holes that were tossed in cinnamon sugar and they were mouth-watering good! Anthony Adams is the man behind the ice cream and he also makes it in-house. It is kind of his muse and a great addition to the coffee shop since there is not an ice cream shop on that side of town. I went back for a second visit in the afternoon with my mother and son and we tried three different flavors of ice cream – Blueberry Cheesecake, Key Lime Pie, and Meyer Lemon Cookie. The key lime pie was divine and tasted like I was eating a piece of freshly baked pie. The Meyer Lemon Cookie was my mothers favorite as she is a huge fan of all things lemon.
All of the milk used in the coffees and ice cream is brought in from an Amish farm where the cows are all grass-fed. Eventually, they plan on stocking the milk in varying sizes so you can purchase it and enjoy the freshness at home. They also offer a coffee subscription service where you can get their fresh roasted coffee delivered to your doorstep either once a month, twice a month, or weekly. Delivery is free as long as you live in Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, Apex or Cary. They do not offer flavored coffees that you would buy off the shelf at your local grocery store. The only “flavor” the coffee gets is from the environment where it was grown.
I personally am thrilled to have a new coffee shop that offers tasty, affordable coffee and is welcoming to not only adults who wish to grab a cup and do some work, but also to adults with children! I hope you get a chance to check out Cultivate soon and enjoy this new little gem in the heart of Fuquay-Varina.
Fun Facts about Ben & Alex
- Ben was the pastor at Summit Church for the past five years!
- Alex is fluent in Spanish
- They have two boys together