The roasting room of Zen Cafe Coffee Roasters just got a lot more public.
The South Bend coffee roaster opened a tasting room alongside where it roasts at LangLab, the business incubator that is its home at 1302 High Street.
Owner Shaun Maeyens isn’t envisioning the coffee shop with pastries and light lunch. It’s a place to showcase the coffees he and Bret Colman roast.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to open a tasting room,” Maeyens said.
Zen Cafe supplies coffee to a number of restaurants and retailers around South Bend, including Whole Foods and Purple Porch, which formerly used the space Zen is now using. Zen also does some private, or toll roasting, for some customers.
Zen Cafe started doing fair-trade-certified coffee when it started in 2010, but has focused on buying directly from farmers. Maeyens calls it scaling a relationship and a friendship. Zen got 8,000 pounds from Honduran farmers last week, Colman said.
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They continue to build relationships with farmers and cooperatives and plan to buy from a women-owned cooperative in Nicaragua this fall, Shaun said.
The new tasting room has wifi and plenty of seating and soft lights. Coffee is prepared as pour-over, chemex or with an espresso machine. Four syrups — mint, dutch spice, rosemary and mocha — are made in-house and being offered as part of drinks. Hans Westerlink, owner and chocolatier of Violet Sky, made one of the syrups and his chocolate is offered for sale there as well.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 10 to 8 Friday. It will also be open during music events at the LangLab.