Springfield, Missouri’s ever-growing coffee scene gains a new player next week. Architect Coffee Co. will open on Springfield’s south side on Thu., March 14, serving up high-end espresso from Verve Coffee Roasters in Santa Cruz, California. Behind the concept is self-described “coffee nerd” Nick Bearden who, along with business partner Alycia Horn, is ready to take Springfield’s coffee culture to the next level.
In a way, Architect’s opening is serendipitous: Architect will open in the former home of Hebrews Coffee, the shuttered shop where Bearden first learned to sling espresso. After leaving Hebrews, Bearden spent time at Travellers House Coffee in Springfield and Black Dog Coffeehouse in Lenexa, Kansas. Now, Bearden is back where it all started, and he’s ready to expose local coffee drinkers to flavors from roasters around the world. In addition to coffee, Architect will offer a small lunch menu, pastries baked in-house, cake by the slice and homemade Pop-Tarts. “We want to offer three things,” Bearden says. “Superior coffee, unparallelled customer service and an inviting environment.”
How has the local coffee scene evolved over the past year? There are lots of shops popping up, but in my opinion they’re not all specialty coffee. You get a lot of your second-wave coffee. One of my goals is to be kind of an innovator – to set a new standard in the coffee industry, especially in Springfield, but also across the nation. Overall, there’s been a gap between specialty coffee and customer service, and our goal is to bridge that gap.
Who are Springfield coffee personalities you admire at the moment? The Coffee Ethic is definitely my favorite shop in Springfield, and Nate Murphy over there is great. My former boss, Joel Harrison, is probably my biggest influence in coffee. He’s in Seattle now as the head trainer at Seattle Coffee Works. We actually went to school together, and he ended up being a huge factor in me opening the shop.
What is your first coffee memory? The memory that got me into coffee: I was with Joel. I was 19, and we were at a youth camp, and we were playing on a worship team together. He brought an Ethiopian coffee and a Colombian coffee. I was very intrigued by watching him brew it and just smelling it – it was like, “Wow, there are intricacies to coffee that I can smell.” When we got home from camp, I went out and bought everything I needed to get into home brewing.
What’s your perfect day of eating in Springfield? If I was going to breakfast, I’d either go to Cracker Barrel or Early Bird Breakfast Pub [laughs]. Early Bird is fantastic. But I do love the hominess of Cracker Barrel – going in to get cheap pancakes is the best. If I’m just getting coffee, I might just go to [The Coffee Ethic] and get a cinnamon roll. I also love Springfield Chinese food. When I lived in Kansas City, that was a void in my life. My go-to spot is Hong Kong Inn – the location on North Glenstone. Growing up, every Sunday night, I would go there. They do a good sesame chicken. I’ve also been diggin’ Black Sheep [Burgers and Shakes] lately. I was doing Keto for a long time, so I’d go in and get their burger in a lettuce wrap. Their Blues Brothers burger is such a good burger.
If you could tell home coffee brewers one thing, what would it be? It starts with the bean. You’ve got to get good coffee, and it’s got to be fresh. You’ve got to grind it yourself, and it can’t be more than a month old. I am the kind of guy that likes to see what other people have, so I’m always doing research and going out to try to order new kinds of coffee from different roasters online.
What are your future plans? Right now, we’re just focused on getting the shop open. For those that know what this means, we bought a Slayer espresso machine, which is huge – we’re probably one of only four or five Slayers in the state.
Architect Coffee Co., 417.771.5030, facebook.com/architectcoffeeco