spilling the beans

Goshen’s Embassy Coffee offers connection through coffee

By / Photography By Ashley Swartzendruber | February 08, 2018
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Owner Chris May says the minimalist aesthetic of Embassy Coffee is an artistic statement in itself, but he also envisions using the space as a canvas to feature local artists and singer-songwriters.

The word “embassy” brings several ideas to mind, among them peace, conversation and engagement.

Owner Chris May hopes Embassy Coffee, a third-wave coffee shop in the heart of Goshen, IN, embodies that spirit. Embassy opened in March and has already made a mark on the craft culture of the city. From the coffee to the space, May’s philosophy is the same: “We want it simple but great.”

A native of Elkhart, May started roasting coffee as a hobby, mostly out of desperation. He would often drive out of rural Indiana to a big city—Fort Wayne, Chicago or Indianapolis—in pursuit of a good cup of craft coffee, savoring its complexity and nuance of flavors, as well as appreciating quality sourcing and artisanal roasting and preparation. The idea to open a shop was born out of May’s desire to bring craft coffee a bit closer to home—and to cultivate what he calls a “third space” for the community: a neutral ground that simultaneously offers the opportunity to disconnect from the chaotic overload of modern life, and where two or more people with differing backgrounds or opinions can connect over a shared cup.

Before opening Embassy Coffee in March, Chris May sold beer and coffee brewing supplies and served fresh roasted coffees for three years at his store DIY Coffee and Ale Supply on Washington Street.

“Embassy is taking its plot of land in Goshen for good coffee, and also as a safe house where you come in to connect or disconnect,” May says. “We want to create that safe environment where we can exchange culture and conversation, and we don’t always have to agree, but at least we engaged.”

The Embassy’s space is modeled after a big-city coffee shop, with smooth hardwood floors, exposed brick walls, standing counters and a decidedly minimalist aesthetic. The menu complements the environment, with offerings like a fresh juice bar, artisan toast and a house breakfast sandwich.

Each element is carefully chosen to create a holistic experience that cultivates space for the mind and senses. Even May’s choice of relatively bare walls and floors contributes toward the goal of giving visitors a break from the cultural overload of too many choices, leaving room for creativity instead.

“We didn’t want [the environment] to be distracting at all. We love art, but the minimal vibe is art,” says May. “We want it to be about art, but at the same time, we don’t want it to overtake our space.”

Photo 1: On clear days, warm natural light pours into Embassy Coffee from its large south-facing windows out front.
Photo 2: Embassy Coffee serves single-origin coffee, fresh juice and smoothies, and artisan sandwiches and toast.

The minimalist aesthetic carries over into Embassy’s coffee offerings as well. May is saving for a quality espresso machine and offers a limited single-origin pour-over coffee menu, which includes four flavor profiles roasted in-house, from the mild, caramel-y Brazil to the fruity, almost tea-like Ethiopia. But even with the addition of an espresso machine, he plans to keep the menu limited.

“We like to have that spectrum of flavors going on because not everyone likes those floral flavors. But when we do offer espresso, we’re probably going to boil it down to three to five specialty drinks and we’re going to rock them.”

May says that so far, he has experienced overwhelming support from the community. His desire for authenticity is part of the draw of the shop.

“This generation—particularly millennials—is looking for a genuine experience these days. I don’t believe it’s from a position of arrogance, but just wanting an authentic experience. They don’t want to settle for anything less than that.”

Article from Edible Michiana at http://ediblemichiana.ediblecommunities.com/drink/embassy-coffee-goshen
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