Last summer, Jeannie and Caleb Sprenger launched a plan to open a coffee shop, Sapor Coffee & Concepts, by the end of 2017. But after a series of setbacks, their Kickstarter campaign was the only thing that launched at that time. Things took a little longer to come together than the couple originally planned, but they were finally able to open the doors to their new Jefferson Park coffee shop at 2795 Speer Boulevard in May.
"Not much changed from how I had originally drawn it up," says Caleb of the newly opened cafe. "It was really fun to see it come to life." Since the Kickstarter campaign began simultaneously with the construction, the couple shared real-time updates with supporters who could watch the space come to life.
"It's easy to get discouraged when you've been working so hard for so long without much to show for it," says Jeannie. "So it was encouraging to see how supportive people are. Not only did they find us and were interested in what we're doing, but they're willing to give random people money." The Kickstarter helped the Sprengers raise just over $10,000 for additional start-up capital and marketing.
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Although Sapor uses kettles and scales from Brewista, a company that primarily supplies products to home coffee brewers, the Sprengers have found that they work perfectly for their specialty coffee shop. "The [kettles] pour very accurately and gently, but they can also pour aggressively," says Caleb, who got his start as a barista at his uncle's shop, Sweet Bloom, in Lakewood. The owners precisely measure and pour every cup of coffee, whether it's drip or a pour-over, to ensure consistency in the flavor. As Jeannie puts it, their ultimate goal is "not...to do things the way they always have been done, [but] to offer people new experiences." So, for example, you won't find syrups in the coffee, or anywhere in the shop. "It's not like we're against syrups; we just want to honor the coffee and not hide it," explains Jeannie. If you're craving other flavors, chai, matcha, golden milk lattes and Upstart kombucha are available in addition to coffee-based beverages. The Sprengers also serve several pastry options from Little Bites Bakery that change weekly.
The "concepts" aspect of Sapor encompasses a seasonal drink menu with a selection of unique beverages. "It's been fun to actually be able to experiment in here," says Jeannie. "We draw inspiration from so many different things." Currently, three drinks are being offered: Vermillion, Midori and Som. Each is listed with a description, but ingredients are intentionally left off to "provide an experience of discovery," according to the menu, which is only available in-store.
Everything down to the roaster was chosen with intention, to provide customers a true coffee experience. Sapor uses Sweet Bloom coffee exclusively because, according to Jeannie, it provides consistent and good-quality coffee. "I think people are happy that there is a cafe that serves Sweet Bloom for longer hours; people know the quality of coffee that Sweet Bloom offers," says Jeannie. You can get Sweet Bloom coffee on drip for $3 a cup or a Gesha pour over for $7 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day except Sunday, when Sapor is closed.
In the end, the Sprengers are relieved to finally be open to the public. "The work doesn't stop once you open a coffee shop; it changes, but it's very rewarding," says Jeannie. "It's amazing to me that...every day someone new walks in, and that's kind of crazy to me that people that people want to be in a space that we created. It's like having a dream fulfilled every day."