A main source of caffeine for many in the Cincinnati area for decades, Coffee Emporium just opened up their sixth location in Queen City Square.
Coffee Emporium has been open since 1973, but current owners Tony Tausch and Eileen Schwab purchased the Hyde Park-based business in 1996. Since then, Tausch has expanded the company and now provides coffee for dozens of cafes around the area, as well as six of his own.
Now the full-service café and restaurant on Central Parkway serves as a hub for many downtown professionals, including the mayor, but it wasn’t always that way. Soon after the riots tore apart Over the Rhine in 2001, Tausch and Schwab decided to invest in the neighborhood’s rebuilding. Buying a space on Central Parkway put Coffee Emporium’s roasting operation in the heart of the city. In 2005, Coffee Emporium expanded again and opened up their large café and purchased a building one block north to house their beans and offices.
“We knew that there was a really good energy and vibe in the area,” Tausch says.
Because he always wants to stay near the urban core, Tausch carefully plans and thinks through any expansions. While growing is positive, Tausch says he doesn’t aspire to operate 50 stores in the area. But he does want to become immersed in the entire coffee business process, from farming to sipping.
During yearly trips to El Salvador and trips to events such as the International Women in Coffee Alliance Conference, Tausch and his staff see their beans while they are still on the trees. They are even beginning to do a barista/farmer exchange with a farm in Guatemala.
Roasting 55,000-65,000 pounds of coffee each year, Coffee Emporium uses beans from around the world, including beans from Tanzania, in a unique partnership with the local and global non-profit Village Life Outreach.
“We haven’t always been connected to our coffee source,” Tausch says. “It was always our plan to buy directly from the farmers once we had the opportunity.”
With their reputation for incredible coffee paired with a bustling atmosphere, Xavier University approached Tausch in 2007 to take over a kiosk at the university. After a couple of years serving Musketeers their daily caffeine, Tausch was asked to take over another campus café in 2010.
Each Coffee Emporium location seems to fit the atmosphere and attitude of its surrounding community. “We don’t try to inflict our atmosphere on a location,” Tausch says. “The employees and the customers dictate the vibe.”
Coffee Emporium employs 55 people, many of whom are full-time and receive health and life insurance. Tausch is working on setting up a 401K plan this year.
In 2011, Queen City Square developers approached Tausch to see if he wanted to open a café in the lobby of the soon-to-be tallest building in Cincinnati. There was just one catch. Coffee Emporium had to take over a low-traffic kiosk on Third and Broadway.
“We knew the café in the lobby would do well,” Tausch says. “So we decided to go ahead with it.
With their six total locations, Coffee Emporium is the most prevalent non-chain coffee shop in the Cincinnati area.
By Evan Wallis