Dave Hart and Dustin Miller have been friends since junior high, but they went to college on different coasts. After moving to Cincinnati to start a food truck, they are in the process of opening a coffee shop in Over-the-Rhine. Collective Espresso
hasn’t opened its doors to the public yet, but Hart and Miller are excited to bring their love of coffee to the Queen City.
While living in Seattle and Portland, Hart worked in the food service industry, which was closely linked to the coffee world. He fell in love with coffee and became “nerdy about doing coffee at home” by trying different beans and brewing methods. Miller became a barista at the age of 16 and has worked in coffee shops off and on since then. Still, coffee wasn’t their first business idea.
When the pair moved to Cincinnati about three and a half years ago, they considered adding to the city's growing fleet of food trucks. Then Hart and Miller talked about opening a creperie. One common thread connected the two ideas: coffee. So, eventually, they settled on opening a coffee bar.
Miller likes the mix of people and businesses in OTR. He hopes Collective Espresso will be a neighborhood place where people meet up to chat and enjoy their favorite coffee drink. Both Miller and Hart want to add to OTR's growing business district.
Hart and Miller designed Collective Espresso around the barista, who will be in the center of the room. The idea is for the barista to be able to make coffee and interact with customers at the same time. Instead of a collection of tables, Collective Espresso has a bar with seating on three sides. There will be a few tables, some of which can be pushed out onto the sidewalk when the weather permits.
Unlike many coffee shops, Collective Espresso will feature different brew methods, such as the Hario pour-over
and French press
. Hart and Miller want to serve great coffee as they create a coffee culture and educate customers.
“Hopefully, seasoned coffee drinkers will seek us out, but we want our coffee to be for everyone,” says Hart.
Right now, Collective Espresso gets its coffee from two roasters: Deeper Roots Coffee
in Mt. Healthy and Quills Coffee
in Louisville. Both roasters trade directly with farmers, which is an important detail for Hart and Miller. They note the many human elements to coffee, from the picking of the beans to the pouring of the drinks. They want to feel a connection at each of those levels.
You also won’t find four different sizes of coffee drinks at Collective Espresso. Hart and Miller are sticking with the traditional, Italian way to serve espressos and cappuccinos, which means espressos are the smallest drink and lattes are about medium-sized.
While this streamlines the ordering process for customers, it might take longer for drinks to be made. That's ok with Hart and Miller, who want to create the best experience possible for each customer.
They plan to open their shop in late October or early November—check the business' Facebook page
By Caitlin Koenig
Follow Caitlin on Twitter