Thanks to the husband and wife team, Jeff and Tricia Babinski, Spring Grove residents and their fellow neighbors in the bluff area can now purchase freshly roasted artisan coffee from the top coffee-producing regions in the world.
Tricia Babinski is the roaster and general operator of Heart Rock Coffee Shop in downtown Spring Grove and her husband Jeff, a retired Air Force officer, is the business’s tech support and mechanic.
The couple purchased the building with the barn facade on Main Street. Bluff Country Artists Gallery has downsized and will rent the east side of the building from the Babinskis. The west side of the building without the ATM is the new home of the Heart Rock Coffee Shop. The back two-thirds of the building will provide space for roasting, packaging, storage, and office space. The front third of the building is retail space. Customers will be able to purchase Heart Rock Coffee branded merchandise and enjoy a cup of coffee while watching the roasting process and enjoy the tantalizing smell of coffee.
“When we bought the building, I realized that we were setting down roots,” shared Tricia.
Why this location? “It feels right,” explains Tricia. The Gallery is a plus as it enhances the environment Tricia envisions for the coffee shop. “The community has been so nice and so welcoming. It feels like this is where we are supposed to be. Julie with the city and Courtney with EDA have been helpful.”
The couple remodeled the back part of the store and are now roasting at the new location. The plan is to open the retail operation at the end of June. Construction will begin at the end of May after Syttende Mai so customers can come in without having to deal with the mess.
Tricia mentioned that “Until I get the 10 KG electric roaster up and running, I can easily handle a little bit more in the new space.”
Jeff shared that the 10 KG will increase productivity and production ten-fold. Tricia explained that she would be able to expand comfortably.
What is the story behind the business name? The family collected heart-shaped rocks from around the world on their travels.
Heart Rock Coffee focuses on single-origin, specialty grade beans to bring out the best from each coffee-growing region around the world. “I like people to taste the country. Coffee is based on the soil it is grown in, and it is all different. Each origin is going to taste different,” explained Tricia.
Regions currently featured: Ethiopia Harrar, Mexico Chiapas, El Salvador, Ethiopia Bank Gotitti, Ethiopia Masha Estate, Honduras, Honduras Marcala Region, Brazil, Columbia Reserva Del Patron, Rwanda Kigeme, Zimbabwe Salimba Estate, Nicaragua, Bolivia Bio Arabica, Bali Blue Moon, Papua New Guinea, Sulawesi Toraja Region, Sumatra Aceh Takengon, Guatemala – Santa Isabel, Congo – Umoja Wetu, India – Monsooned Malabar, Peru – Femenino, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Flores, and Guatemala.
Heart Rock Coffee is available at the bakery and the Wired Rooster, Caledonia; Free Range Exchange, Hokah; Main Street & Co., and Red’s IGA Grocery Store and Coffee Shop, Spring Grove; Great Harvest Bread, La Crosse; and the Farmers Market, La Crescent. They will be selling at the Spring Grove Farmers Market, as well.
Why a coffee roasting business? Jeff immediately stated that they have always like coffee. With a laugh, Tricia chimed in, “Not always.” Jeff has always liked coffee, and he introduced Tricia to coffee when they got married. Jeff explains that once you start drinking coffee you begin drinking better and better coffee. When the couple was stationed in Turkey, they experienced freshly roasted coffee and enjoyed it. The couple thought if they can get it this fresh, why not roast their own.
Their first roaster was a Fresh Roast like an air popper for popcorn. It made ¼ cup, which was enough for a day. Since Turkey is where many roasters are made, and the exchange rate was right at the time, they purchased a 500-kilogram electric roaster.” When they moved to Norway, Tricia started sharing and selling coffee. There was a small NATO community center on base, and Tricia began to offer a coffee morning once a week.
What is the couple’s favorite coffee? Sulawesi from Indonesia. “If you can only drink one coffee, this would be the one.”
Tricia supplies coffee to her sister’s school in Grafton, N. Dak., where she is a special educator. Her sister runs a drink stand with special needs students, and Sulawesi is their coffee of choice.
Did you know that a coffee bean is not a bean? It is a seed.
The shop will offer coffee tastings. Attendees will sample eight coffees and learn about coffee to enhance their experience.
Jeff offers, “Sample and try different varieties. Some people think that dark coffee is the best, but that is not the truth.”
Order Heart Rock Coffee online at www.heartrockcoffeeshop.com. Be sure to like their business’s Facebook page to keep abreast of upcoming classes and shop hours.