Cart and Soul
Soul Brewed mobile coffee finds a home in downtown Eau Claire
Laura Lash, photos by Andrea Paulseth
The beans are sealed in an unbleached, soft brown envelope of a bag. The company name, Soul Brewed Coffee Roasters, is scrawled in a seemingly quill-inked print. An evergreen stands tall beside the name, as if nature supports them in their endeavor – to bring a sensorial experience to your morning cup, whether it’s on the trail or at your desk in downtown Eau Claire. This coffee is infused with good intentions and a sophistication that comes from being passionate and knowledgeable, in an eager-to-share-with-you kind of way.
“Something we’ve noticed in our town is that there is a lack of dedication to the art and craft of coffee. So our goal is to address that need, but also to help our community.” – Troy Hoyt, co-owner of Soul Brewed Coffee Roasters
Troy and Elaina Hoyt spent the fall of 2015 backpacking the Appalachian Trail. This sort of stripped-down nature experience can bond people together. It can also bring true clarity to life back on the grid. It was on this life-shifting trip that they hatched the idea for Soul Brewed Coffee Roasters.
Elaina, a Wisconsin native, began working around coffee at a young age. After working at her family’s coffee shop in Medford and later, during high school, working at a café in Thorp, she enrolled at UW-Eau Claire. In Mexico she helped a missionary family start up their coffee shop, only leaving when conditions became too dangerous to remain. Troy has six years experience as a Starbucks barista, had completed their Coffee Master program and was a two-time barista champion for the EC district. He hails from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, with family living in Africa, which has helped inform their joint preference in beans: “East Africa puts out some of the finest coffee in the whole world.” They came off the trail ready to give – to give the Chippewa Valley the coffee experience that didn’t yet exist here, except maybe in the home kitchens of coffee hobbyists.
“Something we have noticed in our town is that there is a lack of dedication to the art and craft of coffee,” Troy said. “So our goal is to address that need, but also to help our community. Our company is only important to us if we can help plenty of people along the way.”
Upon returning to Eau Claire, the pair put the wheels in motion. Sourcing beans via the Twin Cities, they began to roast and package the aromas and flavors that they wanted to share.
“We’ve been working with Café Imports out of Minneapolis and we source beans pretty much exclusively from the East African region,” Elaina explains.
Launching their company at the end of February, they took to the streets, peddling their beans on “The Trike” – their mobile cart for serving nitro, cold brew, and iced coffees at the Eau Claire Downtown Farmers Market, the Sounds Like Summer Concert Series, and Just Local Food’s Open Air Market. With beans on the shelf at JLF, and samples being handed out there, word started to spread about the excellent cinnamon, plum, and bittersweet chocolate flavors the beans are infused with.
Now comes news that Soul Brewed will be the caffeine served at the new Elder Valley Kitchen location going in at 309 E. Grand Ave., next to Ed’s Barber Shop. Colleen Wojcik, Elaina’s mother and owner of Elder Valley, approached Troy and Elaina about rounding out her offerings at the new locale. After five successful months of sharing their beans with EC, joining a store-front location felt like natural growth for their operation.
Ordering from the menu will give you a quick education in what’s trending in coffee service these days. In addition to the baked deliciousness of the Elder Valley offerings – scuffins, cookies, and more – Soul Brewed will be offering nitro cold brew – their best seller – on tap every day. Add to that coffee on-the-go brewed by means of Aeropress, pour overs, Chemex, French press, and drip, just to name a few.
Elder Valley Kitchen should be open by Sept. 17. The Hoyts will be celebrating International Coffee Day on Oct. 1 with a grand opening party at the new location. The coffee experience they offer is well-defined in the origin of their name: “On one hand coffee is a fresh food ... and fresh food is soul food; so in turn, sometimes soul food can be brewed. And there you have it – Soul Brewed.”
To up your bean knowledge, you can also attend one of the Eau Claire Coffee Club events that will be held there. Let Soul Brewed refine your coffee experience.
Learn more online at facebook.com/soulbrewed.