Why Yellow Paint Means Great Coffee for Lubbock
I knew the yellow paint I’d noticed driving down 34th Street a few months ago must mean something cool was happening. I wasn’t mistaken as Yellow House Coffee opened its doors offering Lubbock another local coffee house option. I recently had an opportunity to visit with owner Lance Neffendorf on his new business – from why he opened the shop, what sets his coffee apart, and what Lubbock coffee drinkers are looking for.
You’ve been open over a month now – what made you decide to bring a coffee shop to Lubbock? What opportunity did you see?
Lubbock is our home and we wanted to create a business that would also benefit our community. My coffee education and brewing has evolved slowly over the past 6 or so years. It all started with my brother, who is a coffee roaster in Dallas, introducing me to good fresh coffee. I then invested in a small grinder to grind my coffee right before I brewed. I have since invested in a better grinder and better home brewing methods and continued to learn more about coffee.
We saw a need for better coffee in Lubbock. So about 2 years ago I began training more and studying coffee more. I got to work with some really good coffee shops out of Dallas for a few weeks. This really helped me gain experience in not just coffee but how vital it is to have an efficient set up.
What makes your coffee different from say J & B Coffee Company or a Starbucks? I know you mentioned your relationship with Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters which is owned by your brother – so is it all in the beans and the French press method?
Here are a few things that set us apart.
1) Quality – It starts with the raw product, and we use really high quality coffee beans that are sourced directly from farmers in the Central and South Americas. At Yellow House Coffee we want to create direct relationships with people and businesses to know where are products come from. That goes to the farmer, roaster and to the customer. We believe creating the direct relationship increases the quality control.
2) Fresh – Once the coffee bean is roasted there is a 2 week optimal window for fresh coffee, after that the flavors begin to degrade. We will not give our customers coffee that is over 2 weeks old. This also goes right to the brew (French press) we do. As an independent coffee shop we wanted people to be able to get something different: a handcrafted coffee (along with many other handcrafted beverages and food items). We French press our main brew and then put into an air pot to preserve the heat. After 30 minutes in the air pot we throw out the coffee. You can taste a big difference in the coffee that has set for over an hour to no more than 30 minutes. People are paying a couple dollars for the coffee – we want them to know that they are getting a great fresh cup every time they come in.
3) Community/Education – Coffee is a great avenue to create community. Not only as a shop front but we want to provide coffee classes to the public. Whether it is just about coffee in general or a home brewing class for people to make better coffee at home. Through this we want Yellow House Coffee to be a part of the community.
In your first month what’s been the most popular item? What do you hope to get a reputation for?
The most popular item has most likely been the vanilla latte with homemade vanilla syrup. The traditional cappuccino has also been a huge hit. I want a reputation for quality. I want people to know that they are going to get a consistently great cup of coffee or anything other drink/food we serve.
I had an awesome muffin on my first visit and have eyed the bagels. Where do you get your baked items – homemade or locally sourced?
We make the bagels in house. They are organic and baked every other day. For now, the other items are sourced locally. I am actually hiring an employee at the beginning of August to start focusing more on house made baked items and pastries. We also want to add a small lunch menu in the next 3 to 6 months.
OK – I loved the cappuccino’s. But our readers who might be an everyday Starbucks customer might question the cup sizes. What’s your motto – quality over quantity?
We definitely agree with “quality over quantity”. Our 12 ounce espresso based drink will have the same amount of coffee/espresso as any larger drink that you buy elsewhere. All of our espresso based drinks are made with a double shot of espresso. With good fresh coffee you don’t need to mask the espresso. With those larger drinks (unless requested) you are getting the double shot and just more milk to mask bad coffee. So the customer is not getting any less coffee just a more meticulously made drink with proper proportions for high quality coffee and milk.
After being open a month what’s your view on Lubbock coffee drinkers?
I think people want local options. I think too that Lubbock is starting to seek out better food, and beverages. An example of this is the growth of the Farmers Market downtown over the past few years.
Tell us some of your favorite things in or about Lubbock – particularly the 34th Street corridor.
34th Street is an independent street! If you drive 34th Street from Slide to Ave Q you’ll notice there are extremely few chain businesses. I don’t think you see this many independent businesses anywhere else in Lubbock. And related to this, the 34th Street Association has been great. They are very welcoming to new businesses on the street. They want to help promote you and for you to succeed. A business is not an island and you need to create business partners and/or friendships. 34th Street is not going anywhere, it is pretty central for Lubbock. I am glad to see the city improving the street with its upgrades. The weather is great. Lubbock has beautiful sunrises and sunsets. I really enjoy the pace of life here.
Thanks Lance! Visit Yellow House Coffee at 3017 34th Street or visit their Facebook page.