Daily Grind caffeinating downtown

Daily Grind caffeinating downtown

Coffee spot specializes in java for the working class
October 31, 2011

A decade ago, Dwight Martin set out to learn everything he could about the art of roasting coffee beans.

After giving up on brewing beer because of the unpleasant smell that filled his North Carolina home, he bought a small Zach & Dani Home Coffee Roaster. Luckily for Martin, he had a willing guinea pig to test his early attempts.

WHERE: 1001 S.E. Quincy St.
PHONE: (785) 286-7633

HOURS: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

• KS Daily Grind’s house blend — EF-4 — is named after powerful tornados. “It’s brewed from highly caffeinated beans," owner Dwight Martin said. "It’s the one that'll get you through that first meeting in the morning and carry you through the day.”
• KS Daily Grind is located in the spot that Lido’s and Giovanni’s pizzerias occupied in recent years.
• KS Daily Grind seats about a dozen and has free WiFi.
• KS Daily Grind caters to the office worker. According to Martin: “You know how you get stuck picking up coffee for others? If you come here to pick up three or more coffees for other people, your coffee is just a penny.”

“My dad was a big coffee drinker,” Martin explained. “He’d drink coffee 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Early on, Martin’s coffee roasting didn’t always go according to plan.

“Well, in my defense, I was experimenting, but I burned a lot of coffee beans.”

It was those early experiments that helped Martin learn the craft.

“I’ve never been to barista school or roasting school,” he said, “but I’ve learned as I’ve gone.”

That might explain how 10 years later, Martin began selling his coffee beans at the Downtown Farmers Market earlier this year.

“I was still roasting my beans and Lisa (Church, his partner) said, ‘let’s test the water,’” he said.

“(Dwight) kept saying ‘I want to open a shop,’ so I said we need to first see if there is a demand for our coffee,” Church explained. “So we took it to the farmers market and the response was great.”

Turns out, the farmers market was the best research and marketing they could have asked for.

“It was the perfect way to gauge who our customers were,” Martin said. “We’ve had everyone from CEOs to farmers coming to the market to buy our beans.”

Now the two have embarked on a new venture — KS Daily Grind — a grab-and-go coffee shop at S.E. 10th and Quincy that opened Oct. 22.

KS Daily Grind features six different drip coffees – from a variety of light and dark roasts to flavored coffee and decaf. In addition to the coffee, you can find rich and indulgent biscuits and gravy, as well as fresh pastries from local baker Pink City Sweets. Soon a variety of soups and chilis will be available. But it is the quick and simple coffee that will grab customers on their way to and from work in downtown Topeka.

“I don’t want you to have to speak coffee-ology just to order a cup of coffee,” Martin said during an afternoon break last week. “I’m not trying to compete with the PTs and the Classic Beans, to be honest with you. I want to compete with McDonald’s for coffee customers.”

Having done their research, Martin and Church not only love their downtown location, but also understand who the vast majority of their customers are — downtown office workers.

“We want this to be quick and convenient for people to get in and get what they need so they can get back to their busy days at work,” Martin said.