By: Eric Sandbulte, The Brookings Register

Kurt Osborne is no stranger to a good cup of coffee. Already known locally for his work as co-owner of Kool Beans Coffee, a coffee roasting business run out of his garage, Osborne and Kool Beans co-owner Joy Nelson are ready for the next step: a coffee shop, called Kool Beans Coffee and Roasterie, that opens on Friday.

Osborne’s love for the classic caffeine concoction comes from his grandfather and church.

“My coffee memories go back to my grandpa and the Swedish Lutheran church I grew up in, where coffee was sometimes considered the third sacrament and always necessary,” Osborne said.

As he grew, he became interested in the coffee trade and learning about where it came from. Eventually, he read a story about roasting coffee beans in a popcorn popper, which he had to try for himself, of course.

He continued with his new hobby until May 2012, when he and Nelson went into business with a 20-pound capacity roaster.

Through it all, he’s maintained a regular job as a gift planner for the ELCA Foundation with Kool Beans as a side venture, but now, he and Nelson believe their business is ready for the next step, opening a coffee shop.

In addition to the old parts of their business – roasting coffee beans, offering a coffee bar – they will now call a 1,200-square-foot space in downtown Brookings home at 314 Main Ave. Suite 5 with about 10 employees working there. The warm and inviting space will be able to seat 40-50 people, depending on how many chairs are put out at a time.

“We want to provide an atmosphere that’s welcoming and serves excellent products and is a good place for people to gather as a community, as friends, family. Maybe sit down and enjoy the paper perhaps or listen to some music, plug in your device and do a little work, if need be. It’s another place in town where people can gather and enjoy a variety of coffee products,” Osborne said.

There are a variety of seating options, including a children’s corner with a chalkboard wall, benches, stools and a walk-up window.

Kool Beans has partnered with CC Bakery and Bread, owned by Carlie Appletoft, to provide baked goods such as caramel rolls, muffins, scones, a variety of breads, breakfast bars, cookies and a line of gluten-free products.

Thanks to their partnership with SDSU, they will sell three varieties of coffee cheese. Besides coffee, there will be tea, soda and mineral water.

Still, coffee is the heart and soul of the business.

A separate room will house two roasters, the smaller, 2-pound capacity roaster for special requests and a bigger 6-kg roaster for their larger commercial needs.

The smaller roaster with a 2-pound capacity “gives us the opportunity to roast unique requests in small amounts without wasting beans. The other roaster is 6 kilograms, so we don’t want to roast all that and just have one (order). That lets us be better stewards of resources,” Osborne said.

That will be important as customers can try about 21 different flavors.

Available will be cold brew coffee and a nitro tap, which is a nitrogen-infused cold pressed coffee drink.

“A lot of people would recognize what a Guinness looks like when it comes out of the tap – same thing for cold coffee, but no alcohol. It does give it kind of a subdued fizz, but it creates a head just like a beer and it smoothes it out a little bit,” Osborne said.

At the end of the counter will be a coffee bar, where patrons can have greater choice on how their coffee is made. They can chose to have their coffee made by the pour over method, with the Clever Coffee Dripper, the French press method or the AeroPress method.

Also of note will be the year-round hot chocolate for sale and the full espresso bar menu.

There will also be a walk-up window for those who order their drinks online and don’t care to wait in line. This will be handled through an app that will be made available to those who join Kool Beans’ loyalty program. Customers can sign up for that program at the shop.

Of the different products that will be offered, he recommended giving the chocolate covered espresso beans a try.

“We use an organic chocolate. The coffee beans are roasted here in Brookings and then we ship them to Oregon, and they come back 10 times heavier than when they left here. They’re a very tasty product,” he said.

There’s also a small retail space where customers can come in and fill up a container with beans and grind it if they so chose.

If they use a special coffee tin that will be available to purchase soon, there will be a discount. Growlers will also be another product that will be sold there, meant to go along with the cold brew tap.

An important aspect of the build of Kool Beans has been Osborne’s commitment to staying green and smart utilization of resources by utilizing recycled or repurposed material whenever possible.

The doors to the business were bought from Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and the countertop was made from the shipping crates that delivered stone for the SDSU president’s home that’s being built. All the wood in the shop comes from pallets. Things such as napkins and cups are made from recycled materials or are compostable.

A lot of hard work has gone into opening the roasterie, and Osborne is thankful for the outside help he’s gotten. For example, in addition to saving up money for this big move, Osborne said a grant from the Brookings Economic Development Corporation was a crucial boost in making the shop possible.

“It just seemed to fit from a timing perspective, too. The business had grown to a point where it was taking more and more time and energy and it needed more attention and focus. It just kind of came together that way,” Osborne said.

Kool Beans Coffee and Roasterie opens on Friday. Store hours are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday. The shop will also be available to rent out for such events as book or Bible studies or birthday parties. Those interested in renting space can call the store at 692-BEAN (2326) or him at 605-940-7524.

Contact Eric Sandbulte at

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