When she isn’t working on water projects, PLU alumna Lauren Reese ’09 is exercising her creative bug with coffee
Lionheart Coffee Co. in Beaverton, Oregon, doesn’t skimp on the details. The year-old coffee shop features three blends and four brew methods, spotlighting a new local or regional roaster each month.
Everything in the business model is precise. Lauren (Buchholz) Reese ’09 said she and her co-owners measure water and coffee beans down to one-tenth of a gram. They even tested a variety of lid types before picking the perfect one.
“There aren’t very many,” Reese said, noting that they landed on one that offers more “nose room” and mirrors the experience of drinking out of a mug.
Before opening Lionheart in May 2015, Reese’s husband, Ben, had managed coffee shops for a long time. She’s a full-time communication specialist for water resource projects, from international treaties to drought relief. The coffee company helps exercise her creative bug, she says, allowing her to design menus and plan events.
“It’s a labor of love,” she said.
One night, while Reese enjoyed dinner with friends, the coffee shop transformed from a daydream to reality. A year and an online crowdfunding campaign later, Lionheart was born. The result is a community-oriented shop that prioritizes atmosphere, experience and quality, Reese said.
The lover of coffee said she is on a temporary hiatus from coffee herself, with a baby on the way. “I already have a list of coffees I’m going to have as soon as I give birth,” she quipped.
But she’s showing her love in other ways, providing TLC to the products and the customers who love coffee as much as she does. A standard morning at Lionheart includes plenty of visits from a growing base of regulars from all walks of life: church groups, students, creative types and more.
Events there underscore the shop’s dedication to building community around coffee. In June, for example, Lionheart will host a quirky competition called a Latte Art Throwdown, during which competitors will show off their milk-pouring skills to create beautiful designs that float on the top of patrons’ cups. It’s a popular competition in Portland, and Lionheart will be the first to host an installment outside Portland-proper, Reese said.
“People are willing to come to Beaverton from Portland,” she said. “It means they trust us.”
Other events and activities include adult coloring parties and cold brew tastings.
Through Lionheart, Reese said, she and her husband are living out what they are meant to do.
“We’re definitely not doing it for the money,” she said. “Every day it’s worth it.”