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Cat Week on the Build-Outs of Coffee concludes with a visit to Reno, Nevada’s Laughing Cat Coffee. In operation since 1990, Laughing Cat has received a major remodel to show off roasting and provide ample public seating, and is now operated by a new owner. Let’s learn more!

DONA now serving Matcha
DONA tea, Equitably sources teas and tisanes
DONA Cardamom Rose
Ceado E37Z Barista Grinder, Flavor on repeat
Ceado E37Z Barista Grinder, Flavor on repeat
DONA chai, specialty coffee's other half
Ceado E37Z Barista Grinder, Flavor on repeat
Ceado E37Z Barista Grinder, Flavor on repeat

The 2024 Build-Outs of Coffee is presented by Ceado and Dona. The 2024 Build-outs of Coffee is sponsored by Pacific Barista SeriesLa Marzocco, and Ghirardelli

As told to Sprudge by Steven Horn.

For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?

Steven Horn, a former global business development executive at Google and a successful entrepreneur, is embarking on a new venture as the owner of Laughing Cat Coffee, Reno’s first specialty coffee roaster established in 1990. Horn’s passion for coffee, honed over five years of roasting in his garage on a Bellwether Roaster and delivering weekly roasts to local offices and fans, has led him to this new chapter in his career.

With a background in guiding start-ups to successful exits and a deep appreciation for the arts, Horn brings a fresh perspective to Laughing Cat Coffee. His goal is to infuse the brand’s craft heritage with innovation and a focus on community connections.

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Can you tell us a bit about the new space?

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The existing space has been updated with a coffee bar window and guest seating upfront, with the roasting process visible to the public just behind.

What’s your approach to coffee?

I have a dual approach to our coffee offerings.

First, I am paying respect to the heritage of Laughing Cat and the previous owner, who was an early specialty coffee roaster and master blender. I am leaning into staple blends that are proven crowd-pleasers, giving them new twists with names inspired by the film industry, another passion of mine. “Noir” is our dark roast, “RomCom” is our medium roast, “Epic” is the house blend, and “Matinée” is our decaf.

My other approach to coffee is showcasing beautiful single-origin beans with unique varieties and processing methods that rotate seasonally. We feature the producer and region, highlighting the innovation that is happening at the farm level.

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Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?

We are roasting on a San Franciscan SF 25, and an SF 1 is our sample roaster. Our espresso machine is a Slayer Steam, and our grinders are a Mahlkönig Peak and a Mahlkönig EK43.

How is your project considering sustainability?

We work closely with some of the industry leaders in green coffee sourcing and imports, so we rely on them for sourcing ethics. At our cafe, we are using 100% compostable to-go ware.

As we develop our line of rotating single origins, we strive to bring to life stories around origin, the struggle with climate change, and the leaders at each farm who are working to make specialty coffee equitable for everyone in the supply chain. There are so many specialists there, in the lab, at the mills, and in the fields picking only ripe cherries. My passion for story and coffee collide here, and that’s where I’m excited to develop our messaging and work with coffee producers.

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What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?

Friday, June 7!

Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?

I have been collaborating closely with Darleen Scherer, Owner of Black Sheep Coffee Collab, on the rebrand, product line development for roasted coffee and other extensions, menu creation, and general operations for a roastery and cafe. Garry Grow, owner of Coffee Medics, is my go-to equipment specialist. He installs and maintains all our coffee equipment, both at our coffee bar and for our wholesale partners.

Thank you!

Thank you!

Laughing Cat Coffee is located at 3545 Airway Dr #110, Reno. Visit their official website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

The 2024 Build-Outs of Coffee is presented by Ceado and Dona. The 2024 Build-outs of Coffee is sponsored by Pacific Barista SeriesLa Marzocco, and Ghirardelli