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Consider the squirrel.

A small but mighty creature, the squirrel family tree includes many cute and toothy members: the susliks, the woodchuck, the tree, ground, flying and terrestrial squirrel, but also the prairie dog (technically a squirrel) and also the mountain marmot (yes, also a type of squirrel). Squirrels have their own annual festival (in Longview, Washington), their own comic book superhero (Marvel’s “Squirrel Girl“), and even their own internet star in the form of “Dramatic Chipmunk” (yet another type of squirrel).

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We think it’s the perfect name for Gray Squirrel Coffee in Carrboro, North Carolina. At just 250 square feet, this space is small, but like the squirrel species, it contains multitudes. Top-of-the-line gear? This place boasts kit you’d be impressed by in a shop 5 times its size. An interesting hook? This coffee bar exists inside a hip local brewery. The team at Gray Squirrel have created something that punches above its weight class, something capable of showing unexpected grace and dexterity, smaller than the larger mammals surrounding it but wholly its own, a being perfectly adapted to its environs…not unlike the humble squirrel from which it takes its name.

As told to Sprudge by Shaw Sturton.

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

Gray Squirrel Coffee Co. is a small (250 sq. ft.) roastery and espresso bar. We have a select drink menu that allows us to focus on crafting great drinks and developing relationships with our customers.

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Can you tell us a bit about the new space?

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We are located in downtown Carrboro and housed within Yesteryears Brewery. We designed and built the space out ourselves. I really wanted to design a clean functional space that is simple and focused. The roastery and espresso bar design is about workflow and clean lines, a form within function approach to the layout. The space is tied together with reclaimed barn wood, which we used to build our countertops and shelves, making it a warm inviting space.

What’s your approach to coffee?

Our approach is to buy balanced, clean, and sweet coffee, and develop a roast profile that will highlight the coffee’s best characteristics.

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Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?

Two-group La Marzocco Linea MP.

Nuova Simonelli Mythos grinder, Mazzer Major grinder, and Mazzer Super Jolly grinder for decaf.

Fetco XTS 2031 series brewer for batch brewing and a Ditting KR1203 grinder,

Wilbur Curtis WB5NB water tower.

We will offer a Chemex service to highlight some of our single origin offerings.

We will serve our iced coffee on tap and we will also feature 2 large Yama slow-drippers.

All water in the shop is filtered through a filtration system from Global Customized Water.

What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?

June/July 2015.


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

I am working with George Chen, the owner of Bread & Butter in Chapel Hill. He is making our baked goods.

Emily Barahona is our graphic designer. Roxana Niculescu designed our logo. Hunter Meadows, a local metal artist, built our sign.

Gray Squirrel Coffee Company is located at 300 E. Main St. in Carrboro, North Carolina. Check out their official website here, and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
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