Something very cool is happening in Reno.
We’ve featured the Reno, Nevada coffee scene previously on Sprudge, and are pleased indeed today to update that coverage with an update from one of Biggest Little City’s top brands. The Hub are prepping to open an exciting new space near the University of Nevada, Reno campus, with the goal of “creating a place where students, researchers, and locals can gather to study, socialize, or just relax.”
But that’s just the surface of this story. Dig a little deeper and you’ll learn from The Hub’s Cate Maxon how local development groups in Reno are helping reshape the city from a faded casino town to an arts, culture, and entrepreneurial hub. Faded mid-century glamour, Wild West history, and those gorgeous Sierra Nevada mountains, always looming in the distance, plus coffee from brands like The Hub, who sound excited, humble, and ambitious all in one go.
As told to Sprudge by Cate Maxon.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
The Hub was born from a tiny garage and an unwavering belief that specialty coffee could be successful in Reno, and in the tradition of the Wild West, we’ve sought to pioneer the way for Third Wave coffee in a town otherwise partial to casino and diner coffee. Since we first opened our doors in 2009, we have been at the forefront of both the specialty coffee scene in Reno and the entrepreneurial revitalization of a city hard-hit by the recession. More than anything, we’re focused on building community—the local community that has sprung up around the cafes, the regional community that is our wholesale market, and the global community that Hub is now connected to with sourcing and origin trips. We’re always striving to live up to our name and foster a connection to our hometown. And it seems these days people are returning to Reno with enthusiasm and want it to be just that: home.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
True to our roots, we once again ended up in a former garage. But this space is going to be all about building community around the University of Nevada, Reno campus. Right now there’s disconnect between the university and the rest of the city. We want to bridge that gap by creating a place where students, researchers, and locals can gather to study, socialize, or just relax. To that end, we’re creating a two-story space that will have a mix of community areas—including outdoor seating we’re sharing with several local businesses—and inside bar seating for individuals. We also want to give a nod to the history of Reno and the University by using historic photos as a major design element. The design will also reflect the University’s connection with geology and seismology, as Nevada happens to be one of the most geothermally active areas in the country and is now a mecca for renewable energy research.
What’s your approach to coffee?
Our methodology revolves around three things: simplicity, quality, and education. Our menu is as stripped down as possible—only whole and almond milk options, no flavorings—and customers are encouraged to experience the coffee for what it is, with baristas eager to nerd out for as long as anyone will listen. The nerding out is a constant thing too, as all brew methods are constantly being played around with by baristas, roasters, trainers, managers. We all have a hand in working directly with the coffee behind bar, and a curiosity about coffee’s near infinite variability is what drives us. So that’s what we share with our customers; that’s how we grow our community. Enthusiasm is contagious, you know? Especially when it’s served up alongside a smile and a great cup of coffee!
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
We’re super excited to be using the new Curtis Seraphim, and of course, we will have the usual cafe accoutrement of Mazzer grinders, a La Marzocco Strada EP espresso machine, and batch brew from Curtis and Bunn. We’ve also got some wild-harvested native ingredients we’ll incorporate into cold brew drinks. It will be something along the lines of pinyon pine nuts and Picon Punch, both nods to the Basque sheepherding culture that took root in the Eastern Sierras in the mid-1800s.
Though we’re developing several specialty drinks, we certainly want to stay true to our coffee roots, and to that end, we actually downsized the volume of our nitro cold brew to 6 ounces, to focus on the profile of both the natural Ethiopian we brew and the incredible way the nitro enhances those super intense butter/chocolate and fruit jam notes. We’re definitely headed towards even more brew methods that highlight the elegant simplicity of a single coffee, which will immutably pare down the need for cream and sugar.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
Around September 15th!
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
We’ve been brought into the downtown area by Urban Investments, an incredible local real estate group that has had a huge hand in transforming Reno from a casino town to a growing community of artists and entrepreneurs. Their vision is to repurpose classic buildings and develop connections with businesses that reflect Reno’s growing ethos of community. We’re also working with WCC Design & Build, great local contractors. We truly couldn’t do what we do without them!