Build out Collective Downtown 07

Today’s the last day for our 2014 Build-Outs Of Summer series, and we have another one for you, coming in at the eleventh-and-a-half hour. Collective Coffee has expanded to a new location in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. They’re serving Intelligentsia coffees and Kilogram Teas, alongside guest roasters like Mountain Air from North Carolina and Commonwealth out of Colorado.

DONA Cardamom Rose
DONA tea, Equitably sources teas and tisanes
DONA now serving Matcha
DONA chai, specialty coffee's other half

You may have heard of that thing where good coffee is served next to good food–it is of course perpetually quite the thing in Australia, and in North America more and more places are opening that combine the two. Add Collective Coffee to the list, with their “traditional northern breakfast fare such as our daily, scratch made kettle-boiled NY style bagels (our owners are from NY)” alongside omelettes and the like.

Build out Collective Downtown 06

As told to Sprudge by Michael Mai. Photos by Dominic DiMaria.

Can you tell us a bit about your new space?

advert new rules of coffee now available


Our new space is meant to be visually clean, this is important to us as it is so small and can become cluttered very easily (visually and artistically as well as hygenically). It is meant to echo the design of our Mt. Pleasant location. Neutral and grey tones dominate the visual palatte, while paintings made of coffee decorate our walls (from our chef and local artist, Morgan Rice)

Build out Collective Downtown 04

What’s your approach to coffee?

Our approach to coffee is to appeal to all palates by making every single drink (no matter what it is) with great care. We take great pride in making our decaf coffees and teas to exacting standards, something that gets overlooked at other places. Intelligentsia is the backbone of our coffee program, as we feel that their consistency is unmatched. That being said, we geek out over every aspect of our offerings. We keep a fetco journal to keep track of our programming changes and also a “Dial-In Diary”, to take data on our daily espresso dial ins, which helps us see trends in our shot-pulling (which baristas tend to favor quicker shots? How long after roast do we seem to prefer our espresso? Which beans tend to go longer or shorter? etc.) Our pourover bar features roasters from around the country. We constantly sample stuff out and try to be approachable and friendly while educating people about our coffees.

Build out Collective Downtown 03

Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?

Consistency is key for us, and we are using tried and true machines that we feel make bad ass drinks every time…. La Marzocco GB5, Mazzer Robur, Curtis water tower, Fetco brewer, and a Mahlkonig EK43. We are currently (as in, right freakin now) offering Commonwealth Coffee on our pourover bar, with Mountain Air and Counter Culture to follow in the coming weeks.

Build out Collective Downtown 16

Build out Collective Downtown 14

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

We worked extensively with John Vergel for our branding and interior design, who was the owner of a pivotal shop in Charleston’s coffee history (Hope and Union). Sinan Aktar was also very important for his contributions to the interior design, and Ahern’s Anvil does our metalworking and tablemaking. Morgan Rice’s art adorns our walls.

Build out Collective Downtown 17

Collective Coffee is at 41-A George Street. Open 7-4 Sat-Fri, 8-4 Sundays. Follow them on Instagram or Twitter.

Relive a whole season of Build-Outs of Summer

New Rules of Coffee banner advertising an illustrated guide to the essential rules for enjoying coffee