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It’s exciting to see companies like Daydrink Coffee in Iowa City adopt reusable coffee jars for their whole bean offerings. Not only are the jars reusable—they’re beautiful. Daydrink Coffee opened in summer 2020 and shares space with Basic Goods, an accessible wellness goods shop that also sells exquisite homewares and plants. We spoke with Daydrink Coffee co-founder Connor Moellenbeck about their branding, coffee, and asked for some insider tips on some can’t miss places in Iowa City.

 

Tell us about Daydrink!

Daydrink is located in Iowa City, Iowa, and was founded in August of 2020! Our original vision was to bring the best coffee from around the world to Iowa City, but it slowly turned into much more than that.

Our mission statement is “A Coffee Shop That Gives A Damn” and this resonates through our team, culture, and to our customers as well. We really strive for excellence when it comes to our quality, but the main thing we hone in on is creating the best experience possible for everyone that encounters Daydrink.

The unique thing about us is our space and the size of it. Our space is very small and intimate, so we want to make sure that everyone is comfortable and has exactly what they want during their time in our presence. In late 2020, we initially only operated as a take away service via our front counter or our window due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, it wasn’t until Summer of 2021 that we incorporated seating into the cafe.

Everything about Daydrink has been focusing on the intention of providing a great experience, and with that we elected to go at a slow and steady pace while making sure all of the details were perfect.

We truly wear Iowa City on our chest with pride, and you can see that in all that we do. We want to set an example that places like the Midwest, and Iowa City specifically can be just as exciting as larger cities. We are continuously striving to be more than what we currently are, we want to get people to be excited about what is going on in Iowa City, and we are doing our best to be an important piece of this community inside and outside of coffee.

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Daydrink Coffee interior with Cafe Experience Lead, Kara Thai.

We love the space—tell us about your relationship with Basic Goods!

Daydrink and Basic Goods took on pandemic business life together (literally as we share the space)! The owner of Basic Goods, Simeon Talley was the first one in Iowa City to truly believe in Daydrink as he let us move in that space with him back in 2020, so we will always be thankful for him and his team. Basic Goods and Daydrink are two businesses that believe in sustainability but also do our best to curate a great experience for our patrons in and outside the shop, whether that be creating events/concepts together or just doing our best to leave a good mark on Iowa City in general.

Basic Goods is the go-to spot in Iowa City for plants, wellness products, and all things that help curate the vibe in your home!

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Your reusable jars are gorgeous! Who designed them?

We are lucky to work with a lot of talented people in the Iowa City area, one of them being Jonah Terry, the brains behind the jar and our branding. He’s an Iowa native and self-taught designer with a love for art and design that started at the age of 13. He’s extremely passionate about working with businesses and movements that focus on creating a more sustainable future and inclusive communities. He’s currently working with Wilson’s Orchard & Farm to build a more accessible and ethical food supply chain in the state of Iowa.

The jars are heavily inspired by the free spirited mentality of the ’60s and ’70s. Our intention was to create a fun, nostalgic, and light aesthetic with an infusion of minimalist sensibilities. We use our logomark to build the repeating pattern on the front of the packaging and use a varying color palette inspired tonally by the ’70s, but also the by flavor of amazing coffee in the jar. Most importantly we wanted to create something sustainable that people felt like they could connect with on a deeper level and functionally use after the coffee is gone.

Jonah did an amazing job making this a reality.

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Cafe Experience Lead, Kara Thai.

How long have you all been offering reusable vessels? How are folks liking the program?

We have used reusable vessels since we opened thanks to the initial influence of Bar Nine in Los Angeles and our close friends in Des Moines at Horizon Line Coffee, who brought this concept to life in Iowa!

We do supply jars for any to-go drink, but also welcome people to bring their own if they choose to! Our community has really taken well to our approach on sustainability and the glass jar program. We are very lucky to have the community support on an endeavor like this.

Our retail jars run under the same program, so many of our customers return an empty jar for a new one full of the newest coffee release.

It is really cool to see the full circle of using the glass jar program.

Where are your coffees currently available?

Our coffee is currently available at our shop, and online at daydrink.coffee! You can also find some of our jars at local shops like Tru Coffee and Fix!, as well as other local businesses.

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Can you tell us what we might expect from the Spring 2022 drop?

Our spring drop is going to be a clothing line tailored around our tagline of “A Coffee Shop That Gives A Damn!”

We are planning to incorporate a lot of community-based people that we love and admire into this project.

Outside of coffee we simply love creating things and giving our team the ability to dive into any creative itches that they might have, we really strive to bring exciting things to life whether that be clothing, or things like events, pop-up events, or simply things that bring people together.

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How should we spend a perfect day in your neighborhood-starting with coffee from Daydrink?

Oh wow, I feel like our team would agree on the following after stopping at Daydrink:

Basic Goods haul on a Saturday, nothing like it. After a walk around the pedestrian mall, we will head over to Ulysses Modern for vintage clothing and modern furniture, then off to Vice for more vintage clothing, alongside sneakers and all things streetwear. After Vice, go next door over to Trumpet Blossom for an amazing Vegan based lunch. An essential mid-day stop at Wild Culture Kombucha for some of the most refreshing beverages, we will more than likely have one there, but also take some to go and head over to College Green Park for some nice relaxation. More than likely we will all go home for a bit then meet up for a pre-dinner drink at Goosetown and/or Big Grove Brewery. Choosing dinner is tough because the two favorites amongst the team are visiting Sonny at Exotic India, or driving a bit to Lincoln Wine Bar in Mount Vernon, Iowa for some of the best pizza. Usually alternate between the two! Finally, our team loves to frequent George’s Buffet for a beer before the night ends!

Photos by Daydrink Coffee Co-Founder Michael Beyne