Ahh the multi-roaster. There’s nothing quite like it for the fickle coffee drinker. After a dip in popularity, it’s safe to say that the multi-roaster is back and better than ever. And in Sterling, Kansas, Clive’s Staples is flying the multi-roaster flag with aplomb. Mixing in nationally-renown roasters with local favorites, Clive’s Staples pairs coffee with fresh breads and bagels made in-house, and the occasional dumpling or bierock ain’t half bad either.
To learn more, we’re heading down to Sterling today to check out Clive’s Staple here on Sprudge Maps Spotlight, our roving global report on coffee bars supported by La Marzocco and Pacific Barista Series.
Want your cafe to be considered for a Sprudge Maps Spotlight? All you have to do is register your shop for Sprudge Maps, our user-driven compendium of coffee shops around the globe. And the best part is, it’s completely free! Sign up today!
As told to Sprudge by Caleb Tremaine.
Introduce yourself to our readers—tell us about your cafe!
Clive’s Staples is a coffee shop and bakery in the beautiful, small town of Sterling, Kansas. Housed in a historic building that used to be a drug store with a soda fountain, Clive’s now provides our lovely little community with superb coffee and scrumptious food.
Our neat old building had been vacant for a long time before we purchased it and we had to do major renovations to it before we could open. However, we were able to incorporate lots of cool features from the original drug store into our new shop including the stamped tin ceiling tiles, the beautiful cast iron columns, and even some of the original display cases and antique mirrors that were behind the old soda fountain!
We opened in 2019 and we bake our own sourdough bread, bagels, donuts, and all of our other pastries on-site. We also have a sandwich menu for lunch and dinner times with sandwiches made with our house-made sourdough bread and made-from-scratch soups.
What equipment do you use in your shop?
The focal point of our coffee bar is a gorgeous two-group La Marzocco GB5 espresso machine and we use a La Marzocco Swift for our espresso grinder. We have a FETCO brewer for our drip coffee and we use Fellow kettles and Kalita Waves for our pour-overs.
Which roaster or roasters do you serve?
We use multiple roasters for our coffee program. We are proud to have partnered with Onyx Coffee Lab (Rogers, Arkansas) and Pennant Coffee Roasters (McPherson, Kansas) ever since we opened and just recently we have started featuring coffee from a brand new roasting company from our own town, Table Coffee Roasters. We love the roasters that we work with and we are so glad that we can offer coffees from a really well-known and respected roaster like Onyx as well as coffees from some impressive local roasters like Pennant and Table.
What is the neighborhood like where you’re located? What’s some other cool stuff nearby?
We are thrilled to be located right in the middle of idyllic downtown Sterling about half a block from our town’s only stoplight and just a few blocks from the walking trail at the very pretty Sterling Lake. Our town is also home to a great little college called Sterling College and the students and staff of the college make up a lot of our customer base. Just down the road in Hutchinson, KS there are quite a few cool things to see and do including the Cosmosphere (a space museum), Strataca (an underground salt museum, 650 feet underground!), and the Kansas State Fair.
Did you close during a mandated Coronavirus shutdown, and if so, for how long?
We had to close our indoor seating and only offer carry-out for a few months and we did have to close for one week in 2020, but we didn’t have a really long closure like so many other shops did.
How has Coronavirus impacted daily work at your cafe?
Like so many other restaurants and cafes we had to adjust some practices. We moved our self-serve station behind the bar, required our staff to wear masks, and increased our cleaning protocols. For a while during the shutdowns when our sales slowed a bit we pivoted our business model and started focusing on special dinners.
We would advertise a fun special menu item (like Alaskan dumplings, gyros, bierocks, etc.), take orders so we knew how much to make, prep for the meals in the afternoon, and then have the meals ready to pick up for dinner.
We are so fortunate to have had the support of our community throughout the whole pandemic.
What’s something cool or unique about your cafe you want folks to know?
Our shop is actually inspired by the author C.S. Lewis! Lewis was a prolific British author that is most well-known for writing the Chronicles of Narnia. Our name, “Clive’s Staples,” is actually a play on words with his first two names—Lewis’s full name is Clive Staples Lewis. We admired his work and we hid a bunch of subtle references to his books in the design of our shop.
Is there a community organization or charity you’d like to shout-out as part of this feature?
Of course! We aren’t directly connected with them, but we think Kibo Group International is doing some cool things. They are a non-profit that works to empower communities in Uganda and they operate a cafe in Uganda as well as two cafes here in the U.S.
Photos by Clive’s Staples, used with permission