Welcome to the latest edition of Sprudge Maps Spotlights, a globe-spanning series focused on the cafes of Sprudge Maps, the world’s foremost compendium of coffee shops. This work is powered by La Marzocco and Pacific Barista Series, and helps inform our partnership with Apple. This week we’re thrilled to take a look at Krafted Brew Lab in Bantam, Connecticut, whom in a more normal 2020 would have surely been featured as part of our annual Build-Outs of Summer series. But 2020 was no average year; that didn’t stop Krafted, who opened in the teeth of the pandemic to serve their community, and are thriving here in 2021.
We spoke digitally with Krafted Brew Lab owner Jason Wallengren to learn more.
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Introduce yourself to our readers—tell us about your cafe!
Krafted Brew Lab is a micro-roaster and mercantile in the heart of Bantam, CT, a small enclave in Litchfield County. We pride ourselves on roasting specialty beans to perfection and crafting quality espresso drinks. We are known for our medium roast approach that allows for all of the natural flavors of the bean to come through in harmony. In our mercantile is a nicely curated selection of high quality teas, chais, and locally made products, including a small range of lifestyle merchandise.
What equipment do you use in your shop?
What is the neighborhood like where you’re located? What’s some other cool stuff nearby?
We are located in the heart of Bantam, CT a small and creative village in Litchfield County. Nearby we have artist studios, a terrific sports lifestyle shop, amazing restaurants, a diary bar for fabulous ice cream, and some antique shops. We are about a five-minute drive from the center of Litchfield town and 10 minutes from New Preston, another charming New England village near Lake Waramaug.
Did you close during a mandated Coronavirus shutdown, and if so, for how long?
We actually opened our business during the Covid pandemic in August 2020. We signed our lease around March 1st and literally had a mini panic attack around the end of March thinking that we were crazy to be opening during a global health and financial crisis. But, giving up on our dream wasn’t our way forward, so we persevered and opened our doors in August. We’ve had to make some changes to our original plans that included community events, special private cupping, and roasting sessions, but we hope to move forward with those plans when things settle down a bit.
How has Coronavirus impacted daily work at your cafe?
We are a small business, so keeping our customers and our family safe is of utmost importance to us. We’ve removed indoor seating for the winter, which is hard as we are in New England where outside seating when it is 15 degrees outside isn’t possible. But, it felt like the right thing to do. We are very careful with keeping things clean and sanitized often throughout the day. But, to be honest, we feel like the restaurant/food serving industry has always taken precautions to keep their employees and customers safe. We would be doing this anyway. We have to since we are serving our guests food and beverage, so cleanliness, sanitation is always a part of appropriate operation.
What’s something cool or unique about your cafe you want folks to know?
Our love of craft specialty coffee was born through our travels around the world. We lived in New Zealand and Germany where coffee culture is intense. And while traveling around the world we found that coffee culture is unique and inspiring to each area. We hope to bring this love of coffee culture into our shop where you can celebrate the ritual of coffee with us. Our shop motto is “Coffee, Art, Travel, Love.”