10 January 2014
Back to KC&T
You'll have to excuse yet another coffee shop musing/sentiment. This one is close to home, literally. It's Kaukauna Coffee and Tea. It's my sister's coffee shop in our hometown, one that has been open since we were teenagers. She's owned it for about five years, having taken it over from the original owner. When we were just lil' youngsters, we used to have friend-dates at the coffee shop all the time. Coffee shops were still kind of novel then; I think we mayyybe had one Starbucks in town, and that has multiplied to at least half a dozen in the area now. We're not a big town, but Kaukauna Coffee & Tea, now simply called kc&t, is certainly a home base for me.
Since, back in the day, I even lived in the 1960s apartment above the shop, it was kind of like a really awesome living room for me, complete with Alterra (now Colectivo) coffee and a pastry case featuring local bakery. The other day I took my laptop up there in the afternoon when it would be quiet (a huge relief after having to deal with crowds all of the time in every Edinburgh coffee shop). It's a funky, eclectic sort of place, and Ali has put a sort of lighthearted retro spin on the place. My mom's yarn and fiber supplies shop, Make.Do is still built in and every other Thursday there is a well-attended knit night, my dad's paintings hang on the wall and his art gallery and studio are still upstairs. It's a real family business.
Perhaps what I miss most about it, due in large part to it being so much a part of my family, is that on any given day I can stop in and see someone I know, or who is a regular there, and knows my name. And a small-town perk! It's a joy to walk in, in the morning, and the daily 'coffee klatch' is sitting up by the front window giving a chorus of hellos to everyone who walks in. Some of the customers have definitely moved beyond 'regular' status to 'fixture' status. The local librarian, teachers, students, moms, you name it. It's a place for everybody, and it's one of a kind. It's one of the things I truly miss when I'm away from home.
And they make a damn good latte!