OSWEGO — Roasting and brewing organic and fair-trade coffee from around the globe, Khepera Coffee is the latest option for coffee enthusiasts in the Port City.
Located inside Canal Commons on West First Street, Khepera opened its doors in July of last year, looking to quench the need for a spot that offers lavish coffee flavors, as well as a trendy atmosphere. The drink selection includes coffee house staples such as lattes, espresso and cold brew.
The shop is owned by Jessica Spano, an Oswego native whose lifelong dream since childhood has been to open a coffee house.
“My mom used to always take me to coffee shops when I was little and I liked it. I liked the idea of it and everything, and it just kind of grew with me,” she said in a recent interview.
Spano spent years in Florida and Texas where she learned more about what it takes to operate a coffee shop. Her years away from Oswego helped her perfect the idea for Khepera; a place that focuses on the fundamentals of coffee.
While the drinks menu may not present the extravagant variety of options many coffee chains offer, Spano says she wants coffee beans and the authentic flavors they bring to every drink to be Khepera’s calling card.
“The main thing is I want to focus on the coffee that goes into it. That is what is special about Khepera,” Spano said. “I buy specialty coffee. I spend a decent amount of money per bag to get really good beans. I typically buy fair-trade organic beans from female-owned and female-operated farms.”
Helping women coffee farmers and entrepreneurs is a core tenet of Khepera’s mission, Spano said.
“It is important to support women in business and to support women in (impoverished) countries where they may not have the opportunity to own land, or make a decent wage,” she said. “Usually if they work they either don’t get paid or they don’t get paid much and I want to support the idea of female empowerment.”
Spano said she conducts her own research and values the options presented by a green buyer who brokers deals with coffee businesses and farms from across the world.
“I just like to know where everything is coming from,” she said. “Picking out the coffee is a pretty extensive process. Every month and a half or so I change what I get. I buy new bags of a different crop and then I’ll focus and highlight those flavors. So where I might not have like specialty drinks, it’s the coffee that is special.”
The rigorous coffee selection process made for a successful 2019 for Spano, who noted one of her bigger goals coming into 2020 is roasting more coffee to keep up with soaring demand.
“I have not been able to keep up with demand and that is a good thing,” Spano said. “In the next six months I want to get a bigger roaster to be able to put out more coffee. As it is right now, I typically don’t have coffee out on the shelf, but I want to be able to have roasted coffee on display and for sale.”
At the moment, Spano takes special orders in-store, but she said she’d prefer to have it available on the shelf so customers can come buy whatever they want.
A new website and placing online orders, Spano said, are also in the cards for Khepera in 2020.