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Design Details: From Clunky Case to Pour-Over Bar at Quills Coffee

Quills Coffee Brew Bar Baxter Ave.

Photo by Michael Butterworth of Quills Coffee

After building out multiple retail locations over seven years, the team at Louisville’s Quills Coffee has learned a thing or two about functional design. That collective knowledge is currently being employed as Quills prepares its first shop outside greater Louisville, in a shiny new development in Indianapolis’ Canal District. But that hasn’t stopped Quills from occasionally refining some of its existing stores.

Take the 5-year-old flagship Baxter Avenue location, which recently got a new pour-over bar that serves two essential purposes: 1) to provide a much-needed facelift to a former dome pastry case space; and 2) to help bring the company’s more complex coffee program to the forefront.

(related: These Are Some of the Best Coffee Bar Designs in All of Australia)

Like any home improvement, the new bar project for a long time took a backseat to more pressing day-to-day operations. “That bar has been in the works for at least something like 18 months,” Quills Coffee Director of Operations Luke Daugherty recently told Daily Coffee News. “It can be a real challenge for any coffee shop to actually follow through on something like that.”

But follow through they did, and the result is a small bar space just past the drink pickup area where baristas can prepare Chemex and Hario V60 pour-overs over a hardwood and steel counter with a built-in grated drain and pre-weighed bean canisters. The redesign was made possible by moving the pastry case to a location in front of the point-of-service, while an iPad-based POS system allowed for the removal of the clunky cash register, further connecting customers with baristas visually.

(related: How to Design a Coffee Bar on a Train)

Quills coffee baxter ave louisville

Though small in size, the bar project reflects a big commitment to the company’s coffee program. Manual brewing of a rotating coffee selection has always been part of the menu at each of Quills’ three existing locations, but its popularity has increased in recent years. The new bar responds not only to existing demand, but also drums up more interest in manual brewing from curious onlookers in the drink waiting area, Daugherty says.

“Certainly in the past five years since we opened here, that has become more popular with our customers,” Daugherty says. At the same time, when we first opened here we weren’t roasting or sourcing our own coffees, but now we roast our own, we source our own, and we really want to bring our coffee program to the front of everything we do.”