If you do come back to the recently opened Comeback Coffee in Memphis, Tennessee, you’ll find a big white neon sign that urges you to “stay a while.”
“[We] wanted to create a comfortable space that allows individuals to feel like they can stay as long as they need to,” Comeback Coffee Co-Owner Amy McPherson recently told Daily Coffee News. “Whether that’s three minutes in and out or three hours, we want to make sure people feel noticed and comfortable.”
Amy and Hayes McPherson launched the new downtown cafe on the ground floor of a 139-year-old building in the Downtown Memphis Pinch District with freshness, speed and comfort as foremost service priorities, offering coffees from a variety of roasters from throughout the United States.
South Carolina roasting company Methodical Coffee is serving as a permanent roasting guest, while the first in the shop’s rotating roster of roasters has been Brandywine Coffee Roasters, hailing from Wilmington, Delaware.
“One of our goals as a shop in a city where specialty coffee is somewhat new is to bring what’s happening in the national and international coffee community into this city for people to experience,” said McPherson. “We also want to work with roasters that employ ethical practices both in their roastery/shop and also in how they source their coffee. We are here to support crews that are conscious of their actions on all fronts.”
The dual focus on ethics and coffee quality comes together in an historic brick building, with abundant light pouring through newly added oversized windows. Clean new rafters play off of exposed antique original bricks and door frames. Patrons carry drinks from the slate countertop of the black-fronted bar to either the cafe’s cozy couches, or to custom-made wooden tables under loads of hanging filament-style lighting, or to the patio outside.
“When creating this space, we wanted to create something unique to Memphis,” said McPherson. “Our building was built in 1895, so there’s a ton of beautiful architectural pieces to it. We tried to keep as much of the original building as we could while freshening it up a bit.”
Two Mahlkonig Peak grinders are paired with the shop’s Slayer Steam machine for espresso drinks, while a short EK43 grinds for Curtis batch brews. The shop’s coffee menu is straightforward, and does include a few options featuring house-made syrups and a popular house coffee soda.
“Our coffee soda is a different approach to coffee sodas,” said McPherson. “We create a strawberry and lime simple syrup and drip coffee and send it through our keg system in-shop to carbonate it. We have been using a washed Guatemalan from Methodical and we have been super happy with it.”
One thing that’s not on the menu is a manual pourover. McPherson said that everyone at Comeback loves a good pourover, but the cafe sticks to batch brew for consistency, speed and the cost for consumers.
“This allows us to keep our pricing at an approachable price point,” said McPherson.”We are located in a unique community surrounded by very different economic demographics, [and] we are a fairly high-volume shop for Memphis. That’s why we went with the G4 Curtis. It allows us to make super tasty batch brew consistently.”
Proudly committed to the multiroaster platform, Comeback has no intention to begin roasting in-house anytime soon. Canning its unique coffee soda is one consideration, according to McPherson, while in general the company will also direct its expansion efforts on diversifying its use of space within the shop.
“We want to focus on creating a space that makes an impact in our city and hopefully in the coffee community,” said McPherson. “We want to get that figured out and refine our processes before we do anything else. But we do have some fun stuff on the horizon.”
Comeback Coffee is open now at 358 N Main Street in Memphis.