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Kith+Kin Survives the Ups and Downs in SE New Mexico

Kith+Kin 6

The new Kith+Kin roasting area, which includes a US Roaster Corp 12-kilo machine. All images courtesy of Kith+Kin.

Since 2005, friends and family have found a third place inside the Kith+Kin coffee shop in the small city of Artesia in Southeast New Mexico.

Heading into its 15th anniversary in November, the independently owned coffee business formerly known as Jahva House is heading in bold new directions, including launching a roastery and a bakery. The business is also facing serious new challenges, not the least of which is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Kith+Kin Artesia

Kith+Kin Founder and Owner Rob Morrisey, who opened in the 4,000-square-foot building previously occupied by his father’s business, told DCN that, until recently, there were only three other coffee shops that had opened in Artesia over the shop’s decade-and-a-half run, each eventually closing.

However, since the beginning of this year, Artesia has seen the opening of three new drive-through shops, including one from a well-known global company with a green siren logo.

Drink Local Coffee

The new wave of competition followed a two-year stretch during which Kith+Kin launched a roasting operation with a US Roaster Corp 12-kilo machine and revamped the shop’s interior to make way for a bakery.

“Between these three drive-through openings and COVID, we again have seen a decline,” said Morrisey. “But I’m hoping we’ll get back to normal once we’re all open at full capacity someday soon.”

community table

Kith+Kin’s new version of “normal” includes an interior that’s bursting with red color, locally sourced materials and references to its hometown and state.

A Kees Van der Westen Spirit espresso machine echoes the Kith+Kin red across a custom back panel that shows an Artesia skyline. Repurposed wood from a barn owned by one of the city’s founding families is now along the walls and windows, and a custom-built community table uses cottonwood from a ranch in nearby Glencoe.

coffee roaster

Within these surroundings, Kith+Kin is walking the line between potentially more expensive specialty offerings and coffee concoctions that may have broader appeal, Morrisey said.

Alongside a traditional menu of espresso-based drinks and filter brews, the shop also offers a wide range of sweetened drinks, teas, blended drinks, bubble teas, smoothies, cold brews and even ice cream. The brand new bakery will soon be putting out fresh bread for a menu of sandwiches, alongside pastries and house-made desserts.

kith+kin pitcher

“I believe our customers appreciate our attention to details, even if it is blended frappe,” Morrisey said, adding that most of the syrups and sauces — including caramel sauce and a Hatch green chile honey — are made in-house.

“I hope to one day make all our flavors in our new bakery and am building towards that,” Morrisey said. “We want to give everyone the coffee drinks they love with a focus on craft and lots of flavor.

portafilter door handle

The full-spectrum approach also applies to the roasting operation, which leans towards more approachable, familiar profiles for broad appeal.

“This is not the demographic to feature a $50 bag of Gesha coffee. I’ve worked hard to pique the interest in the roasting process and differences in profiles and origins, and everyone has been very responsive,” Morrisey said. “As my skills and customer base develops, I hope to treat them to some very special coffees in the future.”

The future for Kith+Kin may involve expanding its newfound production capabilities, both in the bakery and the roastery.

US Roaster Corp

“I really want to focus on my roasting business, developing wholesale accounts, and putting our coffee in restaurants and supermarkets till you can easily find our coffee all over NM and West Texas,” Morrisey said. “My focus is on our coffee reaching those outside of Artesia and continuing to give Artesia the quality drinks they expect from us.”

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