‘Making it less about one size fits all’: Inside Retro Row’s newest cafe, Coffee Drunk

You know that feeling when you’ve had just a tad too much caffeine: shaky hands, a bit of lightheadedness and the world seems just slightly more amusing?

To Breezy and Matthew Church this jittery rush of caffeine-induced delirium, or coffee drunk as they like to call it, seemed the perfect fit for naming their new café that celebrated its grand opening on Dec. 12.

“When we first started dating, we liked to coffee shop-hop,” Breezy, 28, said. “On like the third or fourth shop we would say, OK, I’m coffee drunk. I can’t anymore. Let’s have dinner, we need food now—that kind of thing. So that was just kind of our playful banter—let’s get coffee drunk.”

Nestled just on the outskirts of Retro Row, an area well-known for its independent coffee houses, Coffee Drunk has already hooked a growing number of regulars.

While first-and-foremost a third-wave coffee spot—the use of Vancouver-based roasters 49th Parallel as their brew and espresso plays a major role in that distinction—Breezy said she designed her menu offerings a sort of middle ground between the third and second-wave coffee consumer: high quality standards and product, minus the pretension.

Espresso staples like the Americano, Macchiato and Cappuccino are celebrated in keeping with their pure, original recipes and sizes. But, those who frequent Starbucks (the beacon of second-wave coffee) most days can feel good about coming too, with drinks like lattes, mochas, blended iced coffees, nitro cold brew and chai teas available in 12 and 16 oz servings.

“I think a lot of it has to do with catering to the community. It’s just about finding that common ground,” Breezy said. “We are very much so third wave, but it’s about taking that foundation and making it less about one size fits all. If you’re going to spend $5 somewhere, you want to feel good about it and feel like you got your money’s worth.”

Born and raised in Seattle, Breezy’s background in coffee spans about 13 years, managing coffee shops in both her hometown and Long Beach, including Peet’s Coffee and Aroma di Roma. It was the Peet’s Coffee on 2nd Street where Matthew and Breezy first met.

“He was a customer for years before we dated. I got poached from another coffee shop and started managing over there. He noticed I wasn’t there anymore and switched coffee shops,” she said. “But he is my really supportive husband who loves coffee equally as much as I do.”

Matthew and Breezy Church, owners of Coffee Drunk. Photo by Cheantay Jensen.

Matthew works mostly behind the scenes in back-of-house operations, while Breezy takes the helm behind the counter. With the help of her long-time friend and manager, Johnny Hargrove, the pair devised the café’s menu and original recipes. Designated under “Claim to Fame” the original recipes feature a dark chocolate chai with a light espresso dust, the “Last Call” and “The Instigator” a double shot of espresso, sweetened with a dash of maple syrup and brown sugar, shaken with milk to frothy perfection. Breezy said it’s hands-down their most popular iced drink.

“When we created that drink,” Hargrove said, ” we got extremely coffee drunk.”

Coffee Drunk is located at 2701 E. 4th St. and is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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Cheantay Jensen is reporter and award-winning videographer who covers entertainment, art, food and culture for the Hi-lo section of the Long Beach Post. And sometimes breaking news, you know, just to keep things interesting.
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