September 2, 2014
Charlotte’s Evening Muse, well-known for its eclectic schedule of ultra-talented musicians, now has a new addition. On a typical evening in the NoDa neighborhood, you could see happy people pouring into the street from the caddy-cornered entrance of the familiar lively, cozy venue, probably eating some of Carlos’ delicious hotdogs. During the day, the Muse is closed—dead with curtains drawn and posters on the windows of events to come and promise of life. Now the west corner of 36th and North Davidson comes to life in the daylight hours with a new, unique coffee operation. Still in their “soft opening” with a grand opening to come, the Daily Press, started by Lindsey Pittman and Evening Muse owner Joe Kuhlmann aims to bring the traditional sense of the coffee shop back to the neighborhood.
Pittman’s love for coffee began when she was working in her uncle’s coffee shop in Houston, Texas learning about the farming and finer processes of coffee. Before starting this project in Charlotte, she had been working at Central Coffee, which for her was the gateway into the city’s coffee community. Being apart of this community taught her a lot about interacting with people with machinery and coffee, and educating her patrons on the originating and artistic aspects that she is so passionate about.
Being longtime neighborhood friends, when Pittman expressed her desire to open a new coffee shop one night at Sanctuary Pub, Kuhlmann recognized her dedication to growing the coffee culture within Charlotte and the connections she had to other people wanting to do the same, and decided to help be the fuel to realizing this dream of giving the neighborhood another art form to explore. The two got together a week later at Not Just Coffee and began brewing serious plans to occupy the Muse during the day.
Charlotte is growing increasingly fast, becoming more noticed nationally with each passing month, and needs more cultural identifiers to help remain unique, fascinating, and relevant. There is an entire underground community of baristas and coffee enthusiasts that are learning and sharing different latte techniques, flavor combinations, roasting, brewing, and pouring processes, and challenging each other to be more creative—similar to say, the mixologist/craft cocktail community. Kuhlmann and Pittman want to bring the informational and artistic nature of the ritual to light, as well as what Kuhlmann likes to refer to as the “epicurean aspect of coffee” by using top-notch equipment and the freshest beans from local roasters to present the coffee to customers at its peak. This hopefully making people slow down to really notice the flavor of what they’re consuming as they look out the window and enjoy the best people-watching corner in NoDa and wonder how and why it tastes the way it does.
Pittman likes to bring in friends from other shops in Charlotte, or “guest baristas” to come play around at the Daily Press to show off their techniques and share new ideas and coffee experiments. She and one of her baristas, Diana, like to watch coffee videos on the projector on Thursday mornings for a little continuing education. They even occasionally have Coffee Throw Downs, which Pittman described as “a competition of grown people pouring milk.” Having multiple shops of passionate, experienced coffee cultivators in one town that act as a community in sharing their advances and short falls in experimentation creates an understood and ever increasing standard for what quality coffee is in Charlotte. “Guest baristas help us not slack, and can really, hopefully improve overall quality just by sharing information and skills,” explained Pittman.
In addition to fueling the knowledge of the art of coffee in Charlotte, the Daily Press is also working to cultivate a community center for the neighborhood during the day. “We are trying to honor the traditional sense of a coffee shop, which was this exchange of ideas and a place to, I know this sounds silly, but a place to commune and actually get to know the people in your neighborhood,” says Kuhlmann in regards to the spatial use of the Press. Something they are already doing with this is the farmers market hosted there on Saturdays. They’ve begun planning to have a vintage market one or two Sundays a month, and a vinyl swap the first Sunday of each month starting in September. Kuhlmann is hoping to have members of the Charlotte Symphony come on Thursday afternoons for impromptu concerts and short educational sessions. “We are kind of cross-pollinating different art forms and things people are passionate about, and show them how to enrich their lives,” says Kuhlmann. Pittman is enthusiastic about having coffee classes that will be open to the public for a small fee. The first one will be Monday, September 15th at 11:30am titled Retro Nasal, which will cover flavor and taste sensory analysis. The Daily Press will also be hosting a Coffee Throw Down on September 23rd.
For good coffee, good conversation, and a little lesson in a new art form, go to the Daily Press and see Lindsey Pittman. Let her serve you something she’s been experimenting with, or order from the menu of local North Carolina roasters’ coffees and house made lattes. Keep an ear out for the new community events they’ll be hosting in the future. Put your phone down and meet your neighbors at the Daily Press.
The Daily Press
3227 N Davidson St
Charlotte, NC 28205