Hex Coffee, Charlotte, NC
25 Remount Rd, Charlotte, NC 28203
It brings me such joy to hear the success stories of pop-ups. The whole concept of a 'pop up' restaurant started in the 1960s and often took place as a dinner party in someone's home, but now we see them in unexpected locations: abandoned buildings, old barns, a garden rooftop, or a large patio. They're in unique places and they're not necessarily meant to be permanent. They're mostly temporary, providing a somewhat limited service for a limited time. It's a great way to gauge interest in a new service or product, without having to give the idea brick and mortar (quite literally and figuratively).
Some pop-ups start as temporary, but they've got the long term intention to stay put and expand into something bigger and more permanent. This last trip up to Charlotte, I had the opportunity to visit a pop-up that established roots and I'm so eager to tell you about.
I'm not a Charlotte local, but these guys have been making a name for themselves around Charlotte in events and different locations since April 2015. In June 2017, they decided to plant their feet at a permanent location inside of the Good Bottle Co on the South End of Charlotte.
This is literally the BREW HUB! Specialty coffee by morning and craft beer by night. It's such an ingenious cross-marketing platform: the Good Bottle Co isn't selling beers in the AM, so it makes perfect sense for Good Bottle to share their space with a business that buzzes in the early daylight hours.
One of the most inspiring parts of this shop is the story of the three people who made Hex Coffee happen. Chandler Wrenn, Tanner Morita and John Michael Cord found that they couldn't collectively afford to rent a space of their own in the booming Charlotte area, so they found this shared space as the perfect solution. Each of these folks had a side-job they were working to keep their lives going, while also committing themselves to the dream of Hex Coffee.
Their determination defines hustle; it's a hustle I want to clap for and tell all my friends about, because I find it so motivating!
Hex Coffee isn't a regular coffee shop -- in fact, you might instead refer to them as an espresso bar. They're barista area is a little small, meaning they don't have a bunch of space for pour-over. However, let it be known that this is entirely intentional.
Hex adopted a creation called the 'coffee shot', which is a mix between espresso and filter coffee.
If you want the full run-down, I highly suggest you take a look at the Hex's description of the coffee shot here. I'll try to offer the abridged version.
Hex wanted to get away from the time and space suck that happens with conventional pour-over, which done right can take up to five minutes. If you've got a load of customers front of you, you'll likely get stuck behind a queue waiting for your cuppa! Hex surmounts this conundrum with the coffee shot; a long pull through an espresso machine utilizing medium ground coffee to produce an 8 oz beverage (the grind somewhere between fine-ground espresso and course-ground pour-over). It produces a drink with a little bit of crema and packed with flavor. The technique allows consistency in the pull, allowing the same smooth taste in every 'shot.'
I was just intrigued by the concept and so excited to give it a try -- it definitely yields a very unique coffee. Of the two options, I went for Form, a seasonal blend of two coffees that bring out complex flavors. The notes were "bing cherry, demerara and dark chocolate." I'll be honest in that I can't usually identify all the notes in the coffee, but I got the demerara, which in my opinion is a more pleasant sounding way to say 'molasses' (because I totally had to google demerara).
This was such a fun way to try something entirely new and vary my normal pour-over/ flat white coffee routine. I couldn't resist buying one of their coffees to take home, because their packaging was just pristine and the coffee shot had me convinced that I needed to try more!
If you're looking for a unique coffee place in Charlotte or you want to take a friend to somewhere entirely different, Hex is your spot. They've got plenty of seating in the store and you get the added bonus of checking out hundreds of craft beers. Good Bottle Co gives the chance to mix and match the many craft beers they have on their shelves. As someone who just likes but doesn't love IPAs, I was impressed that the beer options weren't all IPAs, which is often the case with craft beer locations. I took home a good mix of some nice heavy lagers and porters from all over the Carolinas.
The baristas were over-the-top friendly and willing to open up with all the details about the coffee and the shop. Hex wants to change the 'view of coffee as simple commodity.' They wanted to capture the 'ceremony' of how coffee brings community together. They believe in 'presenting coffee in the purest way possible -- pointing everything towards their provenance.'
How can you not want to just get behind this vision? It's obvious why they needed to expand into permanent location. It's also obvious that you should give them a visit!