When Brenda Hostetler-Kauffman moved from Oregon to Indiana to attend Goshen College in 1992, there were two things which she missed: mountains and coffeehouses. After graduating in 1995 and realizing that the mountains just wouldn’t be moving, she and husband Tony Kauffman began the adventure of a lifetime and built Goshen’s original coffeehouse.
The original site was to be 109 East Washington in a small space which had formerly been used to repair shoes for over 50 years. The store’s sign was a large boot surrounded by light bulbs and affectionately called “The Electric Shoe.” A friend and Goshen resident, Rachel Lapp, suggested that the two call the cozy coffeehouse “The Electric Brew.” They knew immediately that her suggestion was a perfect fit.
As work progressed on the initial snug structure it became clear that the little store on Washington might not prove adequate for hosting performances or significantly-sized groups. When space became available at 136 South Main, it was an obvious choice to move the dream coffeehouse, even though it still hadn’t opened.
The Main Street location provided more challenges than initially expected and the store defined “bad 70s remodel”! There was a suspended ceiling to extract in order to expose the building’s 1885 original tin ceiling, old plaster to be chipped away in order to expose the brick wall, three layers of paneling and wallpaper to tear down and old flooring to remove. What followed the mid-summer move were more than “nine months of labor” in order to give birth to what is known today as the Electric Brew.
On the 4th day of April 1996, the doors to the first coffeehouse in Elkhart County were opened to the public at last and the real adventure finally began. The store’s offerings were initially small with gourmet coffees, espresso drinks and a small selection of baked goods. However, the choices quickly grew and now include a lunch menu, blended drinks, and a melange of bakery items including monster cookies the size of your face and cinnamon rolls the size of your buns!
On May 1, 2007, Brenda and Tony sold The Electric Brew to several local couples with the vision to continue the adventure of Goshen’s Original Coffeehouse. With minimal changes, Myron & Dana Bontrager took over ownership along with Jason & Alice Keiser, and continue offering quality drinks and food in an atmosphere that makes you want to settle in and stay a while.
In August of 2008, The Electric Brew began roasting our own coffee. We value a robust cup of coffee, so what better way to achieve that than to do our own roasting. In 2009, we produced just a few pounds shy of 3.5 tons of Brew-Roasted coffee! Eighty-percent of the coffee we roast is either Fair Trade Certified or relationship coffee. In September of 2008, we were approved as a Fair Trade Certified coffeehouse, which means that we are able to assure our customers that our coffee is Fair Trade. This is important to us, because we believe that the coffee producer should be paid a fair trade for his or her product. We are excited to provide Regular, Decaf, and Flavored Fair Trade Certified coffee.
In October of 2009, Myron & Dana’s sons, Jeremy and Christopher, bought out Jason & Alice’s portion of The Brew’s ownership. This makes us now a fully family-owned business. The Electric Brew has been a terrific adventure, and we are enjoying being part of Goshen’s vibrant downtown.
You can stop by and see “What’s Brewing” at just about any time. The coffeehouse is open 6am-10pm Monday through Friday, Saturday from 7am-10pm, and Sunday from 12pm-7pm.