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 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 of the Kauffman’s 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 another space became available, it was an obvious choice to move their dream coffeehouse, even though it still hadn’t opened. Many months of labor went into making the new location for the Electric Brew what it is today.
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.
On May 1, 2007, Brenda and Tony sold The Electric Brew to a local couple with the vision to continue the adventure of Goshen’s Original Coffeehouse. With minimal changes, Myron & Dana Bontrager took over ownership 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 September of 2008, we were approved as a Fair Trade Certified coffeehouse, meaning we can assure our customers that our coffee is Fair Trade. We believe that the coffee producer should be paid a fair trade for his or her product.
Over the next number of years we looked for coffees with stories including women owners/producers, a long time family owned farm, and an amazing co-op from Mexico. Knowing the story behind the coffee makes the coffee taste so much better. We care just as much about the producers of our quality coffee as we do about those who drink it.