Business

Keeping Coffee Simple

Maven Coffee Works brings fresh roasted coffee beans and a concise menu to its new location in downtown Kalispell with plans for future growth

By Maggie Dresser
Rob Brennecke, owner of Maven Coffee Works, is pictured in his coffee shop in downtown Kalispell on April 30, 2021. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

After hauling freshly roasted coffee around the Flathead Valley in an old horse trailer and a Volkswagen bus for the past few years, Rob Brennecke now has a physical location for Maven Coffee Works in downtown Kalispell on Fourth Street East, which opened in April.

Brennecke uses nine different types of coffee beans from around the world, including Ethiopia, Indonesia and a house espresso from Brazil, making Americanos, cappuccinos and lattes using a Lucca espresso machine.

“We don’t have anything overly fancy,” Brennecke said. “We just highlight the coffee.”

Maven also sells bagels from The Spot, and Brennecke plans to add a vegan and vegetarian grab-and-go menu to pair with his coffee.

A few years ago, Brennecke operated Maven Coffee as a drive-thru shop on Idaho Street, but the location wasn’t perfect for his business model. But when the space on Fourth Street East opened in Kalispell this year, he bought the former Grizzly Security building and transformed it into his dream coffee shop.

“When this popped up, it was something that was our style,” Brennecke said.

Brennecke installed two glass garage doors in the small building across the alley from the fire department. He keeps the former mobile trailer and his motorcycle in the space.

Maven Coffee Works in downtown Kalispell on April 30, 2021. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

“It’s been a fun process over the last couple years,” Brennecke said. “It’s very funky and unique and it allowed me to do what I wanted.”

Brennecke’s passion for roasting coffee began when he was working for the U.S. Forest Service and had winters off. He started roasting coffee with an old popcorn maker he bought from a thrift shop in his Salt Lake City apartment, and his coffee infatuation spiraled from there. He has since graduated to a two-pound air roaster, and says he’ll likely need an additional roaster as the business grows.

The process transforms coffee beans from small, green and dense to dark brown with a changed aroma as moisture is cooked out while the beans are roasting.

Maven has continued to grow since Brennecke first started bringing coffee to customers in the old horse trailer and former drive-thru. He still uses a mobile unit to transport coffee around the valley but has upgraded to the old Volkswagen bus for farmers markets, sporting events and private events. He also has a second trailer in the works and plans to set up another coffee shop in Somers.

With only two employees right now, in addition to him and his wife, Jennifer, who also owns Solciety Fitness in Kalispell, Brennecke plans to eventually grow the staff as the business expands.

Freshly roasted coffee beans at Maven Coffee Works in downtown Kalispell on April 30, 2021. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Brennecke appreciates that coffee is a part of most people’s morning ritual, and he likes bringing his favorite morning beverage to the community with Maven, which means “one who gains knowledge to share.”

“The conversations that take place around a café table and drinking a good espresso … it’s a pretty incredible history behind coffee,” Brennecke said.

Maven Coffee Works is located at 25 Fourth St. E. and open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. with plans to expand hours and open on weekends in the future.

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