The Grind Coffee Project has officially opened its second outpost in Kendall, next door to Hungry Bear Sub Shop and across the street from Miami Dade College. Owner and South Florida native Yoni Martin lives and breathes coffee. He knows each of his bean purveyors personally. "On any given day, you can come here and meet one of the farmers whom we work with directly because they live here in the off-season," the 29-year-old says.
Martin is also adamant about serving his brewed coffee without any cream or sugar. You may ask for it, but he won't give it to you. "Coffee is a fruit, and the natural flavor should shine through. It would be like if you got one of the finest wines and added Sprite to it — it's just wrong to our principle here," the java purist explains. He says that when he introduced this concept in his Fort Lauderdale location two years ago, customers had a tough time coming around to the idea. Martin admits it was a painful process but says he was determined to show folks his incredible and complex product sans additives. Eventually, some of the naysayers became fans of his concept.
That said, the Grind Coffee Project does offer espresso-based beverages, and, yes, you can add sugar to your latte and cappuccino — you just have to get it over the counter. There's even a dark-chocolate-and-balsamic-mocha drink, as well as one with Nutella and sriracha. They literally whip the Nutella into the milk and mix in a splash of sriracha to kick things up a notch, Martin says. "We want to accommodate people, but we also want people to step a bit outside of their comfort zones and try something that’s completely different from what they’re used to."
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Martin worked in coffee shops while attending high school and college but took a job in finance after graduation. Still, he had an espresso bar at home and would roast his own beans. It took one of his friends selling his coffee at local farmers' markets for him to realize he needed to open his own java shop.
He sees Kendall as a vibrant community that's up-and-coming and is hoping to host various events at the café and to be a part of the community. Indeed, all of the shop's tips go toward supporting local charities. For instance, last year the shop sponsored a youth soccer team, but instead of placing the brand name and logo on the jerseys, Martin had the shirts emblazoned with "I'm Awesome" instead.
Right now the Grind Coffee Project is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. till 6 p.m.; however, Saturday and Sunday, November 21 and 22, the restaurant will throw a grand-opening party from noon till 10 p.m. Expect live music from the Redland Band, DJ Linder Smash (Vagabond, Super Con, Black Friday), food trucks, cold-brew tastings, pinball, pop-up shops, a farmers' market, and other activities. The plan, according to Martin, is to stay open on weekends shortly after the grand opening. Stay tuned, and in the meantime, dare to try your brew without milk or sugar.