Changing the way Minot does coffee

With Room Coffee celebrates grand opening Saturday

Ashton Gerard/MDN With Room Coffee co-owner Becca Alvarez helps a guest pick the perfect beverage during their grand opening Saturday.

New inhabitants have moved into the Brick Studio building at 400 East Central Avenue, bringing with them delicious coffee, specialty drinks, treats and plants.

With Room Coffee, co-owned by Becca Alvarez and Emily Vilandre, celebrated the grand opening of their permanent location Saturday.

With Room Coffee is something that has always been Alvarez’s dream. She got her start in coffee at Starbucks. While gaining coffee experience from one of the biggest coffee empires in the world, Alvarez thought of the name With Room Coffee for her own coffee shop one day.

“With Room Coffee has two meanings to me. I came up with the name when I was 18-years-old,” Alvarez explained. “It kind of opens my mind to coffee so, With Room Coffee kind of stands for my cup is never going to be filled to the top. It’s always going to be with room for space and growth and growing with my community.”

The second meaning of the name comes from the black coffee that they specialize in. There’s room for flavor, cream and personality in each cup of coffee served from With Room Coffee.

Ashton Gerard/MDN Guests enjoy cold brew coffee and conversation in the new With Room Coffee location Saturday in Minot.

Alvarez moved from San Jose, California, to Minot to manage a Starbucks store here. There, she met Vilandre and together they started their own business.

“I had many dreams when I was 17- and 18-years-old just to one day own my own coffee shop and 10 years later it came true,” Alvarez laughed.

Getting their name out there was the first stepping stone of the business.

“The first year was a lot of paperwork,” Vilandre said. “We did a lot of events around town like the Festival on Main and the Food Truck Festival and different events at the fairgrounds to help get our name out there.”

From there, the pair started selling growlers, or jugs, of cold brew to area residents. They would meet up with people and refill or deliver their growlers.

Ashton Gerard/MDN Co-owners Becca Alvarez and Emily Vilandre bring together their love of coffee and plants in the new With Room Coffee location.

In September of 2017, CHI St. Alexius Medical Plaza on North Hill offered a semi-permanent location inside their building.

They continued to grow their business until finding a permanent home downtown.

In looking for a location, they knew they didn’t want to go on Broadway because it is littered with coffee shops. They were focusing on the northern end of town or in a more central location due to the lack of coffee in those locations.

“We really like the brick and that it helps draw character in the tall ceilings,” Vilandre explained. “It’s just a good starter (location) because it’s smaller, so we didn’t want to go too big too fast and drown ourselves.”

The coffee at With Room Coffee is different than your typical coffeehouse drink.

Ashton Gerard/MDN The new With Room Coffee location boasts an “Instagramable” appeal with an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere.

“We don’t do espresso at all,” Vilandre said. “All of our hot drinks are made with French press coffee… For all of our cold coffees, we do cold brew.”

French press coffee uses a different brewing technique and offers more caffeine while taking out the bitterness of the coffee and leaving a nice, smooth finish.

The cold brew is steeped for 24 hours in cold or room temperature water, which also takes out the bitterness. The cold brew contains even higher levels of caffeine than the French press according to Vilandre.

In addition to making a smooth cup of coffee, they also make their own syrups and almond milk, which is a unique feature of a coffee shop in Minot.

From their time out in the community, their Lavender Cold Brew and Cinnamon White Mocha have been fan favorites.

“The Mint Mojito is really popular in the summertime because it’s more refreshing because of the fresh mint leaves,” Vilandre said.

Alvarez and Vilandre drew inspiration from coffee shops on the West Coast to incorporate plants into the location.

“There was one that did coffee and flowers and one that did coffee and some plants,” Vilandre said. Being a plant lover herself, she wanted to bring coffee and plants together in Minot.

Alvarez and Vilandre made the decision to open With Room Coffee in Minot because it’s something they say the community needs.

“I felt like Minot deserved a lot more than just a brand-name coffee shop,” Alvarez said about starting the business. “Emily and I came up with the idea to create something here in Minot that we can involve everybody and all cultures here and basically be one with everybody and bring out Minot’s community more.”

Their purpose is to establish a sense of belonging and uplift the community of Minot one cup of coffee at a time.