For many working people, one of the highlights of the work day is taking a quick break for a cup of coffee and perhaps chat with a coworker. For local entrepreneur Tanya Schneider the whole day is a coffee break, really, or soon will be with the long awaited opening of her new coffee shop and bakery, Courageous Coffee. “I get to play all day. It doesn’t feel like work,” says Schneider.
Schneider’s shares that her passion for coffee began with a cup of coffee shared with her dad when she was young. It wasn’t until about 10 years ago, though that she began experimenting with roasting her own beans at home. What started as a hobby later became something she would share with friends and family. Scheinder’s locally roasted coffee first was shared more widely when her employer at the time, Tricounty Electric, assembled some care packages for troops stationed overseas. She volunteered to roast up a special batch of coffee to be included in the boxes. “Roasting coffee for someone else especially going to the troops was really meaningful,” Schneider said that experience got her thinking that perhaps her hobby could be the basis of a business venture.
That emphasis on doing something for others has been an ongoing theme for Schneider as her business has grown. Ten percent of the proceeds are donated to charities. Recent donations have gone to the Autism Society of Michigan and the City Rescue Mission in Lansing. In addition, Courageous Coffee often partners with local nonprofits to sell ground or whole bean coffee for fundraisers.
The roasting venture has grown out of her home in recent years, upgrading to larger and larger air rosters (picture a machine kind of like a hot air popcorn popper) eventually moving into a purpose built roasting building on her property. In 2016, Courageous Coffee debuted at the Portland Farmers’ Market.Schneider’s fresh locally roasted coffee is also available for sale at Tom’s Food Center, and the Portland Party Store in Portland as well as the Little Flower Market in Westphalia.
For the past year Schneider and her family have been painstakingly gutting and renovating the property at the corner of Bridge Street and Maple Street in Portland into a coffee shop and bakery. While the site was formerly the home of Electric Sunshine Tanning Salon, there is literally nothing left of the former business. When you walk through the door, the low, dark, wood paneled salon has been replaced with high ceilings and enameled floors. When finished, the seating area will feature a fireside seating area and even an indoor porch swing suspended from the ceiling.
In addition to the seating area and coffee bar, the new business boasts a full commercial kitchen where baked goods will be made fresh by local baker Erica Sheehan. Sheehan, who was recently elected to the Portland City Council, brings many of her well known Bee Loved Baked Goods recipes with her to her new job as the baker at Courageous Coffee. The menu will include a rotating selection of cinnamon rolls, scones, cookies, and pies by the slice. The coffee roasting operation will also move to Bridge Street as the location includes a large roasting room at the back of the business.
When Courageous Coffee opens in early 2020, the business will employ Schneider, Sheehan and two baristas. At first, they anticipate a soft opening with limited hours. Later on, hours will be 6:30 AM to 3:00 PM Monday to Friday and 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM on Saturday. Schneider says that later hours may be something they experiment with in the future if there is demand. While no definite date for opening has been set, interested community members can follow Courageous Coffee on Facebook to stay up to date as the opening gets closer. “We are really excited to open our doors to the community we love,” said Schneider.