To the anti-Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts-is-not-good-coffee armies, the just-opened Allston location of Bee’s Knees Supply Co. is good news, as it’ the fully realized vision of owner Jason Owen’s nod to the coffeeshops of his native south.
“We celebrate the small makers here, [and] I think there’s an art to roasting coffee just like there is to making cheese or brewing beer,” says Owens, an admitted coffee super fan, who says his upbringing in Nashville—home to celebrated serious coffee bar Barista Parlour X Golden Sound, opened by a high school friend of Owens’ in partnership with members of the Black Keys—has fueled his fire for getting the coffee bar at Bee’s Knees off the ground. “Boston is becoming more of a coffee culture town, so I wanted to create an environment that’s unpretentious, but with a sophisticated approach to serving coffee.”
Bee’s Knees is already working with different rotating roasters doing small batch stuff and novel things within the coffee scene, and Owens says one of the key things of the 20-seat coffee bar (yes, they also serve a killer grilled cheese) is the staff on hand to talk about the coffees, educate people, and become a true neighborhood joint unabashedly about appreciating well-made stuff. “We just embrace that,” says Owens. “Whether it’s the coffee or the beer and wine or our products, [it’s] a relaxed environment to hang out with some friends, read a book, have a business meeting, chill on a laptop for a while, or just shop and bring some cool coffees home.”
The Allston location is the first spot in the Hub to feature Portland, Oregon, darlings Stumptown Nitro Cold Brew coffee on draft, which settles in the cup like a pint of Guinness constructing itself in creamy layers. “Now it’s just about keeping it in stock,” laughs Owens. They’re featuring Verve roasters out of California and Supersonic out of Seattle right now with more featured roasters to come (see: Four Barrel).
Besides regular cups of joe, there are mocktails using Stumptown Nitro layered with fresh local almond milk (“The real stuff,” says Owens) and some Luxardo cherry for a concentrated caffeine treat. The bar also offers siphon coffee using Japanese technology (by way of sixth grade chemistry, basically) where you brew coffee in a triple-filtered glass pot heated by a butane burner and stir several times though the process for a lighter and more nuanced flavor.
“You go into a lot of serious coffee shops and you may feel overwhelmed, or not know what to get or what to do; we just don’t want to have that kind of environment here,” says Owens. “We don’t want people to feel intimidated by us having coffees they have never heard of or methods that they haven’t seen before, and for us it’s about giving something new to people, and hopefully ourselves.”
BEE’S KNEES SUPPLY CO. NOW OPEN. 1314 COMM AVE., ALLSTON. FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT BEESKNEESSUPPLY.COM