Not the Daily Grind

September 12, 2008
By

JOHN SWAN

Local coffee shop celebrates 1st year

HYDE SQ.—The smell of freshly brewed coffee wafted through the air of Café Velouria as a steady stream of customers came in one by one to get their afternoon beverage.

Owner Justin McCarthy stood behind the counter of the small café at 389 Centre St. just off the Hyde Square rotary and explained that he was celebrating his shop’s first anniversary quietly as he prepared an espresso for a waiting patron.

“Business has been good, and we’ve established a lot of regular customers,” said McCarthy, 47, a former art director and graphic designer who changed careers and started his first business so he could be “more independent.”

A Dorchester native, McCarthy said he chose Hyde Square because it was “an economically feasible neighborhood…that’s underserved for decent coffee.”

“I’m here every day,” said Chad Chesko, who works across the street at Fat Ram’s Pumpkin Tattoo parlor. “I like the quality drinks, especially the iced teas. There’s great service, and it’s very convenient. I send our customers over all the time.”

Jen Millett, an administrator at Dana-Farber Cancer Center, said she loves the ambience, soothing music and delicious beverages. “Justin is the friendliest barista on the planet,” she said.

The shop offers seven different kinds of coffees, cappucinos and espressos, 15 kinds of teas and a variety of baked goods from Iggy’s in Cambridge.

Asked how he makes a profit with such specialized fare, McCarthy smiled. “A lot of people drink coffee and appreciate it when it’s really made right. You know, coffee is the number one traded commodity behind oil. But it takes time to learn how to make it best,” he said, pointing out that he went to coffee school in Portland, Ore. before opening the shop.

“The secret is in the execution of it. We use the best equipment and product—fairly traded Terroir brand coffee from the George Howell Company. And we grind the beans for each individual cup.”

Café Velouria is open seven days a week, Mon.-Fri., 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sun. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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