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Hand-crafted coffee shop set to open at 19th and Massachusetts


Maybe your Valentine prefers coffee over chocolate, and maybe mine will pour a pot of Folgers down my pants if I bring her anything less than five pounds of Hershey bars.

Well, good news for both of us: A new coffee shop is opening in the coming days at 19th and Massachusetts Street, and I’m pretty sure my wife won’t be able to buy a pot of Folgers there.

Alchemy Coffee — which is set to go into a portion of the building that houses the Iwig Dairy store at the southwest corner of the intersection — will feature hand-crafted coffee.

“The whole idea of it is the science of coffee,” said owner Benjamin Farmer. “That is where the alchemy thing plays into it.”

If you want to know about the science of coffee, just let Farmer talk for a couple of minutes. He’ll bring up phrases like pour over, French press and something called clever coffee. As many regular readers will attest, anything related to “clever” likely is beyond my grasp. But Farmer tells me it is a brewing method that uses a paper filter and is kind of a mix between a French press and a traditional pour over. So, I’m sure that clears it up for you.

Alchemy Coffee probably will have to be a bit clever to figure out how to make its location work. The building at 1901 Massachusetts has struggled to keep businesses, in part because the site has some significant parking challenges. In fact, I believe the city had to approve an administrative waiver from the parking requirements to allow Alchemy to locate in the building.

But Farmer said he is aware of all that, and believes a coffee shop may be the right fit for the building because it has the potential to be very pedestrian oriented. The shop will be in the part of the building that faces 19th Street, which puts it on the route to Lawrence High. Plus, the neighborhood around the shop is densely developed, meaning there are lots of homes within walking distance of a cup of coffee. Farmer said he hopes the shop will become a gathering place for area residents.

“I have always loved coffee shops because of the community feel and atmosphere and the idea of coming together over something as simple as coffee,” Farmer said.

Renovation work is underway on the shop. Farmer said he expects to be open before the end of the month.


myop 4 years, 11 months ago

Glad this is coming to the area. I live in the Barker neighborhood. Did he mention what his hours will be? I like Iwig, but they do not have conveneint hours at all.

Chad Lawhorn 4 years, 11 months ago

Sorry, I don't have the hours at the moment. But if I hear them, I'll pass them along. Thanks, Chad

kuhusker 4 years, 11 months ago

This is so awesome. Like 50 ft from my house. Gonna be a regular I think!

jonas_opines 4 years, 11 months ago

It must have taken a while to hand-craft the whole shop.

tolawdjk 4 years, 11 months ago

That was my original thought as well. Aren't all shop's hand crafted or do they contract it out to Chinese sweatshops?

Lawrence_Pilot 4 years, 11 months ago

Seems like the location should be downtown, not at 19th and Mass. I give it 6 mos. as a result.

kuhusker 4 years, 11 months ago

There's already 60 coffee places downtown (slight exaggeration :-) But, nothing south of Downtown. Theres a lot of walkable neighborhood around there, I think he'll do fine.

Sue Grosdidier 4 years, 11 months ago

I would agree, there is no parking and get ting in and out is such a headache, bad location. I have attempted to go to Iwigs three times but there were no spots to park. You cannot even park anywhere and walk over. BAD LOCATION!

Centerville 4 years, 11 months ago

If they let people bring their dogs in with them, the shop will have plenty of business, as there's lots of dog walking in that area. Will also give people another good reason to shop at Iwig. Welcome, Alchemy!

itsalwayssunnyinlarry 4 years, 11 months ago

I agree. I walk my dog by there weekly, it would be nice if they had a walk up window or something

OldEnuf2BYurDad 4 years, 11 months ago

Ignoring parking challenges is a grave error. Remember the outlet mall? Cars from Johnson County were lined up down New Hampshire St. unable to get a parking space. That was the beginning of the end.

Kyle Chandler 4 years, 11 months ago

^ Comparing the parking needs of a mall with that of a neighborhood coffee shop seems reasonable, you must be a city councilman/woman.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 4 years, 11 months ago

I'll put it this way: There are literally TWO parking spaces in front of the place, and no on-street parking. That's not going to work.

jack22 4 years, 11 months ago

I was hoping this was going to be across the street in the vacant space where the Yellow House used to be, but either way I'm eager to give it a try. It sounds like it'll be a nice addition to that area of town.

sarahstormxx 4 years, 11 months ago

I agree, opening early in the morning and staying open until 8 pm, and being able to bring your dog in will greatly increase the amount of times I visit this location.

Randall Barnes 4 years, 11 months ago

dogs are cleaner than most humans.so what is your problem ?

Richard Heckler 4 years, 11 months ago

I say the location will be tough. Hope he got a bargain on the rent....

gccs14r 4 years, 11 months ago

Maybe he can lease some space from the former gas station on the NW corner for additional parking.

msezdsit 4 years, 11 months ago

Anybody making good coffee is a friend of mine. There is no doubt the location is a disadvantage from the beginning. Good Luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

notaubermime 4 years, 11 months ago

“'The whole idea of it is the science of coffee,' said owner Benjamin Farmer. 'That is where the alchemy thing plays into it.'”

Says a person who obviously does not know either what alchemy is or what science is. But hey, let's just slap the word "science" onto things so it sounds like we know what we are doing.

LadyJ 4 years, 11 months ago

Park around the corner on the 1900 block of Vermont. When you go to a coffee shop downtown you do not expect to get a parking spot right in front of the shop.

Jessmamabird 4 years, 11 months ago

Why is it that we cannot be happy and support one another? Why can we not welcome local business and find ways to congratulate and offer support if we have the available resources? Far too many neighsayers get there punch in whenever they can and it's completely unnecessary. Yes, speak up against environmental destruction or ridiculous and unnecessary development, but a coffee shop?! I know Ben. He's a hardworking individual with a family, going out on a limb to pursue a dream, a dream that some of you find laughable. Why not congratulate and wish him luck. Heck, why not stop in and get yourself a cup of coffee and say hello? Why not ASK why he uses the term alchemy to represent his coffee? We as individuals of a community need to support one another. Simple as that. Unless of course you would rather have another Starbucks and a Walmart open up instead...

irvan moore 4 years, 11 months ago

welcome to our neighborhood Ben, i am sure you and your business will be a nice addition

Dave Greenbaum 4 years, 11 months ago

Yup, near a school it's a good idea to obey the law.

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