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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.

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