Magic coffee comes to Allouez

Specialty coffee roasting company Coffee Wizardz announce debut retail location

By Rachel Sankey

Sam Brown (left) and Chris Christen (right) use their “nitro bike” to bring Coffee Wizardz selections to farmers markets across Green Bay. Photo courtesy of Coffee Wizardz

Being a coffee wizard isn’t all spells and tomes. In fact, local coffee roasting company Coffee Wizardz has more experience slinging cold brew at farmers markets and roasting small-batch coffee than they do crafting incantations.

Sam Brown and Chris Christen are the makers behind Coffee Wizardz, a Green Bay-operated coffee-roasting company.

Both Brown and Christen said they have a long-time love of all things fantasy—hence the fantastical name—which originates from their fathers. The duo said their love of coffee comes from memories of their parent’s love for the drink.

“That’s what we really want to do,” Brown said, “to explore and offer more adventurous drinks and coffees we source. We want to keep coffee fun.”

Coffee Wizardz roasts contain various different flavors. Its Ethiopian blend features notes of lime custard, Thai basil, strawberries and cream candy. Additionally, the Colombian roast ranges from root beer candies, tobacco and peach skin.

The duo continues their roasting journey with the purchase of their first brick-and-mortar location at 536 Greene Avenue in Allouez.
“This has always been a dream of mine ever since I started working in coffee,” Brown said.

Brown said he’s worked with coffee for over two decades and has participated in numerous coffee competitions.

The duo gained their footing by participating in pop-up ventures around the state. Christen said one of the more interesting pop-ups they’ve participated in was a cereal milk affogato bar. Other eclectic food events the duo have participated in have sold out within hours and fueled their decision to move their business forward.

Coffee roasting company Coffee Wizardz will move into their new location at 536 Greene Avenue in Allouez by the end of the year.

Photo courtesy of Coffee Wizardz

Brown and Christen started an online fundraiser through Kickstarter to purchase their own coffee roaster. The campaign was successful and by February of 2020, Coffee Wizardz was roasting its own coffee in Green Bay.

“The roaster really launched us into a whole other world of flavors with coffee and inspiration,” Brown said.

With the roaster secured, the duo planned more pop-up events, but the COVID-19 pandemic put those plans on hold. The duo decided to keep their roasting magic afloat by starting a coffee subscription service as well as launching a wholesale roasting initiative that landed them in local storefronts such as Voyageurs Sourdough & Bakehouse (430 N Broadway).

Brown said the majority of their coffee is sourced from Cafe Import, an independent, sustainably focused Minneapolis supplier.

“We focus on sourcing coffees that the farmer and the middle work is done to an extent that create unique dynamics of the coffee,” Brown said. “Our philosophy is trying to impact the coffee the least. We’re just trying to highlight what the farmer and middle worker do.”

Coffee Wizardz also has its own “nitro bike,” a bicycle and coffee pourer amalgamation, which the duo serves cold brews and lattes from at farmers markets across Green Bay.

Christin said Green Bay’s response to their coffee and bike has been—no pun intended— “magical.”

“It’s so fun to work the markets,” Christen said. “People are just blown away. The best part about owning this company is when people take that first sip, get three steps away and they turn back like, ‘Holy crap, wow, this is so good.’”

As their business and customer base kept growing, the two knew it was time to find a permanent spot for Coffee Wizardz to call home. The idea of purchasing their own building wasn’t new to them as the duo has known they are at a point where they can’t keep up with supply and demand and they kicked their retail plans into gear.

The duo plan to have the Allouez location fully open and operational by the end of the year. Coffee Wizardz first retail venture will host specialty drinks, hot coffee, teas and a full espresso bar.

Rachel Sankey is a senior earning her BFA in Writing and Applied Arts and Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. She has over four years of publishing experience for literary journals. Her work can be seen in MUSH and Northern Lights. She is passionate about the arts, poetry and all things coffee.

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