Coffee lovers unite at Grind City Coffee Xpo


Sophia Aiello

Memphians fill Wiseacre Brewery on Nov. 6 for the Grind City Coffee Xpo. This event showcases local coffee shops, allowing guests to sample flavors from all across Memphis and learn more about the caffeinated beverage.

At the entrance, guests are greeted by the scent of a Costa Rican blend with strong notes of citrus, cherry and caramel. Grasping the sample-sized coffee cup, I approach a new booth where the rumbling of coffee beans being mixed on top of a roaster grabs my attention. I spin around following the aroma of a sweet nitro cold brew being poured into another cup.

From 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., I was joined by coffee lovers at the Wiseacre Brewery for the Grind City Coffee Xpo. After a gap year of the event, Grind City Coffee was finally able to invite Memphians to discover local coffee businesses all at one venue and expand their knowledge of coffee’s history, creation and possibilities. This event hosted over 10 coffee-centric vendors to share coffee culture.

Tickets were sold for different times throughout the day, but customers were encouraged to buy tickets allowing them to come in at 10 a.m. Taking advantage of the earlier time entrance, I recommend future event-goers to do the same. The vendors were eager to see their first few faces of the day, armed with steaming hot beverages, but the coffee would remain fresh throughout the day as they continuously performed demonstrations of the coffee-making process.

Thirty Three


Waiting in line to enter the building, there were two booths showcasing products relating to coffee. First was Thirty Three displaying several shirt designs and prints for sale. What initially caught my eye was the shirt printer through which they showed the process of shirt stamping. The main design of the event was a skull with coffee being streamed into the eye sockets, grabbing the attention of spectators to what was inside.

Belltower Coffeehouse & Studio

525 & 529 S Highland, Memphis, Tennessee

Instagram: @belltower_coffeehouse

Encompassing the other booth, I saw a pottery spinning machine. The table set up next to it displayed handmade mugs. These mugs had a unique look with different shapes, colors, wordings and textures. Each mug on display was connected to Memphis through a variety of designs including Tennessee state outlines, “901” across the center and more. Belltower offers custom pottery, pottery classes and private classes at their storefront.

Dr. Bean’s Coffee Roasters

387 S Main, Memphis, Tennessee

Instagram: @drbeanscoffeeandtea

Finally through the entrance, I saw the first coffee vendor booth: Dr. Bean’s Coffee Roasters. They displayed the contents of three of their roasts — Ethiopia Organic Welde Hirbe Natural, Colombia Huila Las Virgen and Colombia Huila Geisha Las Meiles. After sampling their hot coffees, it is safe to say that if you are not a fan of super strong coffee but still enjoy flavor, Dr. Bean’s is the perfect company to test out.

Dipsticle Artisan Gelato Cafe

694 N Germantown Pkwy., Cordova, Tennessee

Instagram: @dipsticle

Something cold was just what I needed after the coffee from Dr. Bean. Luckily, the portable Dipsticle freezer was to the right. The local handmade popsicle shop sold their full-size pops as well as handed out small sample-sized popsicles of select coffee-related flavors, including my flavor of choice: tiramisu. 

French Truck Coffee

1350 Concourse Ave. Suite #167, Memphis, Tennessee

Instagram: @frenchtruckmemphis

I noticed the familiar yellow truck logo of the coffee shop location in Crosstown Concourse. French Truck Coffee showcased both cold and hot coffees, debuted a new flavor and handed out logo stickers.

The cold drinks were variants of their Nola flavor — either regular, unsweet or with oat milk. These cold coffees were packaged in cute handheld boxes labeled “COFFEE TO GO.” This was definitely my favorite drink so far. The hot drink on display was this year’s holiday beverage La Fete De Noel, a two bean blend from Colombia and Costa Rica with notes of syrup, cherry, caramel and cacao. As the cup approached my lips, the sweet smell filled my nostrils. I loved the comforting sweet taste that contrasts heavily from most holiday-themed coffees that lean towards peppermint and spice.

Memphis Coffee Community

Sustain Coffee

Instagram: @901sustaincoffee

Greeted by their friendly staff, I arrived at my next booth. With three flavors on display, Sustain Coffee explained to guests the making of their coffee recipes. While customers sipped on their sample, the employees discussed the importance of sustainability — the main part of their branding. Lacking a storefront, Sustain Coffee works through podcasts and classes to share with others their passion. Their podcast called “CART” can be found on Spotify, which has several episodes that highlight subjects like Memphis water and the levels of roasting coffee beans.

Memphis Coffee Community

Ugly Mug

4610 Poplar Ave, Memphis, Tennessee

Instagram: @uglymugcoffeetn

Click, stir, click, stir, click, stir. The sound of jumping coffee beans over the roaster filled the air alongside the strong smell of coffee beans. I’ve always been an avid drinker of coffee, but I’ve never given much thought to how it’s made or what roasts truly mean.

Coffee beans start off with a lighter complexion and gain darkness throughout their time of being roasted. Ugly Mug brought with them a small roaster to show guests the process of roasting.

Ugly Mug also gave a sneak-peak of their new flavor, Rare Origin Coffee: Myanmar, released a week after the event. This is a naturally processed fresh light roast with a blueberry aroma and white grape flavor. Along with the sample taste, they distributed out bags of this blend.

Rishi Tea & Botanicals

Sparkling Botanicals

Instagram: @rishitea

Something new from all the coffee was just what I needed, and Rishi had it — their Sparking Botanicals. These canned drinks are made from “real plants, virtus botanicae and real virtue.” They displayed six flavors, showcasing a beautiful arrangement with the colorful cans. I sampled the Elderberry Maqui tea, and to my surprise, it was not overwhelmingly sweet. If anything, it lacked the overwhelming sweetness most sparkling drinks have. 

Also set up were packets of tea bags, all a caffeine-free organic botanical blend in a variety of flavors, including Turmeric Ginger, as well as small Matcha packets that are an organic premium Japanese tea mix.

Frothy Monkey

Located in Nashville, Franklin, and Chattanooga

Instagram: @frothymonkey

Traveling to Memphis for the exposition, Frothy Monkey welcomed coffee enthusiasts to their booths with open arms. My favorite part was that they had iced drinks on tap; I sampled their nitro brew, which had a strong taste of coffee with the perfect amount of sweetness. Their Classic Frothy Cold Brew Coffee was rich with flavor and handed out with a sticker.

Memphis Coffee Community

Comeback Coffee

358 N. Main, Memphis, Tennessee


Soda or coffee? Which source of caffeine resonates better with you? What about a combination of the two: coffee soda. This was the first time I had seen or heard of this concoction, but the Comeback Coffee vendors explained that it has been around for roughly two years. I sampled the flavor “The OG,” a combination of strawberry and lime; and “Southern Style,” a combination of lemon and thyme. These drinks are handcrafted here in Memphis.

On display were also sliced oranges and pomegranates, displaying the flavor points of their new coffee soda flavor “Field Day.” Coffee soda is something that intrigues most when hearing the name, and the taste does not disappoint.


Instagram: @linapremiumcoffee

By far, this booth was the most educational one I visited. On display were their blends with the beans. Their beans are collected from Colombia, and they shared pictures of the labor that goes into gathering the beans. They had the variety blend “Costillo” presented with different flavors including “La Lina” and processed natural, honey and more.

Memphis Coffee Community

Vice & Virtue

477 S. Main Street, Memphis, Tennessee

Instagram: @vicetirtuecoffee

My final stop: Vice & Virtue. The booth workers were outgoing and immediately began pouring guests’ samples upon arrival. I sampled one of their hot coffees, which was strong in flavor. It was the perfect goodbye, and I savoringly sipped before exiting the event.