W.Va. coffee shop touts 'third wave' coffee brewing

August 12, 2013|By TERESA DUNHAM CAVAGNARO | Special to The Herald-Mail
  • Coffee is individually brewed by the cup for customers at Hypnocoffee Roastery in Shepherdstown, W.Va.
Kevin G. Gilbert / staff photographer

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — A new wave of coffee is brewing in Shepherdstown.

Hypnocoffee Roastery, just off the beaten path at 104 S. King St., around the corner from the Sweet Shop Bakery and the Shepherdstown Public Library on German Street, is the little shop that offers what coffee aficionados refer to as the “third wave” of coffee.

The third-wave movement is more about quality and less about speed, treating coffee more like a culinary experience, such as drinking wine, than a quick way to give you a morning jolt. Instead of walking into the shop and expecting a pot to already be brewed, customers at Hypnocoffee get cups brewed individually for them. The high-quality grounds are put into an individual filter, and water is hand-poured over the grounds at an exact temperature to eventually produce what shop owner Tony Williams calls an “excellent” cup of coffee.

“It’s a simple product, but the quality is good. We show attention to detail that elevates it beyond just a cup of coffee,” he said.

Third-wave brewing is what many of the best shops in Washington, D.C., offer, Williams said.

In case you missed the first two waves, Williams explained that the first one came as a result of World War I when GIs were used to being issued cans of ground coffee; the cans soon became part of the kitchen landscape in America. The second wave came in the 1990s when people rushed to popular coffee spots to get their brand name fix and enjoyed the café culture that came here from Europe.

Now, the third-wave movement makes coffee more focused on the individual who will drink it.

It takes four minutes to fully extract the coffee’s flavor through the individual brewing system, Williams said. Further polishing the presentation, baristas are skilled at free pouring milk to create designs such as rosettas on top. For baristas, the ultimate compliment is when someone snaps a picture of the design before taking a sip.

Hypnocoffee roasts its beans five days a week, meaning the customer gets a very fresh cup. Williams changes the menu as the seasons change; for summer, the offerings are generally from Central and South America. His most popular drink right now is Devil’s Kiss, created from a combination of coffee beans grown by farmers in Costa Rica, Ethiopia and Bali.

“We want our coffee to border on a true culinary experience,” Williams said. “Our customer base gets really into it. They love to talk coffee.”

He and his wife, Summer, were trained in third-wave brewing at a coffee shop in Wasington, D.C., before starting their first Hypnocoffee in Davis, W.Va. Later, they moved the shop to Shepherdstown when they relocated their family to the local area for the sense of community and good school systems. They also used to run a Hypnocoffee in Virginia, but they sold that location.

Without going to Washington, D.C, to experience the third wave, Williams knows of only one other coffee shop in Frederick that uses third-wave brewing.

The Williams felt Hypnocoffee would succeed in Shepherdstown because it’s an area that supports local businesses, he said. When the farmer’s market sets up, it is right at Hypnocoffee’s front door, which he said is great for bringing in customers.

The shop also has its fans at Shepherd University. Williams said professors in Shepherd’s History Department are frequent patrons, and the school’s bistro sells some of the store’s coffee. The shop also has loyal online customers who buy by the bag.

Besides its individual brewing method, Williams said his shop also stands out for the way it makes iced coffee: a Japanese method. Add some of the shop’s half-and-half from Trickling Springs Creamery in Chambersburg, along with Hypnocoffee’s very own vanilla syrup made in-house from vanilla beans, and the creation is a refreshing summer drink.

Customer Andrew Pennington, 24, of Martinsburg, W.Va., enjoys sipping espressos there. Even on a day when the weather was in the high 90s, he was in the shop.

“The atmosphere is very friendly. It’s really good coffee,” he said.

If you go ...

WHAT: Hypnocoffee Roastery in Shepherdstown

WHERE: 104 S. King St., Shepherdstown, W.Va.

CONTACT: Call 540-810-0076 or email


Photos by Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

Coffee is individually brewed by the cup for customers at Hypnocoffee Roastery in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

Water that’s several degrees below boiling is poured over ground coffee into a Chemex pitcher at Hypnocoffee Roastery.

Fresh Ethiopian coffee emerges from the bottom of the filter where it has seeped through ground coffee beans at Hypnocoffee.

Tony Williams owns Hypnocoffee Roastery in Shepherdstown, W.Va. He said Shepherd University boasts many fans of the shop.

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