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In Dining

Owner Scott Lucey stands in front of the site for his new Kickapoo Coffee cafe.

New Third Ward Kickapoo Cafe will serve great coffee with a conscience

A new coffee shop is moving into the southern edge of the Third Ward this fall.

Kickapoo Coffee will settle into the newly constructed space at 232 E. Erie St., next door to the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design residence hall and just down the street from the Broadway Theater Center.

The shop will be run by Scott Lucey, long time barista and head of training at Colectivo coffee, along with Kickapoo Coffee Roasters owners T.J. Semanchin and Caleb Nicholes.

"Having my own cafe was a long-time dream," says Lucey, "So partnering with Kickapoo was a perfect solution."

Lucey says that the balance between coffee quality and sustainability was a large part of why he chose to partner with Kickapoo, the award-winning Viroqua coffee roaster.

"As a global, economic and cultural and social project, it's really a challenging prospect to meet those goals and also end up with a quality product that has a great flavor," Lucey says. "But, they do an amazing job of putting sustainability and socio-economic impacts first. They're not in business just for the profits; they're really committed to the larger picture."

A good example is a Kickapoo Coffee called Project Congo.

The coffee is the result of a philanthropic collaboration with On The Ground, through which $1 from each pound of coffee sold goes to efforts which aim to promote and raise awareness of gender equality in the farming regions of the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where women are exploited for their labor, but left out of the economic benefits their work derives. Read more at

Lucey says Kickapoo's membership in the cooperative organization, Coop Coffees was also a driver because it allows a very small company to compete with larger roasters – and obtain higher quality coffee – through collective buying.

The 1.800-square foot cafe will be "clean and bright," says Lucey, who says he's working with Paul Scherer of Think Drawer design (the designers behind Walker's Point spots like Braise and Morel) to use elements like navy blue tile and walnut planks to create a space that strikes the perfect balance between modern and craftsman.

"The south wall of the cafe is a huge window," says Lucey, "So, we'll have a ton of sunlight. And we really hope to maximize the brightness and cleanness of the space.

In addition to coffee, Lucey says the cafe – which he hopes will open by October – will serve a few basic food items such as cookies and baked goods.


mbradleyc | June 10, 2015 at 6:25 a.m. (report)

"Socially Conscious coffee" sounds expensive. I'll have the other. I don't need politics with my coffee.

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