It was 2017 when Milwaukee barista Ryan Castelaz took a leap and opened Discourse, an experimental coffee bar in Door County, which aimed to push the culinary boundaries of coffee while taking guests on an experiential flavor journey.
After a four-year run, Castelaz brought the Discourse concept home to the Cream City in 2021, relaunching the brand with a series of local pop-ups across the city.
But, in the weeks ahead Castelaz will take the brand to a new level by establishing a location at Crossroads Collective, 2238 N. Farwell Ave.
The beverage business, operated by Castelaz and partners Olivia Molter, director of design, and Sean Liu, director of operations, will officially open its doors on Saturday, Feb. 5 beginning at 9 a.m.
"We are so, so excited for this next chapter in the Discourse story," notes Castelaz in an announcement about the move. "Sean, Olivia, and I are incredibly excited to share our unique vision for coffee service with the city of Milwaukee, one that has been germinating in our heads for many years."
On the menu
The Discourse menu will open with a series of eight "craft" offerings. Those will take the form of coffee shop staples, as well as entirely novel culinary-inspired offerings such as the Crenn, a work of molecular gastronomy which presents as an exploding sphere filled with an assortment of coffees, teas and juices.
Discourse’s craft offerings are slated to rotate on a seasonal basis; however, guests can also expect a monthly rotating selection of themed drinks in the brand’s Art series. These beverages will highlight seasonal, sustainably sourced ingredients while showcasing Discourse’s commitment to innovation.
“Art series offerings will be the culmination of everything I’ve learned in my career as a drink maker, and feature wild ingredients, wild preparations, and wild ideas,” says Castelaz. “Our drinks strive to incorporate a balance of all five tastes – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami – as opposed to just the two most commonly associated with the coffee experience – sweet and bitter."
The inaugural menu will feature:
- Moonwater: espresso, honey, ceylon cinnamon, tellicherry black pepper, applewood smoked sea salt
- Parisian: matcha, blueberry, mango, passionfruit, lime
- Channel Orange: espresso, smoked & oaked vanilla, orange oleo saccharum, Bittercube Blackstrap bitters, candied orange powder
- Motorhead: espresso, pork fat & apple caramel, chai concentrate, root beer bitters, apple powder, smoked sea salt
- What Winter Forgot: espresso, house cocoa blend, chai concentrate, ras el hanout, orange
- Pappy: espresso, bourbon barrel aged maple, black lava salt, atomized bourbon
- Phoenix: sous vide coffee, fluffy orange juice, fennel, almond
- Crenn: cocoa butter sphere, apple cider, caramel, candied pecan
In addition to beverage offerings, Discourse will also offer bean-to-bar chocolate sourced from award-winning international producers as well as sous vide coffee and locally made biscotti.
Once open, Discourse will operate seven days a week, with hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.