August 17, 2017
A new pop-up coffee shop aims to inject high-quality coffee and a chill spot into the heart of Codman Square. Ripple Coffee opened its doors two weeks ago in an existing Jamaican eatery at 36 Norfolk St. It is run by a collective of four entrepreneurs who have designed their concept, business model, and infrastructure from scratch.
As a home-grown shop, the owners expect to provide a new “third-place” where customers can connect when they are not at work or at home.
“I was looking for a place where young adults could come and hang out on a Friday or Saturday night that wasn’t a club or a bar, that was chill, where they could meet people,” explained co-owner Gaelle Ducheine. “I couldn’t find it growing up here or during my time New York so I decided to create one. I had a lot of inspiration from the show ‘Friends’, I wanted to create the “third-place”; if you weren’t at home or work, you were at the coffee shop.”
Ripple Coffee is brewed over a chemex pot and served pour-over style, an old-school, hands on method that breeds a rich flavored taste in their coffee. Ripple brews coffee made with single origin beans, meaning that the beans come from a single farm in a particular region of the world, although they rotate through different farms depending on the season and the source. Their coffee, tea, and other ingredients such as milk and sugar, are all organic.
The shop itself is located within what is known to Codman Square residents as Taste of Eden, a Jamaican restaurant that provides comfort food in a neighborhood with a strong base of Caribbean residents. The restaurant’s owner, affectionately called Ms. Hopa, has given the group the space and opportunity to get their idea off the ground.
“It’s kind of funky,” Ducheine said. “It’s like, ‘Okay, Jamaican restaurant with coffee?’ But, it actually works. This restaurant is so beloved within the community that, because we’re here and people trust the owner of the restaurant, they’re just like, ‘Cool, we’ll try this out.’”
Ducheine, 27, and James Guerrier, 24, both grew up on streets not too far from the restaurant where their store is now located, giving them the feeling that this is where Ripple was meant to begin its journey as a store and brand. Working together with their co-owners, Amy and Izak Filmalter, 27 and 26, respectively, they have high hopes for what Ripple can mean for this section of Dorchester and beyond.
“We dream big,” Guerrier said. “The goal is to scale massively, but also, to really bring something different to the community, to bring something uplifting. We’re [Gaelle and James] from Boston, originally, so we feel as if God has opened a door for us to be on this specific street; we feel like it’s no coincidence. We used to live down the street. We spent a lot of time walking the streets on this block, with these people. So we want to bring something different to the community without gentrifying it.”
As grounded as they are in their current location, they aim to, in a matter of months, accumulate enough revenue to expand into their own location with a space that is conducive to the theme and ambience they want to create: “Like your second living room.”
They even hope to incorporate their own individual skills, whether they be live music, art, or craftsmanship, into this new space as it develops. However, regardless of any expansion plan, Guerrier says Ripple will, “still be that neighborhood cafe that’s catering to the neighborhood that we’re in.”