You’re a regular Joe, not some fancy pants artiste who plays cricket and denounces others for being imma-toor. You consume regular coffee drinks because they taste good, not because your fragile ego is desperate to impress the long line of people behind you with your knowledge of Italian. Coffee is a real drink for real people. You don’t drink it with a pinky in the air and you don’t have time to memorize a whole glossary of terms so that you can order.
Well guess what: there is a coffee shop for people like you and it’s on a mission to spread across the Charleston area so that people like you can get your morning (or afternoon) brew quickly and conveniently, or sit down with friends or business associates to share ideas over a steaming cup. It’s called Biggby Coffee and it’s open now on Saint Andrew’s Blvd. in West Ashley, Trolley Road in Summerville, Saint James Ave. in Goose Creek and Dorchester Road in North Charleston.
If those aren’t the most convenient locations for you, don’t worry, more are coming.
Walk into a Biggby Coffee, or drive up to the drive thru window, and you won’t find any airs – just friendly baristas making delicious coffee drinks designed for real people. At Biggby, no one is trying to put hair on your chest with their roast; no one is trying to make a statement with a 17-word drink order. When you say “small,” “medium” or “large” at Biggby Coffee, you get the size you asked for, not a frown.
Fun and Non-Intimidating Coffee
At Biggby, they talk about coffee being “fun” and “non-intimidating,” because evidently, that has to be said. When they give a drink a name, it’s designed to make it easier to remember, not harder. Their drinks are called teddy bears, nutty buddies and caramel marvels, not pasta fagioli frappafrippa Ralph Maccio.
Area Biggby locations have in-store seating for leisurely activities like reading, doing homework, or communing with friends. The newest location in West Ashley includes semi-private meeting pods for those conducting business, and community tables for striking up a conversation with friends whom you haven’t yet met.
Aaron Marley, owner of the North Charleston and Summerville locations, and area representative for Biggby, met one couple who informed him that they enjoyed their first, Internet-arranged date at his café five years before. They bonded over a Frozen Butter Bear latte or summer hibiscus-infused coffee, or maybe just a smooth medium roast house blend. From there, the sparks flew. Marley is tickled about his small role in their marriage, celebrated every time they stop by for some java. Biggby is a place where magic happens and people are comfortable being themselves.
“We LOVE people!” said Marley.
Coffee Drinks Delivered with a Smile
If you’re in a rush, zip up to the drive thru and get a cup and a smile to go. Rather than nose rings and neck tattoos, Biggby baristas sport friendly demeanors and a philosophy built around making the customer’s day better when they leave the store. The company trains its staff to be welcoming and sociable through its “PERC” program:
P – perception by customer that we respect their time and move them as quickly as possible.
E – every customer leaves the store in a better mood than when they arrived.
R – recognize each customer as individual
C – consistently produce high quality beverages
“The C is last because it’s the easiest to do,” says Marley. “For that, you just need to follow the recipe.”
Farm Direct Coffee Beans Grown with People and the Environment in Mind
The recipe for Biggby is to support local farmers and provide 50% of all coffee farm-direct by 2023 and 100% thereafter. Current coffee programs are in place to support local farmers in Zambia and Nicaragua. These farms are verified to maintain fair trade, organic, and socially responsible business practices. At Recreo Coffee Estate in Nicaragua children are barred from working the fields and are instead sent to farm-funded school. Living Hope Zambia added 70 beds to the village orphanage.
Biggby’s beans are roasted on demand and delivered weekly, so the coffee is always fresher than fresh, fresher than the Fresh Prince, fresher than the freshest roast at mom-and-pop coffee shops.
The house espresso blend at Biggby is a medium roast for regular people, not the dark roast of most specialty coffee shops designed to test how bitter you can stand it, as if coffee consumption was a competition. If you prefer your coffee strong, Biggby offers a dark roast, not to mention a whole host of fun drinks that you can customize any way you like.
Biggby cafes are locally owned and operated by people from the neighborhood whose kids play Little League with yours and whose stores donate to local charity efforts. Marley himself is a College of Charleston grad who wandered off to the big cities for a spell but eventually found his way home to establish the franchise business with his father. He expects the four area locations to blossom to 15 or 20 over time, much as it did in Lansing, Michigan where Biggby was founded and now dominates the coffee shop landscape. Folks in Michigan love Biggby because it’s too cold for people to stand around preening about their drink selection.
Drink Flavors for Real People
One perk of the perc business is getting first dibs on all the delicious new flavors, many of which are devised by baristas around the country who are encouraged by the company to innovate. Marley says the cheesecake lattes and golden honey latte with turmeric are hugely popular with customers. The Neapolitan ice cream latte, on the other hand, failed to move the needle and got sent back to Naples. Marley looks forward to Halloween for the return of the pumpkin and sweet potato pie drinks. Biggby is more than just coffee: it offers an array of hot chocolate, teas, mocktails and other drinks.
The thing is, you enjoy all the trappings of the quintessential coffee shop without the pretention. At Biggby, the delicious coffee drinks, relaxed community feel and smiling barista are all part of the package and you don’t have to learn a foreign language. Biggby is like Festivus: it’s the coffee shop for the rest of us.