Historians believe the use of coffee dates back to before the 11th century A.D. Thought to be native to East Africa, the Arabs began cultivating coffee by the 14th century. By the 16th century, it had spread to the rest of the Middle East, the Balkans, Italy, Europe, and finally to the Americas. Needless to say, the drinking of coffee became an integral part of society.
It is no different today where you are guaranteed to find a coffee shop on almost every corner of a big city and at least three or four shops in the smallest of towns. In Enderly Park on the Westside of Charlotte, you will find a relatively new coffee shop called Enderly Coffee. Opening its doors in July of 2012, Tony and Becky Santoro took a leap of faith while retaining their teaching positions in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System. Having moved to Charlotte from Detroit, Michigan, the Santoros have spent the last seven years doing what they love best, teaching in Title 1 schools pouring life into [their] students. Being long time coffee drinkers and having frequented multiple coffee shops in and around the country, they decided to branch out of their comfort zone and grow a company with a mission.
In 2012, a good friend of theirs went on a mission trip to a small village outside of Guatemala City. Knowing the Santoros passion for coffee, he picked up a bag of beans to bring home from a local farmer in the village. The beans were fresh, unique, and very tasty. Because this village is very missional and the church the Santoros belong to is vested in the village, they decided to do their part and reach out to them. Luckily for the Santoros, the farmers son–who lives in America–distributes his fathers coffee beans around the country. We are able to buy directly through the farmers family, putting more money back into their pockets, says Santoro. We are proud that we can trade directly with our farmers. Were also connected with farmers from Panama, Costa Rica, and Rwanda.
Having started roasting their beans four years ago, the Santoros believe that fresh roast and grind are essential to truly reaching the potential of the coffee beans. There is so much flavor lost when roasted beans or ground coffee beans sit on the shelf for a month at a time. Coffee is like wine, says Santoro. There are so many intricate flavors and nuances that can be pulled from a bean; every crop is different.
Enderly coffee makes their mark by connecting to the community and by giving back a portion of their proceeds to the local ministry, Hyaets Organization. Hyaets Organization is a church ministry that has been in the neighborhood since 2005 supporting the youth, putting on Freedom School during the summer months, and opening their homes to youth groups weekly. The Santoros believe that supporting the city in which one lives is very important. As a result, this is one of Enderly Coffees main aspects. The plan is to generate income for the neighborhood while eventually employing and training a few transitional teens or adults who reside in Enderly Park. We love our city, and we know that the residents of Charlotte love their city too. So, its important; if you love your city, you support it, says Santoro. It makes for a better city. It makes for a stronger city.
Along with supporting the local community here in Charlotte, Enderly Coffee also plans to work with Equitas, an organization in Charlotte that helps educate students in Africa, and roast coffee from Malawi and other countries to support their important causes.
The coffee you find at Enderly Coffee wont be found on the shelf of your local grocer. Wanting to open the eyes of the local coffee drinkers around the city, the Santoros strive to bring out the beauty and complexity found in a well roasted coffee bean. When you step into Enderly Coffee, you know that its different from other competitors. The Santoros like to describe it as a coffee shop that is intentionally a mission – and one that does not necessarily include the prerequisite of being hip. It is simply a place for people that like good coffee.
Owning a coffee shop is a dream come true. Finding the right space and being able to remain in the Westside of Charlotte has been a challenge, but having a heart for Enderly Park and its residents is the primary and sole reason they plan on remaining right where they are while establishing themselves both as a landmark and a presence with their neighbors.
For more information or to place an order visit Enderly online at www.enderlycoffee.com.