What’s in a name? For Not Just Coffee, it’s everything. This coffee shop promises exactly that: not merely coffee but rather a completely unique experience you won’t be able to find anywhere else in Charlotte. Last year, with two other locations already, owners James and Miracle Yoder opened the first stand-alone storefront in Packard Place. The newest location is classic NJC alongside a clean aesthetic: The sleek, modern lines combined with earthy exposed wood and bright pendant lighting to create something akin to a stage, where the heart and soul of Not Just Coffee can conspire.
Not Just Coffee first came to being in 2011. James and Miracle grew the idea together inside Area 15, a small business incubator in NoDa. James admits it took over a year of hard work to practice and train. They took classes with Counter Culture, watched videos, and experimented to learn the best techniques to create the best coffee.
Environmental sustainability also became a staple of James and Miracle’s business model. Counter Culture does business directly with coffee farmers, a difference the Yoders say you can taste. James, who has been to Nicaragua and Honduras to speak with farmers, discovered the effects of climate change on the coffee crop which heavily influenced his business decisions.
“It was a totally mind-blowing experience. You just see that whole pathway, all of the labor that goes into it, and all of the knowledge and the years of research and learning, decades of it…We’re just one end of this amazing chain that goes into getting coffee.”
James and Miracle pride themselves on doing coffee right, and the movement probably won’t stop with Packard Place: They’re already considering a fourth location. But for now, they continue to keep their regulars coming back and they welcome those who stumble upon Not Just Coffee with warm smiles and one of a kind brews.
“We were never trying to be the best coffee shop in Charlotte,” says James, “I think one of the things we did differently was really digging into the minutia of the craft, and what makes good coffee—the preparation, the techniques. We’ve got some really incredible staff, and so we’re able to facilitate that place of passion for people to pursue their own interest and passion for coffee.”