Baristas Caitlin Dalton, left, and Rachel Terran pour a customer Publik s signature single-origin  pour-over  Friday morning. The shop specializes in
Baristas Caitlin Dalton, left, and Rachel Terran pour a customer Publik s signature single-origin pour-over Friday morning. The shop specializes in exotic coffee, including a new Kenyan-grown pour-over with coffee beans that were grown at 15,000-foot elevation. Photo by Alexandria Gonzalez.
Five years ago, Matthew Bourgeois said he fell in love. However, it is not the storybook romance most people speak of. Bourgeois found himself head over heels for a "what" rather than a "who": coffee shops. Last year, the romance culminated in a business deal, and he found himself the co-owner and co-founder of Publik. Coffee Roasters.

Bourgeois purchased a 13,000 square-foot warehouse in Salt Lake City last year that he turned into a roastery. There, he tests different coffee beans and roasts from all over the world, from Ethiopia to Colombia to Sumatra. The delicate process includes roasting a half-pound at a time and tasting the coffee every 10 minutes to see which roast tastes best.

"We roast our coffee very lightly, because coffee is like wine in terms of being able to taste hints of the country the beans come from," Bourgeois said. "For example, Ethiopian coffee has hints of blueberry, so if you roast the beans too much, you'll just get a burned kind of taste instead of that rich, sweet taste, which is what we want to avoid."

When the Kimball Art Center was looking for someone to fill the coffee shop space, they called upon Bourgeois and his exotic coffee roasts. While Bourgeois was reluctant at first, he accepted the offer and now serves international coffee on Park Avenue.

"'Publik' means community in Dutch, and that's what I want to offer here in Park City, a place where the community can stop in for some good coffee," he said.


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"The collaboration of community in coffee shops is what I fell in love with, and the Dutch word ties the shop into the history of coffee as well."

According to Bourgeois, a Dutch merchant was the first to import coffee beans from Ethiopia, where the beans were first discovered, in 1616. Nearly 400 years later, Bourgeois and his co-owner Missy Greis are offering unique roasts to the "publik."

The offerings are named after the country or region they come from, like the Blue Batak roast from Sumatra. The signature espresso is named C-9, in honor of the new name given to the neighborhood where the roastery in Salt Lake City is located: Central 9th.

Bourgeois said he and Greis love to support local vendors and partnered with Red Bicycle Bread to offer one-of-a-kind toast offerings. Different bread selections are toasted and topped with anything from traditional butter to mango habanero jam spread or avocado, salt and pepper.

"We wanted to offer something different than just pastries and baked goods to go with your coffee," Bourgeois said. "So we came up with the idea of toast, because it tastes great but doesn't overshadow our coffee."

The spreads that top the Red Bicycle Bread are Amour Spreads, headquartered in Salt Lake City. The tea at the shop is also provided by a company out of Salt Lake City,The Queen's Teas.

Bourgeois wants to offer Cold Brew Sundays, too, now that summer is in full-swing. Visitors to the shop can order cold-brewed coffee and drink it on the deck next to the Kimball Art Center while listening to live music and enjoying some fresh air under the shade of patio umbrellas.

"I just want to encourage the community to come and see what we're all about," Bourgeois said.

Publik. Coffee Roasters

  • 638 Park Ave.
  • www.publikcoffee.com
  • Monday Friday: 7 a.m. until 5 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday: 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.