Will and Nina Chacon | Luna Caffe
Five Minutes with Will and Nina Chacon, Luna Caffe:
“We tried to make Luna Caffe look and feel like a coffee shop that we would usually hang out at. We wanted it to be a place that we would want to spend time in: the ambiance, and the neighborhood people who hang out here.“
Will: We opened Luna because I needed a space to teach out of – I teach drums. We found this building and the back area was perfect for the drum studio, the front… we just kind of decided, “Let’s open a coffee shop.”
Nina: We were trying to figure out what to do with the rest of the building. Will had been teaching out of a music store, in a small studio, and it was taken over by corporate owners and they raised the rent significantly.
Will: So we just decided, let’s open a coffee shop, let’s see what happens. We just signed a lease.
Nina: Neither of us had ever done anything like this before. We said, let’s give it a shot. It was really surprising how supportive the community was. And how terrible we were, at first. And people kept coming back.
Will: Now, I feel kind of embarrassed… that’s a good word. The community was very forgiving. But we were both really into coffee, having gone through college and grad school…
Nina: … college really teaches you to appreciate coffee!
Will: We figured it out as we went. Luna Caffe just celebrated our fourth anniversary. We had just stumbled on this building, and had never been in Wilmington’s Castle Street area before. Lots of the buildings were empty.
Nina: Wilmington Wine was here, and Gravity. And of course Jester’s. It’s a great community. People run into each other here, and the hang out and talk. It’s really cool. People just kind of become friends here.
Will: We started out by meeting local roasters. We really give Focal a lot of credit for teaching us what coffee is. Not that what we had before wasn’t good, but we really learned a lot about quality of coffees.
Nina: We learned about the culture of coffee, and what’s new, and how it’s appreciated now, versus the old school way.
Will: They called it the Third Wave. It might even be the Fourth Wave by now. It’s a different style. Coffees are lighter, and the techniques of pulling shots, and precision in measurement. The people at Focal taught us a lot of the technical stuff. And we learned that coffee can be like wine, with descriptions, and profiles, and flavors. After that, we started getting more and more serious.
Nina: We went to a coffee convention in Charleston: Charleston Coffee Cup. All these different regional roasters attend, and we sampled lots of coffee.
Will: We found our current roaster, Rev Coffee Roasters, out of Smyrna, Georgia. And then we saw that no coffee shop in town is a multi-roaster, meaning that they carry different roasters. So that’s the direction we went, and that’s what we are known for. We always have Rev, that’s our main roaster, but we also have “feature roasters,” and we rotate them, while always trying to keep a local roaster in the shop. We have Manol’s from Zola Coffee, and a roast that they started doing from Pomegranate bookstore, and Rooster & Hen Coffee Co. (which used to be Focal, they re-branded), and we also bring others. We’ve brought coffees in from New York, and from Chicago – big roasters.
Now we are big coffee drinkers, but we keep it to just one to two cups a day. We’re known mostly for our coffee and that’s what we specialize in, but we do offer other things, like tea – loose leaf – and fruit smoothies. We carry baked goods from local stores, like Red Eye Bakery, and Lunchbox breakfast sandwiches. We get tons of calls from out of state, selling granola bars, and other coffee shop items, but we really want to stay local. Our granola bars come from The Veggie Wagon.
Visit Luna Caffe Wilmington on Facebook. Invite your friends. Get a coffee, choose a tea. Sit down and chill a bit. The Chacon family will make you smile.