Waking Life to pop up downtown

Waking Life is moving downtown — for four hours, at least. On Saturday, Sept. 15, the West Asheville coffee brewer will be at Urban Outfitters on the corner of Haywood and College streets serving pour-overs of an exclusive Ethiopian coffee called Mora Mora.

Jared Rutledge, owner of Waking Life, says the pop-up, which will consist of a table with portable equipment, is a concept that has taken off in cities such as Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia. The temporary project is part of his effort to re-contextualize coffee in Asheville and move it from a casual, morning beverage to a complex, sensory experience.

“I'm looking at [the pop-up] as an opportunity to get people to view coffee a little bit differently in Asheville,” he says. “I would like it to be a good starting point for Asheville's coffee culture to change. We haven't seen a lot of anything original or creative or different in Asheville's coffee scene like we have in the food scene.”

Rutledge hopes his efforts to re-imagine coffee will become a permanent fixture in downtown: he is looking for a small property to lease. There, he plans to offer a different concept from the neighborhood feel of his West Asheville coffee shop.

The new space would be a scaled-down tasting room that would encourage patrons to focus on the flavors inherent in their cups. “I think that I would probably go definitely no sugar, maybe no cream,” he says. “It would be a very limited menu, mostly to-go. I think I would have to contextualize it properly.”

He has started the loan process with the bank and has begun drafting equipment lists and a business plan, he says. In the meantime, downtown coffee enthusiasts can get a taste of Waking Life's Mora Mora roast from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 15, near the entrance of Urban Outfitters at 15 Haywood St. Hot, 12-ounce pour-overs will be available for about $3.50, and the limited edition beans will retail in 12-ounce Mason jars for $19, Rutledge says.


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