"Taste and See" the new coffee shop in Downtown Macon

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Erica O’Neal / Cluster Staff

The grand opening of Taste and See Coffee Shop and Gallery on Friday, Aug. 16 brought a steady crowd. The new coffee shop, which features photography by one of the owners of Taste and See, is located on Poplar Street. The Cluster sat down with the general manager, Katherine Gonzalez, to hear the story behind the coffee shop.

Cluster: Who owns Taste and See Coffee Shop?

Gonzalez: The owner of Taste and See, there’s two. They’re co-owners: Bryan Nichols and Kevin Reeves. Bryan does a lot of downtown restoration of the historic homes and rents them out. The pictures in here are Kevin’s work. His hobby is landscape photography, so he does all the pictures in the gallery. This is something for them that is hard work, but is fun.

C: How did you become manager?

G: Honestly, it was totally a God-thing. When I got into high school and college, I really desired to own my own coffee shop. I got big into coffee, and so throughout college I interned with 1,000 Faces Coffee in Athens, (Ga.) then I worked at Jittery Joe’s here in Macon. I could just see the Lord putting these opportunities in my path to prepare me. One day he just dropped this in my lap and (the owners) asked me to run this shop because they found out it was my dream to own my own shop and they asked me to run it.

C: It’s a peculiar name, where did the name come from?

G: There’s two things: one obviously, taste the coffee and see that it’s good, or taste the coffee and see the pictures in the gallery. So there’s two things.

We are a Christian-based organization. To us, this is business but it’s ministry as well. What we desire to do is just love on people. Everyone that comes through the door we just want to serve them good coffee and to enhance the coffee knowledge of the Macon community. Taste and see that coffee is good, because I think a lot of people think, “Aw coffee! It’s bitter!” It’s not supposed to be bitter. So our desire too is to enhance the coffee knowledge of this community. Starbucks isn’t the best coffee, or it’s not the place to get coffee. Try your local shops, see what they have to offer.

C: How and why did the owners choose this location on Poplar Street?

G: Well they had the plans and the design for this building before they found the building. They knew where they wanted everything, they had everything laid out and they actually had the blueprints of it. They were looking for a building. So when they walked into this building they knew this was it. They knew they wanted to be in Macon and they knew downtown was being revitalized and they wanted to be a part of that. I know some people say, “Poplar Street? Why do you want to go on Poplar Street?” We’ve heard a lot of that. But, since we got here, we’ve also heard some of the owners of other businesses say, “I’ve never seen this many people on Poplar Street in years.” So it’s been a really rewarding experience so far.

C: You’re opening day was on Friday. How did that go?

G: Amazing. From 7 a.m.-11 p.m. it didn’t stop. If there wasn’t someone ordering coffee, they were looking at a menu to place an order. I’m not exaggerating, it was crazy in here but it was really good.

C: What are your usual hours?

G: We’ll be open 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 7 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. It could change depending on what’s going on downtown. Like, if the Cherry Blossom Festival is going on, we might be open a little bit later.