Just about everyone loves coffee!
Local coffee connoisseur, Susie Schmitt , realized this need and started an espresso bar catering business, to cater to all types of events, including weddings.
Suzie Schmitt’s love for coffee started in the sixth grade. Now, she is bringing her passion for coffee to events in the New River Valley.
“My mom was a teacher and she would always go in an hour early to school. There was a coffee shop nearby called PJ’s Coffee,” Schmitt said, “I couldn’t drive and I didn’t want to sit in my mom’s classroom, so I would go to the shop every morning. That is when I became attached to coffee shops.”
Schmitt became more and more interested in the world of coffee ever since her love for the beverage began. Her first job was as a barista at a Starbucks in her hometown.
“I got the job because I went to the store so often,” she said, “Eventually the manager asked me if I wanted to work there.”
Her journey as a barista continued when she took a job at Lucie Monroe’s in Christiansburg, a coffee shop known for attention to detail when it comes to handcrafting beverages, baked goods and other food items.
A common passion for making quality drinks existed among Schmitt and her co-workers at Lucie Monroe’s.
“There are two components of the business,” she said, “First, we wanted to make quality drinks. Second of all, we wanted to make people feel like they are coming to see a friend when they come to Lucie Monroe’s.”
Schmitt lives in Blacksburg with her husband, Joey, and her dog, Stella. Suzie and Joey met during their time at Oklahoma State University. They married in 2012. Her husband is pursuing a Ph.D. in aquatic ecology at Virginia Tech. Schmitt works full time as an associate director at the Baptist Collegiate Ministry at Virginia Tech. This past November, she set up her espresso bar at a BCM event held outside of the Squires Student Center.
The espresso bar catering business is still new, but so far it has been a hit at many events.
“Suzie catered our company’s annual ‘Talk Like a Pirate Day’ celebration with a ‘pick your poison’ espresso bar,” said Caitlyn Scaggs, an employee at Polymer Solutions, “She was extremely easy to work with and interacted well with our employees. Also, I didn’t know an espresso could be that good. The feedback from our employees was all extremely positive. We intend to reach out to her again for future events because it was so well received and we enjoyed it so much.”
Schmitt cited two reasons she decided to start her very own espresso bar catering business. The coffee shop Schmitt worked at in Oklahoma had a catering business. She loved showing hospitality and appreciation to various companies around the area. One day, the coffee shop went to a hospital to serve nurses coffee for an appreciation day. This was a joyful and impactful experience for Schmitt. Also, Schmitt had an espresso bar at her wedding. She states that it was one of her favorite elements at her wedding.
Schmitt’s experience with espresso bar catering and her enjoyment of such a unique service led her to start her own business.
Hospitality is another passion of Schmitt’s. With her business, she hopes to show hospitality through espresso catering. “Hospitality is what I am good at and what I love helping other people do,” Schmitt said.
Schmitt enjoys drinking coffee with others, especially her husband. Joey became a coffee lover when he and Schmitt began dating.
“Since we’ve been married, making coffee has been a big part of our marriage,” Schmitt said.
After the couple catered their first wedding, Schmitt explained that her husband was incredibly supportive of her dream to start an espresso bar catering business. He encouraged her to go after it and continues to support her by working events with her whenever he is able to do so.
In this day and age, the idea of going local is trending. Schmitt is an advocate of this idea and incorporates it into her business. All of the ingredients used in Schmitt’s espressos have been purchased from local businesses. The espresso beans come from Red Rooster’s in Floyd, Va. The milk for the lattes in supplied by Homestead Creamery in Wirtz, Va. Schmitt makes her own syrups for her drinks; the ingredients come from local grocery stores and the Blacksburg Farmer’s Market.
“I want to bring new flavors that can’t be found at the coffee shop down the street,” Schmitt says regarding her homemade syrups, “I make flavors such as rosemary and lavender. However, I know everyone loves a classic vanilla latte sometimes, so I offer more traditional options as well.”
Schmitt’s espresso bar has been featured at many events all over the New River Valley.
Schmitt has also catered at weddings, office parties, bridal showers, and many other events.
“Suzie’s coffee bar was an excellent feature at our wedding,” says Corey Brooks, a client of Schmitt’s, “She was able to provide a vast array of craft coffee and espresso drinks with homemade syrups for mixing. Suzie and her husband were very pleasant and easy to work with. We’re very happy with the decision to have them featured during our reception.”
“The Green Cupboard” is the name of Schmitt’s blog. The blog focuses on the various events Schmitt hosts and caters. Schmitt’s love for coffee, hospitality, and community are evident throughout the blog.
Along with making lattes, Schmitt loves to decorate for and host events. She has hosted many “crafternoons” at her home. This is a time of fellowship, crafting, and coffee drinking with Schmitt and her friends, both old and new.
In the future, Schmitt hopes to write a book focusing on parties. Her vision is that the book will go through a year of parties. There is a section on the blog devoted to her espresso catering business.
“People associate coffee with comfort and home, and often lattes or specialty drinks are thought of as novel and/or a treat,” Schmitt said of her espresso bar catering business on her blog, “I want to bring these two characteristics, comfort and novelty, into small and large events. I want to be part of helping people make their event comfortable and memorable through espresso catering.”
Beaming with pride, Schmitt noted that she can’t wait to pursue her love for coffee through an espresso bar catering business. “I love the atmosphere of things associated with drinking coffee,” Schmitt said.