BlendIn Coffee Club is opening in Sugar Land this Friday, making it the newest of a handful of coffee shops to open in the suburbs of Houston.
Yet this “club” boasts a biochemist at its helm who has built a coffee venture on roasting in-house and “cupping” (the process of sniffing and slurping cups of joe to appreciate the aromas and flavors). The beans that go into the finished product are sourced from around the globe by the owners themselves, husband-and-wife team Weihong Zhang and Xuan Zhou.
A video on BlendIn’s YouTube channel shows Zhang and Zhou visiting Columbian coffee farms and mills during the harvest season in May 2017. They also traveled to Guatemala in March of this year, which is well-documented on BlendIn’s website. Zhou says in the future, they plan to travel to Brazil and Indonesia.
This whole gourmet coffee experience is taking place within a repurposed former bank building at 8410 Highway 90A. Zhou handled the interior redesign, which features a sleek, contemporary style. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of a grassy lawn, and the space housing the former drive-up ATM stations has been converted into an inviting outdoor patio.
“We chose this location because we wanted a freestanding building. It’s hard to find that kind of space in Houston with a large parking lot,” says Zhou. “The neighborhood is also very good for our clientele,” she adds, of the mostly residential area.
Menu offerings include traditional espresso, latte, teas, and drip coffee from single-source origins. Yet patrons get to choose how that coffee is brewed, whether it be French press, aeropress, or a steampunk, among the handful of methods. A concise but hearty food menu includes options like a ham and bacon breakfast burrito; grilled chicken panini; and vegetarian fare like an avocado Caesar salad.
This is the first coffee venture for Zhou and Zhang, who previously worked as an interior designer and biochemist, respectively. Zhang decided to switch gears after earning his PhD in biochemistry “because he really loves coffee,” his wife explains. “His biochemistry background helps a lot regarding roasting and brewing and all the processes from the beginning.”
Zhang is only the second Specialty Coffee Association certified trainer in United States who will offer courses in green coffee, roasting, brewing, and barista skills from BlendIn’s shop. The club will also offer home brewing.
BlendIn Coffee Club officially opens Friday, November 17 and will be open daily from 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.