NARRAGANSETT – The hope of Joshua Katz, Katarina Reisch and Dwight Albrecht, Jr. is that patrons will come to their new coffeehouse in the Pier Marketplace for the first time, find their drink and eventually be poured another, another and another. The Pour House, located at 3 Pier Market Pl., opened just after the new year on Jan. 6.
“I really get this great feeling when someone comes to the register and you feel them out for the first time and we talk about what they usually drink and we can see where we can take it,” said Katz. “And when you hit that right drink, just seeing their face light up and you feel like you nailed it. It’s nice to let people explore.”
The three owners and operators opened up shop in Narragansett after a near-lifetime of passion for coffee, with Katz having trained in the classic Italian style of coffee brewing in Portland, Oregon and traveling the world to refine his taste and methods. Katz has toured and picked up styles from the west coast, Japan and even China, though his experience in China had more to do with brewing tea, which The Pour House also offers in a number of varieties.
“I’ve always had an interest in coffee,” said Katz. “When I was doing my undergrad stuff in the early ‘90s, my Japanese friends taught me how to do pour overs. I brought back a coffee syphon from Kobe, Japan in 1999. I went there for New Year’s Eve to see the first sunrise of the new millennium. I actually have that syphon in the shop today.”
“I always just wanted to have a shop where I could have syphoned coffee and offer different brew methods,” he continued. “It sounds crazy but I’ve always wanted it. I know you won’t get rich doing it. But the reality is a coffee shop is a lifestyle choice. It’s a culture. We want to become that third place. Not your work, not your home, but a place where you feel like you belong.”
Prior to bringing a world-spanning menu of drinks locally, Katz owned and operated a textile business based in North Conway, New Hampshire for 17 years, before selling the business in February of 2018. After taking some time off and then looking for a new venture, the world and especially the food service industry changed with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic early last year. Katz and Reisch participated in a one-week sailing course in Jamestown last summer in lieu of going on vacation. With trips to Narragansett during that, the duo fell in love with the area, and began to consider it as the home for Katz’s lifelong dream of owning and operating a different breed of coffeehouse.
“I turned to Kat and said ‘we can sit on the couch for another year or we can get in the game, see and try and do something,’” said Katz, who currently lives in Westport, Mass. with plans to move locally in the near-future. “The only place that we could find that was close to the vibe we are accustomed to in New Hampshire where people are kind of relaxed is Narragansett. ”
From there, Katz enlisted Albrecht, Jr., who had worked with him in the textile industry for five years, to come along on the journey. The two, in their time working at Katz’s business, enjoyed gourmet coffee so much they each spent $5,000 one year on just coffee alone. Reisch, who has a background in high-end retail management, also came aboard after Katz pitched his idea.
“Katarina, she’s game,” Katz said. “She’s a really good sport. I asked her about this and she shared the vision.”
The Pour House gets its kicks from espresso-based drinks, but Katz is quick to note the menu expands far beyond the Italian brewing method. In addition to the macchiatos, Americanos, lattes, cortados and cappuccinos, the shop also offers light or dark roast hot drip and iced coffee, pour overs, cold brew (nitro and regular), along with specialty flavors including the “D-White” (named after Albrecht, Jr.), which features a white chocolate and caramel flavor and comes hot or iced, B’z (latte with local honey), a maple latte, mochas (peppermint or regular), the “Razzle” (white chocolate raspberry), a Golden Milk Latte, hot chocolate, a nitro maple cream and more, along with a variety of bottled milks and sparkling waters. Katz also likes to use natural sweeteners and encourages customers to try them as often as possible.
Tea-wise, The Pour House also serves up a variety of loose-leaf hot and iced teas, a Masala Chai and a specialty known as “Ming Tea,” named after the Austin Powers-led faux retro-mod band, which is a spiced chai with espresso. “Get your mojo back!” The Pour House’s website reads when describing the flavor. Finally, patrons can not only get their coffee and tea fixes, as the new business also offers a range of breakfast items as well, including breakfast sandwiches, bagels, avocado bagels, muffins, biscotti, croissants and pastries (from a French bakery in Hyannis, Mass.). Finally, the shop also gets a supply of the popular PV Donuts on weekends.
For Katz, starting the business is a deeply personal venture, something he has always wanted to pursue and a lifestyle choice with deep roots in culture and social interaction (which he admits is difficult in current times). The substance and ingredients behind The Pour House’s offerings reflect his affection. For example, the dark amber used in the shop’s maple lattes is from a sugar shack in northern New Hampshire, a favorite spot for Katz during his time in the state. He’s also trying out new brews and methods from Japan.
“Coffee really is a science for me, and it’s ongoing,” he said. “They’ve taken all the romance out of [coffee shops]. With all these fast-food drive throughs and everything, the passion’s been taken right out of it. We’re dead a long time. Every interaction should be really meaningful in life, even something simple like coffee.”
“Everybody else will just start a coffee shop based on nothing and just let it go,” Katz continued. “They’ll talk to their supplier and ask what to use for coffee and then they’re very hands off. We’re owner-operated and we’re very passionate.”
While health and safety restrictions around the pandemic are making it difficult for Katz to make The Pour House what he truly envisions, he has many ideas brewing for when the world returns to normalcy.
“Great jazz musicians, a trio, maybe a DJ,” he said. “When I walk into a café in California, there’s a table with a barista who is introducing people to different roasts and blends. They’re cupping coffee and there’s a DJ spinning in the corner. It’s amazing.”
“Maybe I’ll change the password on the wi-fi for an hour and make people actually talk to each other,” he joked while describing what the space could look like post-pandemic.
With many looking forward to such a future, Katz is excited for The Pour House to make ground in Narragansett.
“We’re very happy to be a part of the community and it was a place we wanted to drop anchor, literally,” he concluded. “We can’t wait to not commute anymore.”
The Pour House is open daily, excluding Tuesdays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for grab-and-go service and curbside pickup. Patrons can order online at thepourhouseri.com and follow the new business on Instagram @the_pourhouseri.