“From the artful science of roasting to the craft of brewing and the experience of tasting, we want to share with you this daily ritual of coffee,” The Breaks Coffee Roasting Co.’s website displays.
At The Breaks, the focus is offering fresh-roasted, small-batch coffee to the Sioux Falls “neighborhood and beyond.”
“Our whole ethos is that we just want to provide quality items that we really like,” said co-owner Mary Campbell.
When she started the roastery business with her husband and co-owner Corey Gerlach in 2015, they didn’t want to open a storefront.
“This space became available that we are currently in downtown, and we got kinda looking at it,” Gerlach explained about their east 12th Street location next to recordstore and music venue Total Drag. “It seemed like a good fit to us.”
So after months of renovations from electrical to plumbing and more, the couple opened the coffee shop storefront in August 2020. Through the open garage door, the coffee shop has an industrial modern vibe, and the roasting happens right at the back of the room.
“The main thing that sets us apart from everywhere else that customers say is that when you walk in, you don’t feel like you’re in Sioux Falls,” said Mercedes Nelson, head barista or “drink extraordinaire” as the clock-in system so calls her. “A lot of the time people compare it to being in a big city.”
And the location has brought plenty of business.
“It’s a very walkable or bikeable destination, too,” said Campbell.
Gerlach continued, “We see people take off for their morning run, bike, or walk and come back and grab a coffee on the way home.”
“I want [customers] to know that we would never judge someone based on their coffee order. People have this idea that if you order a latte, we’re going to judge you. But no, lattes are [expletive] delicious.” -Nelson
In the bathroom of The Breaks, patrons can view a rotating art gallery titled Occupied featuring works from various local artists.
At The Breaks, they like to focus on creating new drinks that stray from the norm.
“We’re looking forward to just having a solid espresso bar with fun quirky, seasonal drinks,” said Campbell.
One of their most recent seasonal drinks was FML (Fall Maple Latte), a “savory antidote” to the ever-popular pumpkin spice latte.
“There’s so much more personality,” explained Nelson. “We made [FML] with butternut squash from Mary’s garden. The only people we’re answering to are ourselves and our customers. We can more or less do whatever we want [with our drinks].”
Brews From The Breaks
Swing by the storefront or shop online to bring home a couple bags of The Breaks coffee bags. Here are some of their options.
Absolute Blend // from $16
Ethiopia Aricha-Yirgacheffe // from $18
Peru Lima – Fair Trade Organic // from $16.50
Honduras Corquin – Fair Trade Organic // from $16.50
Mexico Coatepec – Decaf // from $17
The Breaks “Break it Down” Pack // from $20
The Breaks Subscription //from $58
The Daily // from $16
And because they have free reign, the baristas are happy to help customers find the perfect drink for them.
“Just come in, and we’ll make sure we’ll find something good and magical,” said Nelson.
For now, the modern industrial-style coffee shop is offering solely to-go options, including their coffee and croissants from the Look’s Marketplace bakery—croissants that both Campbell and Nelson rave about.
Though they’ve opened during a complicated time for many companies, business has been smooth for the most part, according to Campbell.
The original plan for The Breaks was to sell beer and wine at night to cater to Total Drag concertgoers. The owners say they hope to do that in the future when the pandemic clears.
But above all else, Campbell and Gerlach simply want to make sure their customers know that their loyalty means a lot to them, just as it did before the doors even opened.
“The night before we unlocked the door, we were putting the menu board together,” said Campbell, fondly remembering the night. “It was 11 at night, and I just wrote, ‘We’re glad you are here.’”