The Seth’s Coffee Story

Hello! Read on if you want the backstory for Seth’s Coffee…

My coffee story in the abbreviated form: my first cup of coffee was half coffee, half hot milk, and a ton of sugar in the Saharawi Refugee Camps in Western Algeria at the age of 12. A few years later I got a part time job at a drive thru espresso bar and got my coffee lovin’ on officially. I went to Bible school in England & Austria after graduating from high school, with lots of traveling in between the two. This was my most inspiring exposure to coffee–seeing it done as an integral part of the European culture, with variations from one country to the next. A few months after coming back to the USA, I first had the idea to open a cafe. Knowing nothing of business, I took 3 semesters of classes between Santa Barbara City College and Fox Valley Tech to get my feet wet with how to run a business. We opened Seth’s Coffee on September 30th, 2009, about three years from when I first had the vision for this place.

My wife, Kate, is the potter who made all the pottery that we serve drinks in at Seth’s Coffee. She and I had known each other for many years, but didn’t begin dating until after the business relationship of me hiring her to make all of our mugs. We began dating the day before the shop opened, and were married 13 months later. We welcomed our son, Everett, into the world a short 17 months later. Our second-born son, Moses, was born in September of 2013, Theodore (Teddy) was born in February of 2015, and our newest addition, Lucy, was born February of 2017. We’re thrilled to be a family-owned coffee shop in my hometown. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve you, and to be the establishment we’d always hoped to see in Little Chute.

We’d long hoped to expand into Appleton, as we saw our business model as one that would fit into the ever-progressing downtown Appleton area. After entertaining many options, we continued to decide against it because of many different reasons, whether it was just not the perfect location, or if it was just us wanting to focus on our growing family and spending time together without the burden of a brand-new business. Things changed in 2015 when we had a meeting with some folks at Lawrence University. They told us about an old bank drive thru building that they owned, and would love to have a Seth’s Coffee close to campus. After a bit of back and forth, we decided to move forward with the opportunity. We opened on September 26, 2015. Having our business in a drive thru context is a bit counter-intuitive, but we’ve found some very creative ways to be efficient and provide the same great product you’d expect from us in Little Chute in a drive thru setting.

The last 10+ years have been incredibly challenging, but I can’t imagine a better way to have spent them. We’ve found so much joy in employing our baristas–training them, empowering them, and watching their creativity and skill make Seth’s better than we could’ve made it on our own.

Thanks for all of your support! -Seth, Kate, Everett, Moses, Teddy, and Lucy Lenz

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