It started about three years ago when 392 Caffé followed Oh So Sweet by Tiphanie on Instagram.
392 Caffé, a craft coffee shop in Clinton, posted images of espresso shots and lattes topped with flowers or other patterns. On Oh So Sweet’s profile, there were photos of colorful macarons, cakes being iced and cookies decorated for each season made at the downtown Davenport bakery.
The two accounts exchanged casual “likes” back and forth until one day a few months ago when 392 Caffé’s owner Jay Sanders saw a post that featured a cup of coffee.
Sanders commented, “So, who does your coffee, anyway?”
Tiphanie Cannon, who owns Oh So Sweet, replied, “You need to do our coffee.”
Flash forward to Sept. 1. Sanders opened a mini-version of the coffee shop — with a limited menu — inside Oh So Sweet on Main Street in Davenport.
Along with drip coffee, the menu includes items such as cortados (espresso with warm milk), cappuccinos, chai tea lattes and seasonal lattes. One of 392’s baristas works full-time at the Davenport location.
Sanders, who opened the Clinton location with his wife, Jenna, in 2011, was excited to bring craft coffee and the “coffee shop experience” to the Quad-Cities.
“Some people want to go to the coffee shop just for the coffee shop experience,” he said.
“That’s what inspired us. We love coffee yes, but it’s more about the space. That community hub where people get together.”
Different level of coffee
Jay and Jenna Sanders never planned on opening their coffee shop in Clinton. The couple met after attending the same fashion school in Los Angeles and they ended up working at the same Gucci store on Rodeo Drive.
They started dating and exploring the city’s robust coffee shop scene together. They soon started talking about opening their own coffee shop there or in another big city.
“I didn’t know anything about coffee other than I liked it,” Jay Sanders said. “We had been to so many coffee shops and none were completely amazing on all fronts. We wanted to be the best of the best.”
Meanwhile, he went on a trip to visit his girlfriend's parents in Iowa. He had some work to do and ended up spending eight hours working at a local McDonald's, the only place in town with free access to Wifi.
“That was the impetus,” he said. “I thought, ‘This place needs a coffee shop.”
They decided to bring the “L.A. experience” to Clinton. They opened 392 Caffé — named for the temperature at which coffee beans begin to roast — in a historic building on 2nd Street and “business kept getting better,” Sanders said.
“Everyone can get Starbucks,” he said. “Here, everything is made from scratch. It’s a different level of coffee.”
Filling a void
In the future, Sanders is interested in opening a full-scale location of 392 Caffé in downtown Davenport.
“(Davenport) doesn’t have a coffee shop that you can go in and have the coffee shop experience,” he said.
A void was left, he said, when Downtown Central Perk closed in Oct. 2016. The City Church moved in that space shortly after and opened Energized Cafe, which serves a limited coffee menu.
Other downtown coffee shops include Beignet Done That on 3rd Street, Redband Coffee Company on 4th Street. Panini and Friends, which opened last month, also houses a coffee bar.
Cannon, who opened her bakery in 2014, isn’t a coffee drinker, but she has noticed the options downtown are “limited.” Her customers would often ask for specialty drinks to pair with a pastry and she only served regular coffee.
“Coffee is something I wanted to do,” Cannon said. “For me to do it would be a whole other thing. It’s like another business and I don’t have time do that.”
This way, Cannon can quench her customers’ cravings and the two businesses remain “totally separate.”
“People love the coffee,” she said. “It’s been good for both of us.”