Local cafe expands, offers more room for customers to study, hang out



By Coriá Bowen

Coffea, a Lexington coffee and tea shop on Rose Street, underwent an expansion to the building this summer.

“Coffea is a play on the words coffee and tea,” Bill Lee, Coffea co-partner and general manager, said.

Many students and locals frequent Coffea as a place to study, eat and converse. “We wanted a place off campus where students could come to relax and socialize, and that’s what we’ve done,” Lee said.

Coffea serves as a unique landmark for many.

“We’ve been making great coffee now for about six years,” Lee said. “That’s the key — it’s about great coffee and atmosphere.”

Lee said Coffea offers various types of coffee from all over the world, including Panama, Tanzania and Costa Rica. Items like smoothies, pastries, chocolate espresso beans and light sandwiches are also offered.

With the large amount of guests each day, Lee said the extra space was needed. “Our business is really good and it keeps on growing,” Lee said. “So when the opportunity to expand presented itself, we jumped on it.”

Lee said it is important to him that students can have a place to study.

Polly Symons, a sustainable agriculture senior, said she likes that there is more room for people to spread out with the new space.

“I can study easier because it’s quiet,” Symons said.

The shop expanded into the adjacent space of what used to be the Watermelon Patch shoe store in less than three months.

“The space became available the first part of July and we opened it up about two weeks ago,” Lee said. “We moved pretty quickly.”

The design of the expanded area adds new seating elements to the shop. Lee said they wanted to create a “wow,” aspect.

“We knew what we wanted and we did it with the help of UK graduate, Steve Sawyer, a local artist and designer,” Lee said. “With his help, that dream became a reality.”

Sawyer designed the original coffee shop space.

“There are so many cool things about the area,” Lee said. “We added a big tunnel to the new area and put in special mirrors that make the tunnel look so much bigger.”

The tunnel goes through the wall directly across from the service counter.

“We added a water fall; people tell me its mesmerizing,” Lee said. The water fall is a central focus of the area.

Aaron Brown, a computer technician, 28, said he spends a lot of time at Coffea.

“I’m happy they’ve expanded because I’ve come in here to read a book and it was smashed with the amount of people,” Brown said. “It still feels like its apart of the same coffee shop.”

The layout of the original space has not changed.

“We wanted the new area to look like the old coffee shop but still be nice,” Lee said.

Barstools and upholstered furniture appear in the expanded area just as they do in the original space. Lee said love seats were also added to create a cozy space.

“We added a corner booth so people could pick their favorite seat,” Lee said.

A fire place and an area designated for acoustic performances are also features of the new space. Lee said he would like to see Coffea host acoustic performances on Friday or Saturday nights.

With sliding doors separating the original space from the expanded area, the new space can be rented for private functions.