Over the years I’ve written about Laura Anhalt’s passion for cuisine on Buffalo Rising, as she has taken various leaps in her career. Laura has written for Buffalo Rising and other magazines in the region. She is a practiced home cook, who has delivered countless meals to the Buffalo community. Laura also teaches cooking cuisines, ranging from American favorites to authentic Mexican fare. Much of this experience culminated with publishing of a cookbook called Mexican Flavors (self-published by House of Anhalt).
If there’s one thing that I can say about Laura, it’s that she has the passion and the drive to make anything she desires come true. She’s one of those people that constantly has new projects under her belt. Along with her son, Patrick (also a foodie), the two have now embarked upon a project that will essentially tie together all of her previous culinary journeys into one singular dynamic business. “It’s called Rust Espresso,” she and Patrick told me. “It’s a third wave coffee shop.”
In order to understand the meaning of “Third Wave”, Laura and Pat first explained to me the meanings of the initial waves. The First Wave of coffee came about when companies such as Folger’s infiltrated the American household with the “stir it up” types of coffee. It was basically the mass introduction of coffee into the home kitchen. The next wave came in the form of Starbucks and the Tim Hortons, which took America by storm and is still (auto) cranking right along.
“Everything that we’re doing is by hand,” Patrick told me. “Nothing is automatic. We’re getting back to the way that coffee and espresso deserves to be prepared and served. Taking the freshest beans and hand cranking, using the top of the line machine (Slayer, custom-made in Seattle), the result will be unlike anything that the chains can produce. Plus, each of the cups is prepared by scratch, which means that there is no waste. What is the point of throwing away coffee just because it’s been sitting around.”
Both Laura and Patrick have just been certified as baristas after taking classes in Toronto at the Coffee Academy. With their newfound knowledge of coffee and espresso, and their years of experience in the kitchen, the two feel that they are prepared to offer a café experience that does not currently exist here. They are hoping to bring and authentic Third Wave coffee experience to Buffalo that will knock the socks off of coffee and espresso lovers.
Along with the coffee, the mother-son team also plan to concoct a menu that embodies the essence of who they are. “We have traveled the world in preparation for this day,” Laura stated. “We have been to Spain, and Toronto and Mexico, and places in-between, researching the best cafés in those lands. We are prepared to offer artisanal coffee and scratch foods that are passionately and consistently prepared.”
At this point, Laura and Patrick have already raise the crux of the funds that they need to open. Now they are looking for gap funding that will allow them to purchase top of the line equipment for their operation. With rewards ranging from an espresso drink to a branded mug to Laura’s award winning cookbook (to name a few), the final stretch of funding of Rust Espresso will allow the owner-operators to move forward with equipment purchases, while securing a space at the same time (more news on that coming soon).
According to Laura and Patrick, you can’t extract a great espresso by pushing a button. The art of espresso is in the handcrafted process that unfolds once the barista masters the manually operated espresso machine. “There’s nothing else like it,” Laura added. “Up until now we’ve seen cafés with tables and chairs, WiFi and coffee… there’s nothing special about the coffee and espresso. We plan on changing that up. We’re going to serve this up with light French pastries, not the stuff that you see out there today (gut bombs). We will serve up deconstructed sandwiches, similar to what we have seen in Spain. There will be homemade jams and butters. The food will be “sexy” – beautifully presented for people who have a higher appreciation for food. This is our relentless pursuit of cuisine, and modern decor that resembles places in NYC, Chicago, Mexico and even Hong Kong. We will not open until we have one of the finest coffee and espresso experiences to offer Buffalo.”