Five Watt Coffee coming to 38th & Nicollet

The Five Watt Coffee shop opening around the New Year at 38th & Nicollet has its roots in the founder’s former music studio. Caleb Garn’s Five Watt Studio was based on the idea that small guitar amps yield better recordings. Coffee shop co-founder Lee Carter thought the name translated perfectly.

“Less is more,” he said.

The espresso machine is largely buried under the counter, a move designed to demystify the coffee preparation and encourage conversation at the coffee bar.

“Everyone knows that we’re extremely personable people,” Carter said. “The customer can get involved with the process of making coffee. … We want to welcome everyone in to our passion.”

Garn and Carter met at Bull Run Coffee at 34th & Lyndale, working in lead barista and general management jobs until a couple of weeks ago.

“We would talk a lot about what we would do if Bull Run ever had a second location,” Carter said. “One day we realized we should have our own shop.”

Pastries are from Patisserie 46, and tea is from Verdant Tea. The coffee is by Wisconsin-based Kickapoo Coffee, which works with small-scale farms and sells coffee in recycled steel cans and biodegradable bags. Carter specializes in drinks with unusual flavor profiles, made with simple syrups.

Pending city approval, the owners hope to create an elevated area where an organist can play on Sunday mornings and customers can sample an oatmeal bar.

The owners are busy people. Garn has two kids, and Carter plays bass in a couple of bands — Dan Mariska and the Boys Choir has a CD release party Dec. 5 at 7th Street Entry.

The new store will open at 3745 Nicollet Ave. next to Finer Meat Co., in a space previously home to a formal apparel boutique. Initial hours are likely 6 a.m.-8 p.m.