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Brewing with Dunn Brothers

Cafe opens south of Forevergreen Road
DeAngelo and Alexandra Seay show off their in-house coffee roaster at Dunn Brothers Coffee in Coralville. The couple opened their new cafe, located at 3284 Crosspark Rd. Ste. A, in January. (photo by Megan Lehman)

CORALVILLE– Between the morning rush to get out the door and the push to get through traffic, there are few greater needs than to be fully caffeinated. With a new coffee shop in town, those needs are being fully taken care of. Alexandra and DeAngelo Seay moved to the Corridor to pursue their goal of creating a place to bring family and friends together over a delicious cup of coffee. They achieved this goal by opening their own franchise location for Dunn Brothers Coffee.
Originally from Keokuk the couple began this venture by exploring locations in the Quincy, Illinois area. When locations there seemed lacking, the next logical jump was the North Liberty-Coralville area.
“We wanted to be in a bigger city, so the next place that made sense was here in North Liberty,” DeAngelo said. “So far it has been amazing.”
Before opening the location in the Corridor, DeAngelo and Alexandra trained with the Dunn Brothers locations in Burlington and Bettendorf. While these two locations had absolutely no obligation to assist the Seays and received no compensation for it, they welcomed the new franchise owners with open arms. “That is the thing about Dunn Brothers. The support system is amazing, from top to bottom,” DeAngelo said.
In addition to the training in-branch, DeAngelo spent two years training to become a master roaster. Master roasters treat coffee and the brewing of it as a true art form, and all graduate from the Dunn Brothers Coffee Certified Roaster Program before they can claim the title. Master Roaster Bob has led this training since the late 1990s. Bob spent his time prior to this role researching roasters and shops. Turning his passion for coffee into a career, Bob is in charge of creating the roasting instructions that each location uses, as well as developing the roast profiles. While Alexandra is not yet a master roaster, it’s only a matter of time before she joins DeAngelo is this accomplishment.
If the promise of a great cup of coffee is not enough to drag locals in, the aroma of the daily in-house roasting by DeAngelo certainly is. Right as patrons walk in, they’re greeted by DeAngelo as he roasts the beans brewed and sold in his café, using his large roasting machine.
“It is kind of like a conversation piece. People come in and talk to me and before you know it, we’re having a great conversation,” DeAngelo said.
The roaster can handle up to 25 pounds at a time, but in an effort to reduce waste and produce the absolute best product, DeAngelo roasts about 12 pounds at a time. This fresh-roasted coffee stays on the shelf for only seven days if it’s not been sold. Fresh coffee is brewed every 90 minutes.
Dunn Brothers also offers a smart phone app for all their technologically inclined patrons. On the app, Alexandra explains, customers are able to pay for their order, track rewards, find shops and even refer a friend to the shop. Upon first downloading the app, each customer will get $3 off towards their first purchase and other rewards, like $5 off on their birthday and another $3 off with every $50 spent. “A portion of the proceeds from the orders are donated to local food shelves,” Alexandra said.
While creating the perfect cup of coffee may seem like Dunn Brothers’ only passion, the company is also extremely focused on supporting their local communities, as well as organizations around the world. Through a partnership with Café Imports, Dunn Brothers supports women growing and producing coffee all over the world. The company began their Women Coffee Producers Collection just this year, where they are highlighting the hard-working women at every level of the coffee industry. The women in these programs are paid an additional premium for their product, which they often use to support other projects within their communities.
In addition to coffee, Dunn Brothers offers a full-service menu all day long. This menu consists of salads, wraps, sandwiches, breakfast classics and more. One of the biggest crowd pleasers is their avocado toast. Open from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, there’s plenty of time in the day to stop in for a quick bite, cup of coffee and chat with their friendly staff.
In addition to providing excellent food and coffee to their patrons, the Seays are focused on providing great customer service.
“When you come in to Dunn Brothers, you are going to be greeted with a smile that is genuine,” DeAngelo said. That genuine smile comes from making sure his employees are truly happy to be at work. “We employ a lot of students, and that means juggling some crazy schedules. So we accommodate everyone’s schedule.”
When the Seays are not busy roasting up their latest batch of coffee, they can be found chasing their kids from one sporting event to the next. Family is a major priority for this couple and it certainly shows.
Coralville’s newest café invites locals to come get a drink, grab a chair inside or enjoy the spring weather on their patio. While the Corridor has many choices for those in need of a morning jolt, Dunn Brothers promises to offer something incredible.