New cafe brews exotic coffee in town

For the hardcore coffee drinkers and those seeking a place to sit and chat, Tallahassee has not traditionally offered a cluster of outlets.

Now within walking distance on Railroad Avenue, Javaheads, a holiday addition to the All Saints neighborhood, is serving Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and Columbian Supreme for students done for the day and thirsting for a hot drink.

Owner Lani Peck said he has been watching the Gaines Street area for years and waiting for the right time to launch a business.

“It’s between both universities and it’s on the only street connecting both universities,” Peck said. Peck emphasized that, in a market with 54,000 students, there were only two other coffee houses that provided the same kind of service, neither within walking distance.

With his son and general manager, Ryan, Peck renovated and designed the building on a shoestring budget. Peck described his design motif as “deliberately funky.”

“We worked hard in conceiving to build an atmosphere where everyone would feel comfortable,” Peck said. “We wanted a place where Capitol complex people would feel comfortable in the morning and the counter-cultural people would come in at night.”

Tapestries, sculptures and watercolors fill the walls and tables of the shop, stretching to the back wall, where a short stairwell leads up to a red coffee roaster.

Canvas bags filled with coffee beans exported from Africa, Indonesia and India sit beside the roaster.

Peck stressed that by roasting beans on the premises, the coffee is fresher and tastes better.

Geoff Kimball, an employee at West Fall Framing, said that he initially saw Javaheads while driving into town.

Before the coffee shop opened, Kimball said he used to buy coffee on his way to work.

“Now, I’m drinking twice as much coffee as I used to,” Kimball said.

Peck said he had a “phase two” planned for the summer. Javaheads will add a screened in area for smokers in the back lot, with ceiling fans to combat the heat.