Organic Life Coffeehouse and Bakery offers an organic menu and entertainment for the whole family

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LUTZ – Before opening an organic café, Peter Davidson didn’t even own a coffee maker.

But after spending months and months of sleepless nights researching the profession, the caffeinated drink became his passion.

Four years ago Davidson and four partners started importing coffee and selling it online. Davidson quit his job in business-to-business cell phone sales to focus on the business. When a store formerly occupied by Barnie’s Coffee and Tea became available, they opened A Cup of Organic Coffee Shop in 2010.

Two years ago, two partners left to focus on selling coffee online and in grocery stores, and have since opened a store of the same name in San Antonio. The other two partners also pulled out and Davidson continued under a new name: Organic Life Coffeehouse and Bakery. He began roasting coffee on site, offering loose teas, and expanding the selection of food and bakery products.

Almost everything in coffee is organic, or as close to organic as it gets. The importance, says Davidson, is to avoid pesticides. While the fruits and veg can be washed, the coffee is brewed right into the cup, pesticides and all.

All of the menu items are fair trade or ‘better than fair trade’, which means that the store buys coffee through a cooperative that fairly remunerates farmers, or that they work directly with farmers. farmers themselves.

Organic Life buys much of its coffee beans from Guy Buckmaster, president and CEO of Heart-for-Haiti, a group that works to promote sustainability in Haiti and other countries. Buckmaster has worked with Davidson from the start and recognizes that they share a similar vision.

“We both wanted to return the profits in these areas,” Buckmaster said.

At first, customers might not notice that the store has a Christian origin. There are subtle religious undertones, such as a merchandise display featuring references to Bible verses. But the staff will not serve unsolicited conversations about religion.

“We think if people want to know more about this, they will open up to us,” said Davidson, 33. “If they just want to come in and have a cup of coffee, then we want them to just have a nice place to come in and be treated like any restaurant should treat its customers.”

Guests can savor unique dishes like a mufflette, a mix between a muffin and an omelet, while relaxing at a table or sitting at the semi-circular coffee bar, where they can watch the staff prepare the drinks. The shop has a conference room for rent and a space for children. Drums and other music equipment can be found in a corner of the shop for nightly entertainment.

The shop organizes an open microphone evening on Tuesday, where participants register for 15-minute time slots. The only requirements are that the artists are original and family.

Comedians, tap dancers, bagpipers and big bands have all graced the Organic Life stage.

“(We’ve had) people who haven’t played in front of anyone in their entire lives, and they get standing ovations,” Davidson said.

On Friday evenings, the stage usually features bands performing Christian music, although jazz and classical groups have also performed. The last Friday of the month consists of 24 hours of live Christian music, with a new set starting every two hours.

Although the musicians are usually local groups, the cafe sometimes hosts well-known artists.

Last June, more than 500 people came to see the Christian group For King and Country at Organic Life, Davidson said. The group has more than 92,000 fans on Facebook.

Organic Life thrives among the coffee giants with franchises on every corner. Davidson’s parents, Larry and JoAnne, operate a second location in Palm Harbor, which celebrated its grand opening in December. Davidson is also considering a third location at Land O’Lakes.

“The great thing about Starbucks and Dunkin ‘Donuts is that they are consistent wherever you go,” Davidson said. “The downside to consistency is that there is no uniqueness.”

Organic Life’s ability to vary their blends on a monthly basis and roast their beans on-site is what sets them apart from corporate coffees, Davidson says.

“You will know a bit more about your coffee, where it comes from, how it is roasted. It will be fresher and we can vary the way things are,” Davidson said.

Samantha Fuchs can be reached at (727) 869-6235 or sfuchs@tampabay.com.


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