You better believe when I heard there was a new coffee shop in town I was determined to find out who they were and what they were about.
Bolt Coffee Company is in the new and chic, Dean Hotel. This coffee shop, although small in size, has some really big ideas and concepts. The owners, Bryan and Todd make it a point to stay true to their quality and honest to their customers.
I had an amazing photo shoot one sunny afternoon with Bryan and he literally made me one of the smoothest most delicious lattes ever. We know you will be inspired by Bryan, his love for coffee, and passion for people.
Name: Bryan Gibb
You are the Co-Founder of Bolt Coffee Company. Tell us about how Bolt Coffee got started and your business partner/ co-owner.
“Bolt got started in 2012 as a part-time gig, mostly weekends. We catered espresso and espresso based drinks at weddings and special events. There was no one really doing anything like it, and there still isn’t that much out there around here. My business partner and good friend Todd Mackey has been with it from the beginning. It’s humbling to be paired with him, he’s a wealth of knowledge, and is a great friend. I do most of the day in and day out activities at Bolt, but Todd is always supporting and playing other crucial behind the scenes roles. It’s always rad to have an amazing partner and friend like Todd. Can’t say that enough!”
Tell us about The Dean Hotel and how you decided to collaborate and have a space there?
“The Dean Hotel now occupies the old Sportsman’s Inn on Fountain Street. When we first walked through the space, it was hard to imagine that it could be transformed into what it is now; it was seriously gross. We were asked by the owners if we could put together a coffee bar to occupy the 60 square feet that was a small office. (It’s tiny, about the size of a parking space.) The Dean team did a great job putting together a mix of business on the ground floor, great German food, cool Euro bar, karaoke, and Bolt tucked into the lobby space. It’s amazing to share such a well designed space.”
How would you describe Bolt Coffee to someone?
“Bolt Coffee Company is sort of a blend of our passions. It mixes the craft that is specialty coffee, with intentional and genuine interpersonal connections. I try really hard to make people feel known. It’s easy to live in this world and be very surface, but it’s special to feel known. And I like people a lot, so Bolt becomes this outlet for me to talk to folks.”
Where do you get your coffee and other ingredients from?
“We get our coffees from different roasters around the country. Usually pretty small roasters who are getting great coffees and just doing a good job roasting it. We aren’t roasting so we want to support and promote those who are. We brought in variety in the idea that it promotes the overall culture. Almost like a brew pub, how there would be a large selection of different beers brewed by different breweries. They all have different styles, and all are usually good in their own way.
Pastries and bread comes from Foremost Baking Co. Awesome guys doing awesome pastries and breads. They do great pretzels!
We use chocolate from Mast Brothers in Brooklyn, NY for all of our chocolate drinks. (i.e. Mochas, Hot Chocolate, Chocolate Milk, etc.)
Our loose leaf teas are provided by Rishi out of Milwaukee.
We get milk by Monroe Dairy delivered a few times weekly. Our driver Chad is a really nice guy, and the milk is always fresh. The milk comes in glass bottles, and they re use them a ton of times. I grew up getting the milk delivery, and it’s nice to be back to that.”
How and when did you become interested in Coffee?
“I got interested in coffee because it was always a thing at my house. It’s always been for me, and I think for a lot of others, a social and relational drink. It brings people together, and grows from there. My first date with my now wife was at a coffee shop. It’s awesome to create a space for things like that to happen. I also became interested in the presentation of coffee, and perceived quality. The whole ‘you eat with your eyes first‘ thing really applies to coffee as well.”
Where are you from?
“I was born in Providence, and grew up on a little farm in Foster. It’s about 25 minutes west of Providence. I had a really fun childhood.”
What made you decide to live and stay in PVD?
“Rhode Island has a weird staying power over folks. Most people don’t move away, but if they do, they usually settle back here. I like it here though, the ocean is always close, there’s beautiful coastal farm land, the city is small and manageable.”
How would you describe PVD to someone who has never been here before?
“It’s a great arts/creative city, and the people are generally kind. There’s great food and history. It’s kind of like a small Portland, Oregon. Kind of.”
Describe your typical day at Bolt.
“Right now my days are long and, filled. I work the day at the shop and then do a lot of back-of-house stuff in the evenings.”
Do you have a specialty drink at Bolt we should know about?
“I like the mochas. We use Mast Brothers chocolate chopped up and a little Moscobado sugar with the espresso and steamed milk. It’s delicious. We will be doing different short runs of special drinks through out the year.”
What is your favorite coffee drink?
“Just plain coffee sometimes. Sometimes I’ll get a cortado, it has a very balanced profile.”
I love music, tell us about what music you listen to and the music we can expect at Bolt Coffee.
“I love music too! I listen to all sorts, and it’s really hard to put it into a small paragraph. The Dean has several different types playing at different times. The morning is usually jazz, and the afternoon is a little more contemporary indie.”
What is the most rewarding thing about being a business owner?
“Creating something from an idea. Making something real. Even if it never works out, at least you know it existed. Also making jobs. Everyone hears about companies creating jobs all the time, but it’s really a big deal. It’s a heavy responsibility, but it’s also cool to give people something to do that they love, that they take a little pride in.”
What is your vision for Bolt Coffee?
“To create spaces for relationships to grow. To never compromise values. We are rooted in integrity of person and also product, so our staff are hired because they are actual nice humans, and the quality of product flows out of our commitment to doing things well.”
What inspires you?
“Big question! I think a lot inspires me. The things of nature, like the mountains and the ocean both have this overwhelming awesomeness in the full sense of the word. I think also when I experience a life well lived, I strive to do that. I’ve known some people that have impacted so many, and it is humbling. I think spiritually, I draw perspective on the day to day, and try to always draw deeper and broader meaning to this short unknown time we have here.”
Okay, so tell us, what is your favorite quote?
“Where you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow”
– The Secret Garden
What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to?
Describe your personal style to us?
“Casual? I’m pretty laid back. Maybe a button up shirt for Bolt with dark jeans. My boots are the most comfortable shoes I own, so I wear those often.”
Advice you would give to our readers wanting to start a business of their own?
“Do it. Don’t let the unknown factors of the actual starting of a business stop you. I think a lot of people have really good ideas, but are afraid to let them play out. Sometimes they never work, but sometimes they do. Ask someone for advice, and don’t give up easily.”
How and where can our readers follow Bolt Coffee?
Facebook: Bolt Coffee Company
If you’re in the Providence area, be sure to check out Bolt Coffee Company!
writing// editing// photography// by Olivia