Gardnerville siblings share love of coffee and community
Two fourth-generation Gardnerville siblings are sharing their passion for good-quality coffee and supporting local businesses with the recent opening of their coffee shop on Main Street, DST Coffee.
Amanda and Jake Wartgow have combined both Amanda’s business expertise and Jake’s love for coffee to create a meeting place and coffee shop for Carson Valley residents to enjoy.
DST Coffee got its name from the state-issued license plates the Wartgow’s grew up around.
“Nevada used to issue license plates by county, they were the blue licence plates and DS was for Douglas County,” Amanda Wartgow said. “If you had a truck, you got issued a DST plate. Our family grew up having DST plates and for us it was a play on words, tea and coffee.”
DST Coffee opened at the end of September after Amanda and Jake decided to move back to Gardnerville from Reno, where they both attended school. Amanda got her degree in business management from the University of Nevada, Reno. She said she always knew she wanted to open her own business.
“We started to talk to friends and family down here about what people wanted here and the consensus was that people just wanted a place to meet,” Amanda said.
From there, it took the siblings about a year and a half to find a place for their new business. Amanda said they were picky about the location, hoping to find a place on Main Street.
“We knew from being down here that there was no place to just come and hang out and do homework or go on dates,” Jake said. “Obviously as a coffee shop, we put a lot of emphasis on the coffee, but as much emphasis as we put on the coffee we put into the place itself.”
Upon walking into DST Coffee, customers are greeted with an open space with a couch and several single tables. Further into the building there is a long meeting table that Jake said has been reserved dozens of times since they opened.
“It has been one of our favorite parts to see this space become a place where people are congregating,” Jake said.
While living in Reno, Jake found himself hanging out in coffee shops, but disliking coffee. He had some friends opening up a coffee shop and asked one of them what he could do to try to enjoy coffee.
“He showed me another side of coffee, what we call specialty coffee,” Jake said. “I fell in love with it, I didn’t realize it could be as complex as it is.”
One of the struggles of the new coffee shop initially was that some customers didn’t understand the different characteristics of DST’s coffee, like the cooler temperature and unusual taste.
“In the first month, people came in and thought that we weren’t heating our drinks up enough,” Jake said. “But like I said I know a lot about coffee and traditionally a cappuccino is made at 130 degrees, at Starbucks it is about 155 degrees. That 25 degree difference is very vast when you are sipping coffee.”
Another difference is that DST Coffee only serves their coffee in one size, 12 ounces. This is because Jake said they put a lot of care into making their coffee taste good and when serving larger sizes, the taste may suffer.
The different taste of DST Coffee comes from the light to medium roast they serve. The coffee shop uses a local supplier that only supplies light to medium roast coffee.
“Traditionally within the valley you have a dark roast everywhere, at the Starbucks plant, Blind Dog Coffee Roasters and Alpine Coffee Roasters, they all typically lean toward a darker roast,” Jake said.
However, Jake and Amanda both said their customers are often open to learning about the differences and are starting to enjoy the taste, something they both appreciate.
“The community support has been extraordinary,” Jake said. “We thought since we know a lot of people in the valley, they would be our main customer base, but Douglas County as a whole has astonished us with how kind they have been.”
The siblings have been giving back to the community by ensuring they are using a local Reno coffee supplier and Reno bakeries for their pastries.
“We value community over competition,” Amanda said. “We would rather be a business that supports our community, than focus on what our competition is doing.”