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From the bean to the brain

The Owly Coffee Company is located on Ash Avenue in Wadena across the street from the Wadena County Fairgrounds. The business can handle both walk-in and drive-through customers. Brian Hansel/Pioneer Journal1 / 2
Kyle Hagen and Kara Collom will begin operating the Owly Coffee Company on Highway 10 iin Wadena in early August. They plan to balance their time between the coffee company and their work at the Uptown Cafe where Hagen is the owner-operator and Collum is the bar manager. Brian Hansel/Pioneer Journal2 / 2

The magic of coffee is proven every day.

From a small, brown bean ground into a granular texture and then mixed with water, latte, mocha, syrup and perhaps a few other ingredients, can come a smile where before might only have been a grumpy frown.

This is what Kyle Hagen and Kara Collom have in mind as they prepare to open the Owly Coffee Company in early August.

A drive-through coffee business fits neatly into the working day for both Hagen and Collom. Hagen is presently the owner-operator of the Uptown Restaurant in downtown Wadena. Since the early morning hours are when the most coffee is served, their customers at the Uptown will not be neglected.

When Hagen got wind that the owner of Modern Touch Design, Boutique and Coffee Shop on Highway 10 wanted to sell the coffee shop, he saw an opportunity.

"Coffee - it's something everyone is going to try sooner or later," Hagen said.

Hagen also had a partner in mind, the Uptown's bar manager. Collom has proven herself to be everything Hagen wants from an employee - with reliability being one of her strengths.

"Kara is a great worker," Hagen said. "I would never have asked someone to come in on this if they didn't have their ducks in a row."

Hagen is excited about branching out. He has come to know the Modern Touch operation through his wife, who is a big coffee lover.

"I'm excited to learn new things," said Hagen, who has been in the restaurant business since leaving the teaching profession and feels confident about the new business. "It's still very much in our realm; it's all in making the product."

As Hagen got to know the Modern Touch operation, he realized why the owner was doing so well.

"She has always had good coffee, she has always had good syrup and she has always had good workers there," Hagen said.

While ownership is a new venture for Collom, she feels good about her partner in the coffee shop and she believes working with people and an extrovert like Hagen, will be good for her in overcoming her natural shyness.

"He's the best boss I've ever had," Collom said.

Fun Facts about U.S. Coffee Consumption

• 31% of coffee drinkers make coffee the most important part of a morning, brewing a cup first before any other morning behavior.

• 65% of coffee consumption takes place during breakfast hours.

• 58% of coffee drinkers brew their coffee the same way every morning.

• 72% of coffee drinkers take their coffee with dairy or nondairy creamer, which means 28% drink their coffee black.

• 30% of coffee drinkers sweeten their coffee with sugar or some other form of sweetener.

• 55% of coffee drinkers would rather gain 10 pounds than give up coffee for life.

• 52% of coffee drinkers would rather go without a shower in the morning than give up coffee.

• 49% of coffee drinkers would rather give up their cell phone for a month than go without coffee.

• Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day, equivalent to 146 billion cups of coffee per year, making the United States the leading consumer of coffee in the world.

• Coffee represents 75% of all the caffeine consumed in the United States.

• The average coffee cup size is 9 ounces.

• The average price for a cup of brewed coffee is $1.38.

• Seattle has 10 times more coffee stores per 100,000 residents than the United States has overall.

• The United States imports more than $4 billion dollars' worth of coffee each year.

- Kitchen Daily