First love: coffee

Gentry Morton

Photo by Cathy Wagner

Brave Coffee, Chico’s newest coffee shop, is aiming to be more than just a place to grab a quick cup of Joe. Owner Gentry Morton, 25, grew up in Chico and attended some classes at Butte College before moving to Sacramento in 2013, thinking he wanted to get away from small-town life. There, he started working for Temple Coffee downtown, where he discovered his true love: coffee. In 2016, feeling homesick, Morton (pictured with his sister and shop manager, Alayna, and barista Faith Champlin) moved back to Chico and, last month, he opened Brave Coffee at the corner of Mangrove and Vallombrosa avenues. Morton is keen on creating community and a team atmosphere with his staff—he speaks in terms of “we” and what they are doing together as a team to make Brave Coffee a success. The cafe will soon feature a late-night dessert menu to go with its tea lattes. Check it out for yourself at 615 Mangrove Ave., Ste. 100, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday-Saturday, or find Brave Coffee on Facebook or Instagram.

What inspired you to open a coffee shop?

Coffee is my life, I love coffee—not only the product of coffee, the flavor of coffee, tasting coffee but just the community involved with coffee, getting behind the bar and talking with people all day, meeting new people of all different walks of life.

What’s your coffee shop philosophy?

We love the community and the culture of coffee. We wanted to be able to, more than just sling coffee and sling drinks, actually have a conversation with our customers. It also gives us a chance to meet the community and meet everyone that comes out. You get to craft your drink; we do have menus but coffee’s really personal and we know people like their coffee just so.

How did you choose the name Brave Coffee?

It’s in our business plan not only to offer great coffee and tea, but [also] a sense of courage to face whatever the day may bring and a sense of community and belonging, hence the name Brave Coffee.

What makes your coffee special?

All of our coffee is named after the region it’s from and the farmer who farmed it. We really want to pay homage to who actually created this cup of coffee. Temple Coffee is our roaster—they are great in their business model; they treat their farmers amazing and pay them 30 percent above fair trade, which is wonderful. We’re really trying to focus more on a good-quality cup of coffee rather than a lot of blended [drinks] or drinks that take away from the coffee. Although we do offer some drinks with those because who doesn’t love a white matcha?

Do you have community events planned?

We’re going to be offering coffee education classes here. Different artists are going to be coming in and we’re gonna have an art show, we’re going to be doing live music and stuff like that to support local artists, whatever the art may be.