Zion connects coffee lovers to coffee growers

An employee at Zion Coffee Bar works behind the counter at the new shop, which opened Feb. 3 at 803 SW Adams St. in the Peoria Warehouse District. photo by Tori Moses
An employee at Zion Coffee Bar works behind the counter at the new shop, which opened Feb. 3 at 803 SW Adams St. in the Peoria Warehouse District. photo by Tori Moses
An employee at Zion Coffee Bar works behind the counter at the new shop, which opened Feb. 3 at 803 SW Adams St. in the Peoria Warehouse District.
photo by Tori Moses

Lattes, lemon tarts and liquor.

Banu Hatfield and her husband Mike opened Zion Coffee Bar Feb. 3 with a wide menu of hot drinks, alcoholic beverages and food items.

“The three things that I want us to be known for are coffee, toast and cocktails — so it’s a little bit of a grownup coffee bar,” Hatfield said.

Hatfield has been selling coffee for three years, first by selling online subscriptions from her basement and then by participating in farmers markets. She said she started looking for venues a year ago until she stumbled upon the perfect venue — an “adult shop.”

“[It was] very closed and dark,” Hatfield said. “We wanted to create a welcoming environment for everyone because I think sometimes coffee shops can be intimidating … How can you not come in here and just feel like, ‘I want to be here’? It’s open; it’s airy. I love the way it turned out.”

The coffee shop, located at 803 SW Adams St. in the Peoria Warehouse District, currently buys its beans from Nicaragua and Guatemala. Hatfield has taken two trips to the farms with her husband; one trip included four of their five children.

“We’ve worked with the farmers, and we’ve lived with them,” Hatfield said. “It’s not about us directing anybody, it’s about us getting down there and connecting with local leaders, both men and women. They decide what to do with the funds they receive.”

Hatfield also said she hopes to connect with more than just coffee consumers.

“The idea behind our shop is that we would build relationships with the farmers,” Hatfield said. “Through those relationships and eliminating the middle man, we are able to pay more up front to the farmer for each bag of coffee that we purchase, unlike large corporations, like Starbucks.”

Senior theatre arts major Cody Cornwell said he thinks Zion’s atmosphere feels open and modern.

“I thought I was in New York or something when I walked in,” Cornwell said. “It’s all white walls and a modern aesthetic, which isn’t bad. It’s the kind of coffee shop that Peoria could use as opposed to another hometown vintage coffee place, like Thirty Thirty and Midnight Espresso.”

Hatfield said she thinks there can be a misconception about what coffee farms look like.

“The whole idea behind this is not to portray that those people are in need,” Hatfield said. “[The farmers] are hard-working, they have great family values [and] they are very competent in what they do. So for us, we are just trying to connect coffee lovers from here to the other side of the cup.”

Zion Coffee Bar is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.