A new coffee shop has opened in Belton in an unusual location. Amor Ciego Coffee Co. is in the old downtown area, where it cohabitates with Weigh Station, a yogurt shop off Main Street.
Owners are Alexander Turner and Carolina Leal, who are big coffee fanatics with an entrepreneurial streak.
"My day job is in the Army — Fort Hood is about 20 miles from Belton," Turner says. "My wife Caroline has worked in coffee for years, she's from Colombia and she trained for a very long time with the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe. Coffee is her passion and it's something I'm also interested in."
They offer espresso drinks as well as pour-over options with a variety of coffee-making vessels, including the Chemex, the Hario V60, and the French press. "Our shop is in the style of the third wave of coffee," he says. "Our beans are freshly roasted, and we're about a hands-on experience. We make all the drinks right in front of the customer."
They also have a La Marzocco, which has become almost de rigeur for coffee shops these days; but their version is a new mini that's ideal for their needs.
"It's meant for the high-end consumer market but it has all the same features as their pro models, just a smaller size, which makes it easier to find space for," he says. "I've seen a lot of other smaller coffee shops gravitating towards that machine."
Belton does have a Starbucks as well as another local coffee shop, but each has its niche. "We're geared towards the craft experience, but we don't have a large seating area or puffy leather chairs," Turner says. "I think we're about people who want a good coffee drink."
In addition to coffee, they have a serious collection of organic loose teas, served hot or cold, and snacks made by local companies such as a protein bar from the Bearded Brothers in Austin along with fresh fruit, and, of course, frozen yogurt.
"Sharing a space reduces our operational costs but we also wanted to be part of this downtown area," Turner says. "We're right by the Gin at Nolan Creek complex, which includes a restaurant and wine bar. It's a cool place to hang out at night. And having a coffee bar share a space with a yogurt shop is a good combination."