It’s time to go on a java journey throughout Defiance County.
With cold weather moving in, a nice hot cup of coffee can be just the thing. Thankfully, Defiance County has several coffee shops to tend to all those caffeine aficionados out there. Defiance City boasts the wondrous blends offered at both Cabin Fever and Biggby Coffee. In Hicksville, the tantalizing tastes of Amanda Lee Coffee and Common Grounds Coffeehouse invite customers to try a cup or two.
Cabin Fever Coffee offers two locations in Defiance. The downtown location, 312 Clinton St., is owned by Jenni Hoeffel and Jerad Hoeffel. The southside location, 1882 S. Jefferson Ave., is owned by Adam and Alyssa Tracy. The original Cabin Fever opened in 2003 while the southside location opened in 2018.
The coffee shops offer sandwiches, pastries, coffee beans and candy in addition to their drink menu.
“There are things on our menu for nearly everyone,” said Alyssa Tracy, who also acts as the marketing director for Cabin Fever.
Throughout the years, Cabin Fever has offered a wide range of coffees for customers.
“One of the weirdest flavored coffees we’ve ever tried was a bacon-flavored coffee,” Alyssa confided. It wasn’t well received, but others have been. “Our house coffee is a medium to dark roast blended from Central America with pure Arabica beans with a 95-100 rating. Our signature latte is the Caramel Cabin Fever.”
Those wanting to try a cup can head to the downtown location Monday-Friday from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. while the southside location is open Monday-Friday from 6 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. ( 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Memorial Day through Labor Day) and Sunday from 7 a.m.- 2 p.m.
Alyssa said staff work hard to make Cabin Fever a community and customer-oriented business.
“It’s even odd to use the word ‘customer’ as everyone is seen as friends and most are family,” Alyssa said. “We continue to work to build relationships over each cup of coffee. … All are welcome here. We’ve heard there was talk about how you have to be a certain kind of person to come here and that’s simply not true. Everyone is welcome at our table. … We want to be a welcoming space for people to take a breath from this crazy, busy life – to reconnect with someone, to meet a friend, to nurture relationships. There’s much a cup of coffee can accomplish.”
One of the great things coffee can do is help create memories or honor cherished ones.
Biggby Coffee, owned by Sue and Jeff Strausbaugh, opened in 2007. It opened as a memorial to their daughter, Erica, who passed in 2001 from injuries sustained in a traffic accident. Erica had graduated from culinary school shortly before passing.
“We (Erica and I) always talked about opening a coffee shop,” said Sue Strausbaugh. “It took a few years for us to decide to continue that dream.”
Biggby, located at 720 N. Clinton St., attracts a wide range of customers.
“At our store, we attract everybody,” Sue stated. “We go from doctors and lawyers to beauticians to cashiers, to people that mow lawns. We have people who live off the streets that come in and want just a cup of water and to use the restroom. We don’t frown on that. It’s an attraction for all walks of life.”
The shop is open Monday-Friday from 6 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. A line that snakes around the drive-thru is a frequent sight and speaks volumes about the quality of coffee.
“The Caramel Marvel is our signature drink,” Sue confided. “It’s our historical drink. That’s what Beaner’s (Biggby’s original name) started with years ago.”
Biggby also has its own signature syrup and offers a wide range of drinks and assortment of food in addition to coffee.
“We go from cold drinks to apple cider,” Sue explained. “We just really, really have a great assortment of beverages.”
The drinks are served by a dedicated staff that Sue calls “wonderful.”
Biggby Coffee donates and contributes to several community projects as a way to say thank you for supporting the business.
“The reason we do so much for the community is because the community does so much for us,” Sue praised.
There also will be a big addition to the Biggby family soon as a second location at 1936 E. Second St. is set to open in Defiance.
“Stan and Megan (Strausbaugh) are coming on and will be co-owners of the second one,” she exclaimed. “We’re continuing on as a family business.”
In Hicksville, a familiar aroma and taste has returned after a bit of a hiatus.
Amanda Lee Coffee, 959 E. High St., first started in Hicksville as a mobile trailer in 2018.
“We built a reputation and got to know the community for six to eight months,” recalled Gabriel Meerzo, who owns the business with his wife Brenda. The couple were planning to build a shop in Hicksville, but a planned site fell through. An opportunity then opened to have a drive-thru in Sherwood. The businesses ran there for a year and a half before a spot became available in Hicksville. The couple were able to open the Hicksville coffee house in May and closed the drive-thru in Sherwood.
“The real reason we worked so hard to get this (Hicksville location) is when we did the mobile, we fell in love with the community and enjoy being here,” Gabriel said of the Hicksville location.
He said the coffee shop has been really well received in the community.
“They waited on us for three years to open, which is amazing,” Gabriel praised. “We have these loyalty cards we started in 2018. We’ve changed them in the course of the years, but we still see those original cards.”
The loyalty and love of the community has a special meaning for Gabriel.
He explained that the business is named for his sister, Amanda Lee, who passed in a car accident in 1997. She collected giraffes, which is why the animal is part business’ logo. The name and logo are a way to remember her “as a celebration of her life as she was so vibrant and loved by the community and her friends.”
Amanda Lee Coffee is open Monday-Tuesday from 7 a.m.-2 p.m., Wednesday-Friday from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
“Our most popular (coffee) is our salted caramel white mocha,” Gabriel proclaimed. “We have holiday drinks, of course. Peppermint mocha is popular this time of year.”
The coffee shop recently started offering sandwiches to their limited menu.
“We saw a need for it,” Gabriel stressed. “On this side of town, there isn’t really a lot of food, and we’re right across from the high school. … We focus more on coffee and drinks since we are only drive-thru and walk-in. Speed is a factor with our menu items.”
Amanda Lee’s staff also like to do a lot with the school, helping with various programs including those with the art department.
“We pride ourselves on the customer service side,” Gabriel stated. “That’s definitely something we strive for. We want to add value to the community. We want people to know if they come here they will be welcome. Basically, they have a friend without know us. We want to build that relationship with them and know we have a pretty good cup of coffee.”
Common Grounds Coffeehouse is the newest coffee locale to open in the county.
The shop, located at 160 E. High St. in Hicksville, opened October 1. It is the second location of the coffeehouse with the first one being in Grabill, Ind.
“It’s really a place for community,” said owner Lyndsie Hardley. She explained that she felt “a strong lead from the Lord” to have a community gathering place in Grabill. “(Then) there was an opportunity to expand that sense of community to Hicksville.”
Common Grounds is open Monday-Saturday from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. and offers baked goods as well as coffees.
“Most of our stuff is baked in house,” Lyndsie stated. “We have a few items that come from Dutch Heritage in Spencerville.”
Lyndsie also praised her staff for their work making the coffeehouse a great place to stop and grab a cup of goodness.
“I can’t do it without them,” she confessed.
While Common Grounds doesn’t boast a signature coffee, Lyndsie stressed “we can make anything. If you have a favorite drink we can make it. We have 60 different syrups and flavors.
“We serve Gobena Coffee,” Lyndsie continued. “One hundred percent of the net profits are donated to Lifesong for Orphans. It’s coffee for a cause.”
For anyone in and around Defiance County, wanting that perfect cup of coffee.
For those coffee connoisseurs around the area, the perfect coffee shop is just within your reach in Defiance County.