Sure, there’s delicious food, but this St. Charles-area coffeehouse does one thing exceptionally: roasting coffee. Learn how a couple’s passion for good coffee led to a new business, and discover what that big machine is in the center of the room.
Wherever they travel, Dennis and Celeste Walker are always in search of the perfect cup of coffee.
And now they believe they’ve found the ultimate brew, right under their own noses. In 2009, the couple opened Arcedium Coffeehouse, 60 Indiana St., in downtown St. Charles. In addition to serving up a good cup of coffee, Arcedium offers espresso drinks, lattes, tea and hot chocolate, desserts and pastries, soup and sandwiches, smoothies and yogurt.
But, as its name suggests, the focal point here is the coffee, which is roasted in-house daily.
Arcedium’s custom blends join beans from around the world, in places like Kenya, Mexico and Nicaragua. The house blend combines Ethiopian and Indonesian beans for a smooth, chocolatey, earthy body.
Roasting coffee is not just a hobby for Dennis – it’s been the key to his business success. Before Dennis opened Arcedium, he attended a roasting school in Seattle to research and learn his craft. He purchased his roaster from someone in Idaho, and he buys his beans from importer Royal Coffee New York Inc.
Roasting transforms the chemical and physical properties of green coffee beans, producing the flavor of coffee by causing the beans to expand and change in color, taste and smell.
“It has to have quality,” Dennis says. “It starts with the roasting. You take a good bean and roast it to flavor. When I get a new shipment in, I roast it and check it for flavor. If it’s not good, I roast it again. It’s the most critical component of the process.”
The food menu features a variety of soups and sandwiches, made fresh daily. Fresh pastries and sweets are purchased locally. Not a coffee drinker? An assortment of teas, hot cocoas and fruit smoothies are available.
Arcedium started when Dennis, a carpenter and builder who retired after 40 years, was looking for a new opportunity. Celeste, a Geneva attorney who practices family law, supported her husband’s next move.
“We’ve never done anything like this before, and we didn’t know what to expect,” she says. “We wanted something different. Our dream was to create a place for the community to gather. We feel that’s lost in our society.”
There’s definitely a sense of connection at Arcedium, located inside a former bridal shop that the Walkers completely renovated. “We wanted it to feel like home,” Dennis says. The colors – light tan, olive and pumpkin – are warm and inviting. Photography from local artists adorns the walls. There’s ample seating with comfy couches and wooden tables. A private room is perfect for business meetings, baby showers and retirement parties. Arcedium also hosts open mic night once a month.
While Celeste takes care of business matters behind the scenes, Dennis is on the front lines with his 10-person staff. His days fill up fast, from greeting customers to running around town picking up supplies. “He keeps this place going every day,” Celeste says. “He was exceptional as a carpenter, and he’s exceptional doing this. He has good taste and he’s very particular. If he’s not satisfied, he keeps trying until he gets it right.”
The Walkers say the best part of their business is getting to know the customers. “It’s been rewarding to see the relationships that have been developed,” says Celeste. “People need their coffee every day. It’s their happy place.”
As for the name, Arcedium was derived from the initials – RCDM – of the four principal investors: Dennis, Celeste and Celeste’s parents. “We added letters to it and it went from there,” Dennis says. “Once you hear it, you never forget it.”
Arcedium is open Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m.-7 p.m., and Sunday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.