Brewpoint Coffee: from CraigsList browser to coffee shop owner

Ronan Doyle

By Murphy McFarlane, York Community High School

If you’re a student at York or even just an Elmhurst resident, chances are you’ve heard of Brewpoint Coffee. Maintaining a laid back environment, Brewpoint is the perfect place to complete work, hold meetings or even just grab a delicious drink. The cafe appeals to teens and adults alike.

Since the coffee shop’s launch five years ago, they’ve seen exponential expansion and roaring success. However, many customers aren’t aware of the unique story of how Brewpoint came to be the prosperity it is today.

“Ever look on CraigsList for an espresso machine and find a coffee shop instead?” Brewpoint Coffee Owner and CEO Melissa Villanuevo said.“Because that’s the story of Brewpoint.”

In September 2014, Villanuevo and her now husband were searching the web for a machine to make coffee at home; although, they inevitably committed to something a little bit bigger than a kitchen appliance. Five years, three coffee shops, one roastery, an event space and a book later, the couple are now flourishing entrepreneurs.

“We infuse a bit of soul and creativity into everything we do,” Villanuevo said. “It was really important for us to not be corporately owned and not franchise our cafes. Everything we’ve done is me and my husband’s blood, sweat and tears. Our staff and our team have helped us build what we have today.”

Photo by Ronan Doyle
Brewpoint Coffee utilizes their Workshop and Roastery to roast and produce coffee to reach and impact people in greater than just Elmhurst.

Locally founded, owned and operated, Brewpoint carries values of quality and impact. This deeply rooted standard of excellence keeps customers coming back. Establishing a strong sense of community is something that is often not found in large corporations like Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks.

“The drinks just taste better; Starbucks tastes artificial,” senior Chloee Moroney said. “You know you’re buying it from real people and not just a big corporation.”

Compared to other coffee shops, even the workers have noticed the unique sense of home that comes with the Brewpoint brand name.

“I’m a relatively new here, but I’ve never felt out of place.” Brewpoint Coffee Shift Supervisor Alex Orsi said. “I have worked for other coffee companies in the past and there’s definitely [those tense] moments, but everyone has been very welcoming, very kind, and very receptive to new faces. It’s been a real joy working here so far.”

Brewpoint appeals not only to the soul, but to the student as well. A calm and mellow space for people to work, mingle and collaborate, all locations feature an abundance of seating, a multitude of outlets, and of course, free wifi. Their drinks and pastries are the perfect fuel for York students to get their studying done.

“The workers are so incredibly nice, and the people you meet there are so sweet,” senior Maddy McGreal said. “Any York student should go there to grab a coffee and just get stuff done. It’s just a nice environment to feel productive in.”

The charm the community associates with Brewpoint has allowed the shop to expand greater than the owners could have ever imagined opening up CraigList in a new tab merely five years ago. One of their most significant additions since then has been the Roastery and Workshop in north Elmhurst.

Photo by Ronan Doyle
With their abundance of seting, Brewpoint Coffee utilizes its location to create an environment that both encourages productive work and a mellow vibe.

“Our mission is to make the world a better place through coffee,” Villanuevo said. “Our expansion plan has more to do with roasting our coffee and getting our coffee in a lot of different places. We’re signing on a lot of new wholesale accounts in order to expand our coffee, our mission and our reach.”

Now selling coffee in places like Linden Chicago, the UBS Building in Chicagoand Columbia College, Brewpoint continues to spread their reach. They look to use this source of profits to uphold and maintain their standards of spreading positivity.

“Wholesale is a way for us to make more revenue in order to do cool things,” Villanuevo said. “Whether that ends up being a nonprofit line off of Brewpoint in which we support more agencies that are leaving more good in the world or us focusing more on our farmers to make sure that they get paid well.”

Brewpoint not only makes it a priority to uphold a strong relationship with their staff, customers, and wholesale partners, but also the very farmers they purchase ingredients from.

“Currently we have a featured roast from Costa Rica called naranjo; it is phenomenal,” Orsi said. “We have a very close partnership with the farmer that actually grows the coffee. It’s one of those things where not only is the product good, but it’s also doing good for the people.”

Keeping with their strong values of quality and excellence, the coffee shop recently released a new pastries line having all products farmed fresh to table. The pastries are locally sourced in terms of meat, vegetables, and dairy–great tasting but also supporting a great cause. The pastry line was one of many features launched this September in celebration of Brewpoint’s five year anniversary– “The celebration of Innovation.”

“Every decision we make in terms of how we’ve grown our business and where we’re going has to do with the impact that we can make in the world to make it a better place,” Villanueovo said.

This story was originally published on This is York on September 27, 2019.