BROOKSVILLE — Daniel Pritz, who first sipped coffee as a teenager, is operating and buying into ownership of a coffee shop at a young age for entrepreneurship — 21.
"I just always wanted to," said the local resident and on-site partner at the Coffee Barn and Bakery, at 1147 S Broad St. "I love coffee, and I've wanted to have a coffee shop and my own business, and I worked extremely hard and I love it. It's awesome."
During a two-week barista course with a Tampa coffee roaster, Pritz learned that a cup of coffee that produces a contented sigh and a lick around the lips is concocted from more than ground beans and tapwater.
Pritz waxes knowledgeable on coffees grown around the world, a different variety served as a specialty daily at his business. African coffees are fruity and acidic, he says; Indonesian, fruity but milder; Central American, earthy, dark and bold.
The fruity Kenyan teaberry is popular at the Coffee Barn. Customers buy the bagged ground beans so fast that Pritz sometimes is pressed to keep enough to brew.
The shop prides itself on the freshness of its coffee. The Tampa supplier doesn't grind the beans until Pritz calls in his order. The grind is served the following day.
He and his wife, Darby, 21, too, and a coffee aficionado, also recognize the attraction of a coffeehouse ambience.
"I love the atmosphere," Pritz said — laid-back, comfy and conversational.
The Pritzes welcome dawdlers: students perusing textbooks over brews, casual readers choosing paperbacks from a table-side shelf, browsers of the Internet via the shop's free Wi-Fi.
And music — staged or drop-in.
Over a recent lunch hour, an older customer and his wife ordered the guacamole BLT, and then the man asked, "Do you mind if I play a bit?"
He broke out his accordion and serenaded the diners.
"Every time he comes in, he plays for us," Pritz said.
He doesn't know the musician's name.
"I just call him the accordion guy."
The food menu includes half a dozen pressed sandwiches, most with a signature sauce of sriracha, chipotle or honey mustard, all layered generously on bread that is baked daily on the premises. Baker Kara Phelps, 24, also turns out lavish desserts from her original recipes: chocolate-dipped peanut butter truffles, strawberry-double chocolate bars, apple upside-down cake, for example.
The Pritzes are buying out founders David and Ashley Smith. Daniel Pritz had joined the staff when the Coffee Barn opened in August.
"Now we're part-owners," he said. "We do have long hours. Brooksville doesn't have anything open late (other than some fast-food spots). We saw a hole, and we're trying to fill it."
Beth Gray can be reached at [email protected]