Knowledgeable and personable, Jon Clutton creates perfect pour-overs from a small table and invites workshop participants to add sweet syrups. He crafts one to two cups of fresh coffee at a time, pouring boiling water over fresh grounds and through a filter.
This was the scene at a recent pop-up shop for which he and his wife, Christine, were making premium coffee drinks through their young business, The Wild Way Coffee Creations.
Not content with simply offering pop ups, the Cluttons also have a mobile coffee camper under construction at 33rd and Roanoke. It should be up and running no later than early April. Form Design, owned and operated by Patricia McManus, is handling the camper build out, which will include plenty of interior space, plus a large window for serving customers.
This isn’t the couple’s first acquaintance with great coffee. Christine worked her way up from barista to customer experience manager and general manager at Austin, Texas’ popular Cuvee Coffee. The newly married couple later moved to Kansas City, with dreams of eventually opening their own shop.
Along the way, Christine learned how much science is involved in creating a terrific cup of Joe; that’s where Jon’s background comes in. A top neuroscience student at the University of Texas at Austin with a master’s degree in exercise science from UT, he has enthusiastically embraced the new business.
At Jon’s direction, the couple tested water samples with different mineral compositions for use in their business. “There are a lot of cool things about how water should be formulated to get the best out of the coffee,” Jon says. After extensive blind taste-testing, the Cluttons decided to create specialty water for use on their mobile coffee camper.
There’s a green aspect to company operations as well. “We do our best to source very carefully,” Jon says. “Coffee grounds are really good for composting, too.” Christine agrees, adding, “We will definitely recycle, and we make sure that our suppliers pay attention [to sourcing], from farm to coffee.”
Christine also handles the legal side of the business, including knowing what the health department will look for in the completed camper and getting it licensed appropriately. She is also transitioning the company from a sole proprietorship to an LLC.
As the couple builds their business together, Christine crafts espresso and other beverages at Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters in the Crossroads neighborhood, and Jon is a researcher at KU Medical Center.
“With us, you get coffee ‘the wild way,’" Christine says. “To me, that means creating a culture that is inclusive while crafting unique drinks with in-house syrups, locally sourced milk and the perfect coffee beans. To Jon, it's bringing his love of science and sustainability to ensure the highest quality coffee without any shortcuts. Put that together and it means you get some darn good coffee that's meant to be shared with others.
“And that's exactly why we're doing this – to be sustainable, to build community, and to share our wild passion with the people of Kansas City.”
The Wild Way Coffee Creations, 913.240.4172, thewildwaycoffee.com