New coffee and tea shop to open in downtown Duluth
Dream Cloud Coffee Roasters will open its doors in early May.
DULUTH — A new coffee and tea shop is coming to Superior Street, offering a mom-and-pop small-business model that encourages creativity, free thinking and appreciation of good-quality beverages.
Dream Cloud Coffee Roasters, owned by Charlie and Emily Comnick, will open at 102 W. Superior St. in early May, beginning with live music performances during the Homegrown Music Festival. The space was formerly the Lake Superior Bakehouse from 2015 to 2020, and Jitters Lake Superior Coffee & Tea House before that.
Dream Cloud will offer between seven and 10 varieties of coffee, plus loose-leaf tea selections.
"There isn’t anywhere in town that will rival the tea service we have here," Charlie Comnick said. "Although it isn’t in the (business) name, it is something that's very important to me. We will have some of the best teas that you can taste in the world. And same with the coffee.”
Comnick has traveled to many of the places Dream Cloud's coffee is imported from, including Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru. He looks forward to being able to stay home in Duluth after spending so much time traveling — and he'll have to, because Charlie and Emily will be the only employees at Dream Cloud. He said one day, he would like to take on an apprentice.
“Each time I’ve come home, I’ve just fallen more and more in love with Duluth. The people here are unique, individualistic and they think for themselves and are hardworking,” Charlie Comnick said. “I want to really lean into it and create a routine of consistency and do a really good job with service. That’s one of my favorite things to do, is be of service, and just put a lot of love into it and see where it goes.”
The name Dream Cloud was partly inspired by Charlie's experiences with vivid, lucid dreams.
“We kept focusing on this idea of whimsy. We wanted a peaceful, calm space, but also one that could create a level of inspiration and creativity,” Charlie Comnick said. "We thought, what's always moving and always changing, but still somewhat predictable? The clouds. Kind of like dreams."
He was first introduced to coffee at Duluth Coffee Company, where the Comnicks previously worked.
“I fell in love with coffee like, right away," he said. “As soon as I found out the international scope and the cross-cultural way that coffee touches everyone, I kind of just was instantly enamored.”
They parted ways with Duluth Coffee Company during the COVID-19 pandemic, citing disagreement with management decisions. Since then, the Comnicks have spent time pursing creative outlets — including ceramic work, which allowed them to hand-make all the cups they'll be serving their drinks in. They also pursued a space with a vent for a coffee roaster, which they found in their new storefront.
Comnick's coffee roaster at Dream Cloud is smaller than previous roasters he's worked with, but he's still able to roast 20 pounds per hour. He said one of his favorite activities is reading a book while he roasts coffee, and he'd missed being able to do that in recent years.
Dream Cloud Coffee Roasters will be open 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Emily, who also works at Mad Chicken Studio Boudoir across the street, will split her time between the two businesses.
“I consider a coffee shop to be fuel for the community during the workweek and a repose that you can take away from the office or away from your work,” Charlie said.
The Comnicks hope to have baked goods added to their business model eventually, but first they plan to use the back-room bakery space as a gallery for ceramic art and vintage and antique items. Charlie said they have relatives who are looking to downsize antique collections, and he also hopes to provide a space for antique dealers who used to sell their items at Old Town Antiques, which was forced to close its storefront at 102 E. Superior St. earlier this year.
Although Dream Cloud Coffee Roasters won't have consistent evening hours, Comnick said they hope to host occasional open-mic nights and candlelight acoustic shows.
An official opening date hasn't been solidified yet, but Dream Cloud's doors will be open next week for a sneak peek during live music performances next Tuesday through Sunday.