A New Prospect in Town
There’s a new, modern specialty coffee café in Ventura courtesy of Ojai-bred brothers Derek and Blake Ulrich. The Prospect Coffee Roasters café opens April 15 at the corner of Laurel and Santa Clara streets. (Check website for the latest info.)
While the café may be new, the brothers have been perfecting their craft for four years. Both recently returned to the Ventura area after stints in San Francisco and Los Angeles, which have robust coffee roasting scenes that focus deeply on quality from farm to cup.
For the brothers, coffee roasting opened the door for a career and lifestyle change. It enabled them to “do something we loved and cared about in a place we loved and cared about,” explains Derek, a lawyer by trade; Blake has an MBA.
They honed their skills in their garage before moving to their own roastery on Goodyear Avenue in June 2015. The café is the next step in their entrepreneurial dedication to the local coffee scene.
“We saw that there was room in the market where people could get a full experience of having made-to-order specialty coffee that’s roasted and served by the same people,” Derek says.
Aesthetically the Prospect Roasters branding recalls clean, vintage baseball logos, which is no coincidence as both brothers are baseball fanatics. Similar to the roastery, the café will have a clean, modern feel with heavy use of wood, metal and tiles. The focus will be on coffees’ rich flavor, not sweet, oversized drinks swimming in milk.
The beans come from small, traceable farms and co-ops in countries such as Honduras and Ethiopia—a summer yield was just four bags from a family-run lot. And they’re looking for a specific type of bean that has a sweet and clean profile, with balanced acidity.
“We roast all our coffees to highlight these characteristics without imparting overly ‘roasty’ notes,” says Derek.
If that all sounds a bit intimidating to specialty coffee novices, the brothers stress their other primary goal is to offer a “warm and welcoming” environment for all coffee lovers.
Prospect Coffee Roasters café
92 S. Laurel St., Ventura