MaryAnn Pinon has a clear vision for bringing better coffee to the RGV. When she and co-owner Sergio Trevino opened Grind Coffee Co. in March, the endeavor proved to be a labor of love.
What started out as an idea for a food truck in November of 2015 quickly turned into a full-fledged plan to open a shop on a larger scale. The pair were able to sign the lease on their space at 315 W. University in Edinburg in February of this year, and were on their way to marketing not only superior coffee drinks, but a special experience for coffee lovers.
“We pick a bean that has really interesting characteristics to put in the brew, and we’ll get something different every time. Which is what we want: something that is constantly going to be breaking barriers.”
“The coffee, that is my thing. It needs to be perfect,” MaryAnn explains. “There was a lot of training on my side to make sure everyone knows what they’re doing, make sure they don’t slack off in terms of the coffee because it’s our jobs to make sure you guys get the best service and the best coffee you can find.” That means lots of research paired with years of experience in crafting coffee. “When there’s a technique put into it, it’s a more enjoyable experience,” added barista Amy.
We tried several of those drinks, and the star of the bunch was the in-house cold brew toddy. “The toddy is made by me personally,” MaryAnn says. “When I was developing my palette, I just started realizing that there are so many flavors I have not tasted in coffee, and I wanted more. So I started experimenting.” We’re used to cold brew coffee just tasting like regular ol’ coffee (but cold), but this offering was unique. It had its own flavor that we honestly couldn’t quite put our fingers on. The toddy was smooth and robust, and had a peculiar sourness – but not your typical citrusy sourness. When asked how she would describe the flavor, MaryAnn said, “When sipping on the cold brew, the first flavors you’re going to identify are cinnamon and peach — that’s what I like to call the ‘What is happening?!’ moment. Once that leaves the middle and heads towards the back end, you come to find a darker, graham cracker-like mouthfeel.” She’s right; the cold brew experience is intensely complex, velvety smooth, and almost chocolatey.
Apart from the in-house cold brew toddy, Grind offers a unique beverage exclusive to them in the Valley. And surprisingly, you’ll find it on tap. If you visit Grind, you must absolutely try the Black & Blue nitrogen-infused cold craft coffee from originator Cuvee Coffee in Austin. With its frothy head and cascading bubbles, it looks like beer. I personally love this brew, and as a person who normally has to dilute a lot of coffees with cream and sugar, I can attest to the absolute lusciousness of this brew. It’s all due to the nitrogen, which helps cut out any sort of bitterness that you would receive in the coffee.
MaryAnn acknowledges the trendy nature of cold brew coffees, but is quick to dismiss the naysayers. The summer heat is a major contributing factor to cold brew’s popularity.
“Cold brew isn’t something that’s going to be gone in a year. Especially here in Texas, it’s here to stay.”
Other notable impressions: we tried an iced soy chai latte, which tasted like the milk after the last bite of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and we were introduced to “the Amy Special,” a heavenly iced latte concocted by the barista herself, with white chocolate and hazelnut flavors that tasted like dessert in a drink.
The atmosphere is comforting, very clean and modern but with homey touches. There are plenty of tables and couches, perfect for UTRGV students to come crash in between classes or study for exams. They even have a colorful back room littered with loteria posters and a bookshelf spanning the entirety of the walls, designed for intimate conversation or quiet time. The building itself, with its bright blue door, is not without its own character. “This is a nice ambiance,” MaryAnn states. “It’s not a plaza, which was important to Serge and I both.”
Grind Coffee Co. is a fantastic, exciting addition to local culture that is sure to be a staple for the Valley’s resident coffee lovers. The staff is friendly and welcoming, and you can trust them to give you a memorable coffee experience each time. “I just fell in love with the idea of giving the community something that they can build relationships with,” states MaryAnn. The Valley needs more places like Grind where the vibe is fresh, positive, and above all else, has that sense of community and togetherness.