Iroquois is a small town in South Dakota established in 1880 along the C&NW railroad during the land boom that came with the opening of the Dakota Territory in the late 1870’s. With a population today of a little over 250 people, it hosts a handful of businesses and is surrounded by miles and miles of farm land. Toward the town’s center hides a garage-turned-coffee-roastery called Essence Coffee Roasters, and it’s rapidly gaining some positive attention.
Essence Coffee Roasters is owned by Rod Dirks, who spent much of his childhood in Brazil and has lived in different parts of America before settling in South Dakota. He developed a passion for coffee at a young age, and is living out his dream in opening his own place.
Essence has limited hours – Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings – and he has two separate, unique menus for each day. This particular Saturday morning the shop wasn’t actually open, but Rod invited us in anyway and served us up some drinks. Despite the closure, it still was a pretty popular place as several customers popped in to grab their morning coffee.
What caught our eyes immediately was the details. It’s not a large space, but Essence has modern details and a bright, clean white space with blonde wood accents anchored by a deep blue counter with white marble countertops. In the back you’ll find a beautiful, custom-made coffee roaster.
Rod’s search to find the best roaster took him to Giesen, a manufacturer in the Netherlands. This morning’s roast was smelling as good as ever, and we couldn’t wait to try out the coffee!
Tuesday’s menu choices feature drinks such as an affogato, and espresso shake, while Saturday’s special is fresh-baked cinnamon rolls. Both days you will find a traditional espresso-based menu, hot chocolate, cold brew, and tea.
Our flavoring options were simple: Sweetened or unsweetened.
Sweetened Latte – Sweetened with a spoonful of unrefined raw sugar, this latte was sweet, creamy, and balanced. The strength of the espresso shined through and made this a wonderful morning pick-me-up. No wonder this place is so popular!
Unsweetened Latte – The bright, fruity notes were highlighted in this latte. It had a smooth, creamy finish. Imagine how good this would taste with a fresh homemade cinnamon roll!
The Essence logo cleverly represents the relationship between the farmer, roaster, and consumer.
We were excited to discover that Essence carries one of our all-time favorite chocolate bars! Ritual Chocolate is known for their handcrafted, small-batch chocolate bars from unique origins. This stuff is amazing on its own, but even better when paired with coffee.
Guatemala Pour Over – We bought the beans and made this at home. This coffee was right up there with some of our favorites, so we are extremely glad we have the rest of the bag of beans with us to last us through the rest of the week! We’re happy to see that Essence Coffee Roasters offers a customizable coffee subscription, so we know that the distance won’t keep us far apart!
If you’re not able to make it to the destination of Iroquois, South Dakota, don’t let that stop you from trying out Essence!
***UPDATE*** Essence has moved from its Iroquois, SD location and has found a new home at 461 W Washington St. in Sequim, Washington.