Global Grounds Coffee highlights global awareness, environment

Global Grounds owner Catherine Tyink, left, and general manager Alina Piotrowski.

Erik Daily, La Crosse Tribune

Catherine and Scott Tyink believe in eco-friendly business practices and in increasing global awareness.

They promote both at their Global Grounds Coffee shop at 1808 State St. in La Crosse, where they’ve also updated the decor, installed two new handicapped-accessible bathrooms and introduced some new menu items this year.

The Tyinks bought the assets of McCaffrey’s Coffee last December from Connie and Tim Sprester, who had operated their business at that location for six years. The purchase included Connie’s recipes, such as her fruit-filled scones and baked blueberry oatmeal.

The new owners have added some items and have a completely vegetarian (with some vegan options) food menu that includes such things as scones, bagels and soups. Beverages include coffee drinks, tea, hot chocolate, juice and fruit smoothies.

Since last December, the Tyinks also have added a grab-and-go cooler with canned and bottled beverages such as nitro coffee, LaCroix Sparkling Water, soda pop, San Pellegrino beverages and Kombucha tea drinks. “We plan on adding food items based on customer feedback,” Catherine said of the grab-and-go area.

The Tyinks also plan to install a black walnut countertop along a front window by the end of the year, to provide additional seating.

The recipe used for the homemade bagels that they added to the coffee shop’s menu came from the mother of Alina Piotrowski, who was promoted to general manager when the Tyinks bought the business. Piotrowski has worked at the coffee shop since May 2013 and is one of six employees.

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Global Grounds Coffee highlights global awareness, environment

Global Grounds coffee shop provides a quiet and eco-friendly atmosphere.

Toppings are available for the coffee shop’s bagels, and Piotrowski and the Tyinks plan to introduce bagel sandwiches by January. The coffee shop’s most popular bagel flavors are plain, pumpkin spice, cinnamon sugar and rosemary.

Global Grounds’ most popular fruit scone flavor is triple berry – a mix of raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.

Besides bagels and scones, the coffee shop’s made-from-scratch baked items include banana bread and pumpkin bread. It also sells cookies, chocolate bars, almond and coconut bars, chocolate-covered espresso beans, green tea caramels and coffee mugs.

Global Grounds also sells a large variety of coffee drinks, as well as coffee beans; and many flavors of tea. Its coffee beans are roasted by Bean Juice coffee shop in La Crosse and other area coffee roasters.

Global Grounds and its next-door neighbor, The Mint restaurant, were honored for their eco-friendly practices when both recently were named certified members of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s Travel Green program. Department officials said they earned their certifications for implementing green practices such as aggressive recycling, composting, sourcing local products and investing in a large bicycle rack to encourage non-motorized transport.

“We use the same food supplier weekly to conserve energy on delivery trips,” Catherine said of the two businesses. “Instead of direct delivery, we pick up our items at their place and carry them to ours.”

The Tyinks say their coffee shop also reduces plastic waste partly by offering plastic straws only upon request, by having reusable metal straws available and by selling reusable bamboo straws. They also offer discounts to customers who bring in their own cups, use eco-friendly cups and containers, and try to repurpose and reuse rather than purchasing new.

“Other choices we’ve made to be more ‘green’ include buying local Kwik Trip milk and having a farmer compost our coffee grounds, egg shells and banana peels so that material doesn’t end up in a landfill,” Catherine said. “And serving all-vegetarian fare which has a gentler environmental impact compared to meat-based dishes. We also purchase biodegradable, non-toxic, healthy cleaning products from Full Circle Supply on Main Street.”

While it offers dairy products, Global Grounds also has non-dairy alternatives available.

Inside the coffee shop, decor updates aimed at promoting global awareness include a giant wallpaper mural depicting vintage travel post cards that show scenes from around the world. The updates also include a large painted mural of the world. Also mounted on a wall is a Global Grounds Travel Journal Cork Map of the world where people can put a pin to mark a favorite place, and then write about it briefly in a journal below the map.

Posted on a wall next to the counter is a sign that each month features information on another nation, culture, festival or other event.

Global awareness is important, Catherine said. She and her husband have traveled extensively around the world. And she was a counselor at an international high school near Zurich, Switzerland, for two years ending this past July. Before that, Catherine was a counselor at high schools in the greater La Crosse area.

The Tyinks also were part owners of The Wine Guyz wine bar in downtown La Crosse until they sold their interest in that business in February 2015.

“We really like locally-owned, independent businesses,” Catherine said of the couple’s decision to buy the coffee shop. They also enjoy food and beverage businesses, she said.

“I also enjoy the social aspects, independence and flexibility that a business like this can afford you,” Catherine said.

The coffee shop is a sponsor of such groups and events as La Crosse SOUP, Global Initiatives Week and various University of Wisconsin-La Crosse organizations. “We also support local schools through the Kwik Trip milk caps for kids rebate program,” Catherine said.

She also is a member of the La Crosse Task Force to End Modern Day Slavery steering committee.

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