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Journal Star Article - Dec 10, 2016

December 10, 2016

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Coffee roasting, seasonal gifts are calling cards for CxT Roasting Company on Main Street

Posted:  Dec 10, 2016

By Thomas Bruch
Journal Star entertainment reporter

PEORIA - In years gone by, the Popadziuk family found that the morning conversations in the kitchen over coffee were the rare moments when everyone relaxed together and chatted.

The lifelong love of coffee associated with those memories spurred one family member to immerse himself in the coffee roasting process. With that expertise, the Popadziuks have entered the central Illinois coffee scene this week with CxT Roasting Company, located at 309 Main St. next to The Nut House and the Apollo Theatre.

The CxT, which is bracketed in the display of the company's name, stands for "Coffee by Tristan" - 24-year-old Tristan Popadziuk, who traveled to Oklahoma to gain the knowledge and even certification for roasting.

"The family has a big passion for coffee, and I like to explore the flavors and health benefits of it," Tristan said.

CxT promises caffeine of the highest quality in the back of the narrow shop with pour-overs of single origin coffee beans along with matcha and chai teas. But what distinguishes the business from others of its ilk comes in the front of the store. In a simple premise that nonetheless appears ambitious in the Downtown landscape, CxT also will operate as a seasonal gift store.

Tristan's mother, Kelly Popadziuk, handles the retail portion of the business. The shop is currently lined with Christmas décor, jewelry and coffee equipment on shelves and tables. Those items will change with each season.

"We added the retail portion later on," Kelly said. "And there's really no little gift stores Downtown."

Located in a prime location during the week across the street from the courthouse and Caterpillar, CxT hopes to attract people during the bustle of the weekday. Whether it's someone needing a four-minute break during the work day to grab coffee or someone looking to buy a quick gift at the end of the day, CxT seeks to be the destination.

"Whatever they need Downtown is what we're going to try to offer," said Kelly, adding that people already have requested jugs of coffee for events.

Though that block of Main Street has become a bit of a turnstile for businesses, CxT wants to accentuate its setting. When the weather warms up, an outdoor café area will be installed in front of the storefront. Kelly Popadziuk said she also hopes to use the nearby Apollo Theatre for roasting workshops and other events.

Plenty of other Popadziuk's played a significant role in getting the store started. Mitchell, Tristan's older brother, will run the business portion, while another brother Kyle will be around the store and pinch-hit in other aspects.

The space was made available to them in August, and seeing the finished product was an emotional one for the family. In fact, on a day shortly before opening, the whole family gathered inside the shop for some coffee and a little conversation - just like always.

CxT Roasting Company is open 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Thomas Bruch can be reached at 686-3262 or tbruch@pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @ThomasBruch and contact him on any openings and closings in the central Illinois area.