“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent,
a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men
are created equal.” ~Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address
When Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address in 1863, his entreaty for justice, liberty and equality were made undeniably clear.
Fast-forward 155 years to one un-assuming coffee shop in Historic Roseville which is articulating the same message – with subtle notes of cocoa and aromatic sensation. “We want to emancipate people from pretentious coffee culture,” said Luke Noland, co-owner of Fourscore Coffee House. Unlike many coffee-providers on the rise, owners Noland and Jesse Mariut have succeeded in creating an environment where guests feel welcomed and respected, rather than intimidated.
Fourscore’s official opening in 2017 came after months of preparation and construction. With the help of JNT Building and Remodeling and several members of the community, the 60-square-foot area was transformed to a 1,200-square-foot space with a large table made from reclaimed wood of the original building, and brick walls and pillars from the old K Street building in Sacramento. “We wanted to sort of capture the old-town feel,” said Noland. “The spirit and feel of the railroad is vital to the growth and history of Roseville.”
In thinking of a name for their coffee shop, the owners wanted something that would capture the local feel of the business, but also nationally recognizable. “We thought it sounded really strong and captured our mission and heart and vision,” Noland said. As Noland, Mariut and two other collaborators were brainstorming they considered the street that the building was on, Lincoln Street, and their mission to fight for justice against human trafficking and slavery. With President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in mind, they decided on Fourscore Coffee.
Mariut, a Roseville native, owns two other businesses, but says this coffee shop is just different. “It’s unlike any other business I have,” he said. “People are loyal to our product.”
One aspect of Fourscore that is remarkably distinctive from other coffee shops is that, in the words of the owners, the coffee is secondary. This doesn’t mean that it is of lesser quality or lacking in any way, but rather the coffee is secondary because the people drinking it come first. During the years that Noland spent working at local and worldwide coffee shops around Sacramento and Placer County, he learned about more than just coffee. Noland said when he started working at Starbucks it was simply because he needed a job. But after many occasions of customers sharing their stories and struggles with him, the job became about more about the people. Noland said he can recall many times when someone would break down crying and share their life stories with him while he was making their coffee. He came to the conclusion that even in the simple act of making a cup of coffee, he could be making someone’s day, too.
Fourscore gets its coffee beans from a local roaster out of Loomis called Valiant Coffee. “We’re keeping it local,” said Austin Fruci, a barista at Fourscore for almost one year. A variety of options await to quench the thirst of each customer including drip coffee, pour overs, traditional espresso drinks, seasonal drinks like spiced lattes, a selection of hot or iced teas and refreshing lemonade in the summer months. “Every one of our baristas wants to make sure your time here is the best experience it can be and not just a good cup of coffee,” Fruci said.
The friendly atmosphere is especially welcoming to local musicians and artists. “We really like to invest in the community of Roseville,” Fruci said. “So we give local musicians a chance to express their art and talent here.” This small but spacious platform is ideal for music of all genres. Several of the acts Fourscore has hosted include Brolly, an indie singer/songwriter, The Co, which has a more pop sound, and J.D. Avila, an acoustic singer/songwriter. The coffee shop has even hosted the aptly named Barista Nightmare, who plays a variety of satirical covers with humorous additions.
Fourscore partners with Agape International Missions (AIM) missions which is an organization based out of Cambodia that rescues young women out of sex trafficking. AIM then offers the girls support while recovering followed by an offer of lawful employment and education in useful life skills. One of the ways Fourscore supports the nonprofit is by selling handmade, cloth coffee sleeves. Each reusable sleeve comes with a note that includes the name of the girl who made it and a bit about her life story. A portion of each sleeve purchased goes back to AIM to support the organization and help the girls.
One of Fourscore’s core values is to authentically serve everyone and love everyone through coffee. Whenever someone walks though the door, it is the staff’s goal to provide more than just a good dark roast. Patrons of Fourscore should feel that their time is valued, their concerns cared for and leave contentedly with a smile on their face. “We want to be about pursuing human hearts,” Noland said, “and we do that through coffee.”
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