photo credit: Kumquat Coffee
Highland Park has no shortage of picture-perfect cafés, and Kumquat is a relative newcomer, landing on York in November 2018. Co-owners AJ Kim and Scott Sohn both have backgrounds in coffee and wanted to simplify the business when they opened so they could focus on the essentials—like the origin of each ingredient, sourcing syrups directly from farms around the US, and offering coffee from a dozen different roasters around the world. They chose the name Kumquat because it felt unexpected for a coffee shop, but it also relates to their Asian American identity as something that hails from Asia, and their experiences of coffee culture in places like Korea and Japan. Over the course of the pandemic, they’ve continued thinking about what their customers are looking for: quality home brewing (they increased the variety of coffee beans and gear), refreshing drinks during warm months (they're currently doing a cold brew fest with nine different variations) and shorter wait times (they're in plans for a second location in Cypress Park).