As Las Vegas’ longest-standing independently owned coffee shop, Sunrise Coffee holds a special place in our caffeinated hearts. From the first time we discovered this local favorite through word of mouth from friends and colleagues, we’ve been coming back regularly for both their focus on craft coffee and the inviting neighborhood vibe.
Sunrise Coffee embodies the kind of place that this city could certainly use more of, a place that fosters an organic sense of community despite this town’s reputation of being largely transient. It’s sort of become this well-kept secret that locals like ourselves want to keep somewhat guarded while simultaneously compelling us to tell every coffee lover we come across.
We recently sat down with proprietor and Las Vegas native Josh Walter, who started this beloved coffee shop with partner Juanny Romero back in 2008 with a mission to bring coffee culture to Las Vegas. “Growing up in Vegas, all I pretty much knew about coffee was Starbucks,” says Josh. “It wasn't until I started to travel to other cities, like Seattle, San Francisco and New York, that I realized there was a whole world of coffee out there.”
Inspired by their passion for bringing organic, fair trade coffee and wholesome vegetarian food options to the valley, along with the desire to build a place that would help develop a community, Josh and Juanny set out on what seemed at the time to be a pretty tall order. Over six years later, Sunrise Coffee continues to be a shining beacon of coffee culture in Las Vegas. “We’ll always have good coffee, but the real value isn’t just in the coffee, it’s the function that Sunrise serves in this community,” says Josh. “Some of the best experiences of my life, some of the best people I’ve met, have been right here in this coffee shop.”
The latest venture for the couple is expanding their brand called Mothership Coffee Roasters, with a full roasting facility/coffee bar currently in the works and set to open in early 2015. This brand new space will be mainly focused on roasting, allowing customers to witness the process while they order their coffee.
Mothership Roasters fully supports small coffee collectives from around the globe. A great example is the Rwandan coffee that they source from a collective made up of female coffee growers from two different tribes. This conscious effort to only buy coffee from organic, fair trade sources is one of the things that makes Sunrise Coffee special. It’s nice to know that the money they spend on all their coffee is helping to support a greater cause. And it just makes for a better quality brew.
Josh reveals that while both Sunrise Coffee and Mothership Coffee Roasters are ever evolving, one thing remains constant: their commitment to the vision of one day being able to proudly call Las Vegas a “coffee town” in its own right. That’s a mission we can definitely get behind -- one incredible cup at a time!
>> Sunrise Coffee | 3130 East Sunset Rd.