Nine-Twentynine Coffee Bar

The inside of Nine-Twentynine Coffee Bar

A versatile coffee bar in Starkville celebrated its sixth birthday Monday.

Six years ago, Starkville brothers Joe and Neil Couvillion and their wives Carrie and Havilah opened the doors to Nine-Twentynine Coffee.  

Located in the hustle and bustle of Main Street, one wouldn't be surprised by the design that the Couvillions are also the owners of Couvillion Design+Build.

Joe is a general contractor and Neil is a landscape architect.

Nine-Twentynine has evolved from being solely a coffee bar to incorporating food, and retail items soon.

"They all wanted to establish a place in Starkville made available for communities to gather for a cup of coffee," Nine-Twentynine Coffee General Manager Jonette Shurden said. "Whether people are having business meetings, bridal shower, girlfriends catching up, people on their first date - we make it happen and I feel like since then it's been exactly that."

The staff's motto is "People over product," being that customer service is the coffee bar's number one focus.

"Then behind that is quality of product and I believe we have been able to maintain that throughout the six years that we've been here," she said.

Nine-Twentynine Coffee uses Counter Culture Coffee of Durham, North Carolina as one of its suppliers because Counter Culture prides itself on quality, integrity and relationships with coffee farmers.

"We feature them on our expresso as just our regular coffee drip and also some pour-overs which is a manual brew coffee method," Shurden said.

In 2018, Nine-Twentynine Coffee began to use the decaf and French roast of local roaster, Kenneth Thomas.

There are seasonal coffees that are locked in at Nine-Twentynine Coffee, but Shurden said they try to mix up the options each month to expand the coffee palette of the community.

"We keep special coffee as our main focus here and so we're very proud of that partnership with Counter Culture and it's been really neat to bring Dr. Thomas into the mix because he's a local guy and I think he's doing a really good job," Shurden said.

Nine-Twentynine Coffee went from purchasing goods from other bakeries to opening its own kitchen with a kitchen staff and in-house head pastry chef, TJ Kepner.

Kepner prepares baked goods and tier cakes for special occasions.

Expanding its market, Nine-Twentynine Coffee offers their space as a venue and catering as well.

"I guess we amped up our game in that aspect," Shurden said. "We cater anything from you buying a box of muffins to take them to the office all the way up to catering for 150 people in-house for a wedding reception. I think we also can say that we pride ourselves in treating each catering event like it's high-profile case."

Nine-Twentynine Coffee accepts a catering customer's price point and menu and executes for their event.

"You can say 'I love fried chicken so let's do whatever we can to make fried chicken happen' or Mexican - so we have that ability to be creative in that realm or keep things simple," Shurden said.

For the past couple of weeks, the breakfast sandwich has been a giant hit with Nine-Twentynine Coffee's new breakfast service.

The sandwich is prepared on a brioche bun with fried or scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage, and pepper jack cheese.

"It's so good because of the spices that they use on it and the quality of ingredients are delicious so that's been a recent favorite, and then on our lunch menu our cheeseburger is probably our top-seller," Shurden said. "We use bacon jam, arugula, an expresso mustard that we make in-house."

Customers crave their croissants that Kepner makes in a huge batch weekly.

"She laminates the dough so it's like a three-day process so the layers in every bite just amp up your experience," Shurden said.

As far as beverages, customers can't get enough of Nine-Twentynine's drip coffee and cold brew.

As a member of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, Nine-Twentynine Coffee tries to get involved in as many events as possible.

"We are involved in events like the Souper Bowl that was back in January, we're always apart of Forks and Corks so that was the event hosted by the Arts Council and we always participated in the Night Market which is another Partnership event," Shurden said.  

Nine-Twentynine Coffee loves to collaborate with other local businesses as well.

"If they don't have a brick and mortar store we allow them to have a pop-up shop here on a Saturday or Sunday," she said. "That goes for local businesses whether its clothing, candles, painting, visual arts and ceramicist."

Soon they will spotlight a local artist who is in the process of making coffee mugs with their logo that they will sell within the next couple of weeks.

"So when that cycle runs out we're going to look to our next potter and then they're going to be our next artist spotlight," she said.

Shurden said regular customers have stopped by with the same statement over and over saying, "I can't believe it's already been six years."

"I am honored to have been apart of this business for as long as I have. It's evolved a lot but I feel like we have remained consistent and true with the whole point of our opening which was have this place for the community to gather, and I feel like it's pretty special that we've been doing this for six years and hopefully we will be here for at least six more," Shurden said.

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