Patti Snell, owner of Patti’s Place Coffee and Tea, doesn’t drink caffeine, but don’t hold it against her. She’s roasting, flavoring, grinding and brewing some of the best coffee around, and her tea blends are standout, too. What started as a pet project in her Plano garage has blossomed into a budding coffee and tea powerhouse, expanding to Central Markets throughout the area and Artizone’s online grocery delivery service.
Before dedicating herself to coffee and tea full time, Snell owned and operated Patti’s Place, a restaurant she opened in a Victorian-style house after leading extensive renovations (it’s now home to Sip & Savor wine bar). Four years ago, and after decades in the restaurant business, Snell decided to retire that side of her life and turn her attention to coffee and tea 100 percent.
“I spent that time really, really mastering the art of roasting coffees and blending teas,” she says. “The coffee and tea part was very interesting to me.”
Not that she was a newbie to the coffee and tea scene. She operated two teahouses in her native Canada and once served tea to Queen Elizabeth II during a 1989 royal visit. She also harbored a strong entrepreneurial spirit that surfaced in 1976, when she opened a bakery in her parents’ basement and started selling her goods at a local farmers market—without her mom and dad knowing it.
These days, her presence is anything but undercover. After honing her roasting and blending skills, she decided she wanted to sell her products at Central Market. But first she had to move out of the garage and into a commercial kitchen.
The quest for space in Plano proved difficult. Eventually Snell settled on a site just off 75, a little south of Park Boulevard, and decided to open it up to other food entrepreneurs in need of commercial kitchen space. The Craft Kitchen at Patti’s Place was born.
With her home base established, Snell has been experimenting and expanding her offerings in creative and innovative ways. First, there are the barrels.
“My favorite beverage beyond coffee and tea is likely whiskey. I’m a scotch drinker,” she says. “I got the idea for aging coffee beans in oak barrels that I’ve seasoned with different kinds of whiskey; then I roast [the barrel-aged beans].”
She’s also added cold brew to her lineup and continues to add new flavors to both her tea and coffee portfolios.
One of her bestsellers is the Earl of Plano, a black tea blended with a cream Earl Grey. She’s also concocted a refreshing blend of six teas for her Splash of Summer iced tea that’s made without sugar or artificial additives. And there’s a line of wellness teas designed to address digestion issues, insomnia and appetite control.
On the coffee side, things get even more diverse. Snell offers a host of flavored coffees that are a little outside the norm. Think chocolate bourbon pecan pie, nutty butterscotch toffee, cinnamon maple nut crunch, one that tastes like Dr Pepper, seasonal flavors and many more. She even accepts requests. A customer once asked her to make a chocolate peanut butter cup-flavored coffee, and Snell agreed. Now it’s in the regular rotation.
Her beans are flavored warm out of the roaster with all-natural oils, nothing artificial. The coffee beans must rest for two days before they are ready for the customer. Snell applies a roast date to every bag of beans she produces, and they usually reach their retail destination, be it Central Market (coffee only), Artizone, website orders or the shelves of her brick-and-mortar location, by their ready-by date. This means that Patti’s coffee is fresher than what you’d find at your average coffee chain.
Despite all the effort Snell invests in creating her teas and coffees for caffeine-seeking consumers, there’s still her own troubling avoidance of caffeine to explain.
“[Usually] decaf coffee is terrible. But I love the taste of coffee, which is why I started coffee roasting,” she says. “I use a really good Swiss water decaf.” And it can be flavored just like all the rest.
Who knew local coffee lovers would have decaf to thank for their daily buzz?Patti's Place Coffee & Tea Website >