Sharing their love of coffee and making new friends and connections in Karnes County led Sarah Fields and Isabelle Fuentes to open their own mobile coffee shop a few weeks ago, brewing a successful business in the process.
Fields and Fuentes moved to Karnes County a little over a year ago to be “long term house sitters” for Fields’ father in Kenedy as he works out of state. After traveling the country and enjoying several adventures, the duo found a home in Texas. Fields is originally from Washington state, and Fuentes is from Northwest Arkansas.
“This is an idea we flirted with for a while,” Fields said. “There’s coffee available on every corner in Washington, and it’s something I grew up with as a strong part of the culture. We enjoy sitting down and talking to customers. Before we started the business, I worked for the post office (in Karnes City and Kenedy).”
Fuentes is a student attending Coastal Bend College, and she likes meeting people and providing them with a product they truly enjoy.
“Doing this helps us build relationships with people,” she said. “At a time when everything is so divided and there’s an emphasis on social distancing, it’s nice to be able to offer something that brings people together and give them something they really appreciate and look forward to.”
Fields said it’s interesting to see how people’s senses respond to coffee.
“We love it, and people come up and say, ‘It smells so good.’”
Fuentes said the fact that coffee can smell and taste so different is another fascinating thing about it.
“Coffee can definitely be an acquired taste,” she said. “I used to drink a cup of cream with a little splash of coffee in it. Now I enjoy shots of espresso.”
In Washington, people gathered at coffee houses for fellowship.
“Even many of the churches we attended had a coffee shop,” Fields said. “Drinking coffee was just something done communally. It was as much about coming together as it was about the coffee.”
The opportunity to open their own business, which they named after a beloved pet Husky/Lab, came about quickly. As a play on the company’s mascot, the motto is, “Coffee to howl for.”
Going into business wasn’t a gradual process for the duo, however; it was a whirlwind.
“We got the trailer, and discovered that with all the work involved we both needed to be doing this full-time,” Fields said. “We’ve made so many connections in such a short amount of time. It’s fun to educate people about the different drinks we have available here, some which aren’t coffee based.”
Fuentes said she loves to see people’s eyes light up when she hands them their beverage of choice.
“It’s fun to hand them their drink and to see their excitement,” she said. “It’s great that it brings so much joy to them.”
The menu changes periodically.
“We have so much fun experimenting with different flavor possibilities,” Fields said.
“People have their favorites, but I suggest to customers if they like one thing, then they’ll probably like another option we have on the menu,” Fuentes said.
The Texas macchiato is the top selling item. Starbucks has a similar blend, but Porter’s takes it to the next level by adding butter pecan and fresh ground cinnamon to the drink.
“All our coffees are available either hot or iced,” Fuentes said.
What is their own personal favorite?
“Hands down my go-to coffee is the vanilla latte,” Fields said. “I love it with steamed oatmeal.”
Identifying her favorite is much more difficult for Fuentes, who speaks of the different flavors with the same affection a mother might have for her children.
“This might sound cliche, but they’re all my favorites,” she said. “We put so much into creating the right blends, I really can’t choose just one.”
While they are having the time of their lives running the coffee shop, it is also a job that is time consuming and tiring.
“I don’t think Sarah and I have ever worked so hard in our lives,” Fuentes said. “I can say that for sure. At the end of the day we’re exhausted.”
“I never dreamed it would be as laborious as it is with the set up, take down and maintaining the equipment. It’s a lot more than we anticipated,” Fields said.
While coffee is their livelihood, it is far from their only interest. Fields said she enjoys writing poetry and hopes to be a published author. Fuentes is still exploring different career possibilities but enjoys what she has learned in her psychology classes. She is intrigued by lucid dreaming or the ability to be more aware and in control when a person is dreaming.
One thing the coffee shop allows them to do is to exercise their creativity. The coffee shop is housed in a trailer and moves from location to location. People can keep up with where they set up shop by looking for information on Porter’s Coffee of Karnes County on both Facebook and Instagram.