The latest Wellesley, Mass., business news:
Jejes Coffeehouse & Roastery opens in Wellesley Hills
It’s taken a while for specialty coffee to gain a foothold in New England, but Jejes Coffeehouse & Roastery is confident that those in Wellesley and nearby communities will be receptive.
Owner Soonhee “Sunny” Ka wasn’t a coffee drinker while in South Korea, where instant coffee with cream and sugar was popular at the time. “It caused me stomach pain,” she said. But after being introduced to light- and medium-roasted specialty coffee, Ka began to enjoy the less bitter drink. Using her food science background, she started to experiment with roasting beans herself, using different approaches to maximize their potential. “Different roasters make totally different coffee…this is pretty me,” Ka said of Jejes offerings.
That’s the origin story for Jejes, which launched in 2020 during the height of the pandemic. Coffee shops and restaurants serving coffee were closed, so Jejes emerged as a way for people to try a different style of coffee and order it online. (The name “Jejes” stems from the letter “J”—Ka and Lee’s 2 sons and dog all have names beginning with the letter.)
Jejes roasted its coffee in Sharon, and after a Jewish customer inquired about whether the product was kosher, Jejes looked into getting certified as such to make its offerings accessible to more people. Jejes’ production roastery, now at its 259 Washington St. coffeehouse, is kosher-certified, including for Passover. “The word has spread through this community quickly,” says Duse Lee, who manages the shop and is married to Ka. “It’s a stricter process than the basic health codes.”
Lee says he believes Jejes is the only kosher-certified shop in New England. That uniqueness has grabbed the attention of local news sites, including a TV station that showed up Friday morning.
Jejes initially looked to expand its roastery into a coffeeshop in Sharon after customers asked, but could not find the right space. They kept looking further out and came upon the Wellesley space, which previously has housed a fitness business among others. The current Sharon spot will be used for testing new products. It’s possible a separate, larger roastery could be opened in the future.
When I visited the roughly 850 sq. ft. shop in Wellesley Hills on Friday afternoon, 2 days after it opened, a steady stream of customers stopped in, and a handful more peeked in after the door was locked at 2pm. Jejes is open 8am-2pm Monday-Saturday. Closing at 2pm gives Ka time in the afternoon to roast up new batches of coffee, some of which very time consuming. Ka and Lee described a Dutch Brew process that includes some 6-plus hours of water dripping and at least 48 hours of aging.
— swellesley (@swellesley) March 10, 2023
The most popular offering so far is latte ($4.75), and Ka said she’s been surprised by the demand for oat milk in it.
The shop will close for a spell in April as well when Ka competes at the US Coffee Championships in Portland, Ore.
Jejes is more of a take-out than hang-out establishment, initially with 4 indoor seats inside and later expanded to 8 (outdoor seating will come with warmer weather). Baked goods, based on recipes from Ka, are also available.
Jejes Coffeehouse & Roaster (259 Washington St.)
Hours (updated June 5, 2023):
- Monday: Closed (Roasting Day)
- Tuesday to Friday: 7 AM to 3 PM
- Saturday: 8 AM to 3 PM
- Sunday: Closed
Run on collapsed Silicon Valley Bank
Jeez, we went away for a few days and there was a run on Silicon Valley Bank in Wellesley (and elsewhere) as the financial institution collapsed. A line of customers, and local TV news stations, could be seen at the 336 Washington St. branch in Wellesley.
California banking regulators on Friday shut down the tech startup-focused bank, in the biggest such collapse in more than a decade. The FDIC seized banks assets.
Hal Burstein, M.D., shared this photo of the action at Wellesley’s SVB branch via Twitter.
Church Street shapes up with Figurella
A women’s fitness and weight loss business called Figurella has popped up at 51A Church St. (near B/Spoke), promising a healthier you via a combination of working out, detoxing via “active oxygen treatment,” and nutrition.
Figurella got its start decades ago in Italy, and has become popular in Florida. The Wellesley space follows the opening of a location in Newton in 2021 by owner Chiara Migani.
Landscape architect fills long-vacant space
When visiting Jejes, we noticed that Dan Gordon Landscape Architects has filled the long-vacant space at the corner of that Washington Street strip that formerly housed a spa. The landscape architect has been at 267 Washington St., and now has taken over 269.