Something new brewing Milford coffee shop opens on South Street

MILFORD – Derek Fimbel got tired of waiting for Milford to have a coffee shop, so he started his own.

Union Coffee Company at 42 South St., just off the Oval, opened Nov. 1, and it is indeed a real coffee shop, with an espresso machine and trained baristas.

Its 25-year-old owner grew up in Mont Vernon, and his first job years ago was at the now-defunct Santos Dumont coffee shop in Milford. He went to college in Ohio, where he also worked in a coffee shop. When he returned to the Milford area he and his brother, Paul, worked at the Hilltop Cafe in Wilton.

The brothers say they don’t know where their passion for coffee comes from – their parents, Zoe and Mike Fimbel are both tea drinkers.

But they did know that between Wilton and Amherst there was a coffee shop desert, “a hole in the community,” Fimbel said, “no place to gather … this was my dream for a long time.”

The closing of Fat Daddy’s Coffee Cafe in Nashua this past winter helped make this dream a reality by giving Derek the opportunity to buy equipment at bargain prices.

Family and friends help transform the small storefront into a cozy shop with a West Coast vibe.

But it is New Hampshire at its core: Nearly everything Derek has bought for the cafe is from local artists and businesses.

The signs were made by Tom Perkins, of Milford, all the lumber came from Wilkins Lumber, pastries are from the Dutch Epicure Bakery. The old chairs were a donation from the Milford Historical Society and the walls are covered with the society’s old photos of South Street, framed by the Frame Depot.

The logo and website were designed by brother-in-law Wookie Jones, of Wilton.

Music coming out of the speakers is all by local artists, Derek said, and the musicians who are playing at the cafe on Friday nights are all local.

And the most important ingredient, coffee, comes from a local supplier.

One day Derek and Paul sat down with Emeran Langmaid, owner of A & E Custom Coffee in Amherst, to taste coffee from different regions, different blends and different brew methods and settled on a Mexican Sumatra blend, which is brewed somewhat stronger than the coffee served at A & E.

“Emeran was so helpful,” Derek said. “Her philosophy is that we are not competition, we are together promoting high quality coffee.”

Along with lattes, cappuccinos and coffee drinks, Derek has a set up for pour-over coffee, which he considers the best-tasting.

While they were renovating the space at 42 South St., they would eat lunch at the nearby Amigo’s Mexican Restaurant, and Derek is pleased that Amigo’s staff now comes to their coffee shop for coffee.

“That’s our biggest idea,” he said, “to be part of the community.”

The Union Coffee Company’s hours are Sunday through Thursday, 6 a.m.-5 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 6 a.m.-9 p.m.

Tonight, Thursday, Nov. 13, there will be a latte art competition from 8-10 p.m. to benefit Share.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 304, or kcleveland@