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New coffee shop to bring West Coast flavors to downtown Fargo

Elisha and Tim Griffin are opening Young Blood Coffee Co. located at 623 NP Ave. in downtown Fargo.David Samson / The Forum1 / 3
Elisha Griffin puts on a record at Young Blood Coffee Co. located at 623 NP Ave. in downtown Fargo.David Samson / The Forum2 / 3
The Kees van der Westen Spirit espresso machine is the centerpiece of Young Blood Coffee Co. located at 623 NP Ave. in downtown Fargo.David Samson / The Forum3 / 3

FARGO—Young Blood Coffee Co. certainly won't be the first coffee joint in downtown Fargo, but the couple behind it say it will stand out with a brighter flavor profile that hails from the West Coast.

Tim and Elisha Griffin are subleasing the former Bun Appetit pastry shop space, 623 NP Ave., connected to Wasabi and Drunken Noodle restaurants. Their new business will open Wednesday, Sept. 14, with daily hours of 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Young Blood name is familiar here—the outfit launched in 2013 as a coffee roaster with plans to eventually establish a brick-and-mortar location—but founder Ian Johnson stepped back in the past year to focus on his career as a dental technician.

Fargo already had good locally roasted coffee, such as Stumbeano's and Twenty Below, Tim Griffin said, and Johnson didn't want to keep up the work if he couldn't meet his own high standards.

Tim Griffin said he was looking to do something in coffee after moving to town recently. Griffin has family in the area, and he also was a co-founder of Red Raven Espresso Parlor a decade ago before selling his stake in the Fargo business after a year.

The couple has extensive experience in the West Coast's artisan scene, with a past history at coffee institutions like Stumptown and Four Barrel.

"If it hadn't been someone like them, Young Blood would've just closed and we wouldn't have done it," Johnson said. "I wasn't going to do something or spend time on something that couldn't meet the type of expectations that I had for it."

Community space

Rather than roasting its own coffee, Young Blood will feature java and teas from some of the companies the Griffins worked with in San Francisco.

"We're offering coffees that are a little brighter and a little sweeter in the flavor profile, a little more nuanced," Tim Griffin said.

 The Kees van der Westen Spirit espresso machine is the centerpiece of Young Blood Coffee Co., 623 NP Ave. David Samson

Elisha Griffin said Young Blood's offerings will still be "approachable" for all coffee drinkers, but the business will have a "broader range" of flavors.

They've also worked to make their space stand out from the reclaimed wood and dark interiors that are common at many of the city's other coffee joints and restaurants, stripping out old walls and flooring to make the space bright with white walls, light wood flooring and minimal decor.

It's a clean space, but Tim Griffin said they don't want Young Blood to be a study hall. Instead, they envision a "community space," a place people come for conversation.

"To us, one of the most important parts about the coffee industry is the experience," he said. "It's not just the coffee."

Young Blood has seating for about 25, and it's also connected to a shared seating space with Wasabi and Drunken Noodle.

Tim Griffin said there could be more ahead for Young Blood, such as mobile catering, opening more locations and a return to roasting, but he's just going to enjoy whatever happens.

"Our major focus is the lifestyle that we get to provide and the service we get to provide to the community," he said. "If we can pay our bills, we'll be happy."


What: Young Blood Coffee Co.

Where: 623 NP Ave., Fargo

Hours: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily

Online: or @yngbldcoffee on Instagram

Ryan Johnson

Ryan Johnson is the Features Editor for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He previously wrote for The Forum and the Grand Forks Herald.

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