Kaffee Meister gives people what they want, buzz, soul and good vibrations

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Playing a coffee house is not a lucrative gig with all musicians playing for tips, but people enjoy the live music, and it brings business to Santee’s Kaffee Meister. This win-win situation created a pleasant atmosphere on weeknights, in the packed house featuring colorful cups of tea, the scent of freshly ground and brewed coffee beans, and the vibration of strings and percussion connecting people sipping and smiling. 

Playing a coffee house is not a lucrative gig with all musicians playing for tips, but people enjoy the live music, and it brings business to Santee’s Kaffee Meister. This win-win situation created a pleasant atmosphere on weeknights, in the packed house featuring colorful cups of tea, the scent of freshly ground and brewed coffee beans, and the vibration of strings and percussion connecting people sipping and smiling. 

On Wednesday and Friday evenings local artists bring the coffee house to life with a variety of original music, covers, and open mic night on Thursdays.

Mike Emmons and his wife Leslie opened a Kaffee Meister in Lakeside three years ago. In 2012 they saw a spot in Carlton Hills and opened their second location. With prior residents running a coffee house with live music Emmons said it did not take long for the musicians to come knocking.

“Right away, people were calling us to come and play,” he said. “They thanked us for giving them a venue, because otherwise, they tell us they’d be sitting at home playing their music in their living room.”

Emmons’ daughter, Elisa McLaughlin helped design the new location, and her husband, Chester McLaughlin books entertainment. Live music sets Kaffee Meister apart, but in addition to coffee, tea, and smoothies, food is served  with a health-conscious menu to accommodate its business hours of “Open Early. Open Late. Seven Days a Week.”

A popular local act is the Ben Owens Trio, three brothers who play jazz, bluegrass and swing on two guitars, a snare drum and cymbals. Ben Owens, eldest of the trio (Joseph, 13, on percussion, Jameson, 16, on guitar) started playing guitar at age 13. 

“I was raised on guitar music, my mom sang in church, and my cousin, local musician Ricky Ruis started me on guitar,” Owens said.

Owens played solo gigs for approximately nine years before his brothers joined him to make a trio. They play the Del Mar Fair, weddings, farmer’s markets and private gigs among other venues, and said “it’s easier when school is not in session.” The Trio plans to hit the road next year. Ben Owens attends and performs at the annual Chet Atkins Appreciation Society convention in Nashville.

Joseph and Jameson Owens joined their brother after starting Friday evening with a solo playing of “Blue Moon,” and an original song “New Friends,” as the Trio played to filled coffee house seats.

It’s not just the caffeine that makes Kaffee Meister buzz. A coffee shop that opens its doors to local artists keeps the patrons happy with a winning formula—thirst, hunger, and culture satisfied in one nearby, friendly spot.

Kaffee Meister (www.kaffeemeister.com) at 9225 Carlton Hills Blvd. is open 5:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Monday – Saturday and 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. For more about Ben Owens Trio, find them at www.benowens.com.

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