BY JANE BLOODWORTH ROWE
OCEANFRONT — Seda and Samet Yumusak, both natives of Turkey, know how much Americans love coffee, and they decided to provide Virginia Beach locals and tourists with their favorite beverage served hot or iced in a variety of styles and blends.
The couple’s vision resulted in VLOVE Coffee, an Atlantic Avenue coffee shop that offers brewed coffee and espresso as well as coffee beverages including Americanos, lattes, mochas and iced coffees. The shop also features iced and hot tea, lemonade, smoothies, sandwiches and muffins.
“The V is for Virginia, so it is Virginia love,” said Seda Yumusak of the new coffee shop’s name.
The sunny shop, which opened this summer, has a casual, relaxed atmosphere, but behind this is a journey that encompassed thousands of miles, years of experience in small business management and training in the craft of coffee brewing.
Although both Seda and Samet Yumusak are from Turkey, they met in Virginia Beach one summer when Seda, at that time a college student in Turkey, was working at the Oceanfront as part of an exchange program. Samet had been in Virginia Beach for a few years already and was also working at an Oceanfront hotel.
Now, five years later, the couple owns three businesses in the resort area, including Pirate’s Paradise Mini Golf Course and 21st Street Grill.
They decided that a coffee shop would be their next venture, partly because they both love coffee and because they wanted to offer Virginia Beach a diverse range of coffees.
“It’s our first coffee shop,” said Samet Yumusak, “and of course I’m very excited about it.”
“We drink Turkish coffees in our culture,” Seda Yumusak said. “It’s even stronger than espresso.”
Right now, the shop doesn’t offer Turkish coffee, but the couple hopes to add that to the menu soon, Seda Yumusak said.
Despite coming from a country that’s often associated with its coffees, neither Seda or Samet Yumusak had any background in managing a coffee shop. Their research led them to Counter Culture Coffee, a Durham, N.C.-based- company that offers organic and single-source coffees on the wholesale and retail levels.
Through Counter Culture’s training program, the couple learned to select, brew and serve coffees.
“I took online courses and barista classes,” Seda Yumusak said.
While she’s reluctant to give away any secrets that she learned, she did offer some advice.
“The coffee must be fresh,” she said, “and you need to measure everything. That really does make a difference.”
It took about four months of preparation to open the shop, which is located in a former clothing store on Atlantic Avenue.
“People can come after a sunny day on the beach and have a coffee,” Seda Yumusak said.
VLOVE Coffee serves Counter Culture Coffees, and Seda Yumusak plans to stock the bagged coffees for customers to take home. Employee Julian Escobar spent time training as a barista before the business opened.
“There’s a lot to learn,” Escobar said, adding that steaming milk requires a technique that he had to master.
His personal favorites, he said, were the caramel latte and the white chocolate mocha.
Seda Yumusak said that she expected that the cold beverages would be a big hit with customers this summer.