Montrose is home to so many coffee shops that it can be hard for them to stand out from each other. Places like Blacksmith and Siphon Coffee have used food or a signature brewing method to build their reputations, but even established shops are looking for ways to define their niche.
For years, Inversion Coffee has been one of those shops without a clear identity, but that situation improved recently thanks to the addition of gelato. Rebranded as Inversion Coffee & Gelato, the shop has become a vendor for Dolce Neve, the acclaimed Austin-based gelato shop that opened in the Heights earlier this year.
“I feel like David (Buehrer) was a huge fan of Dolce & Freddo, a (now closed) gelato shop in Houston,” co-owner Marco Silvestrini tells CultureMap. “He had this idea in mind that he wanted to replicate the concept. That’s how the concept started.”
For Buehrer, the barista-turned-entrepreneur behind coffee shops like Blacksmith and Morningstar who serves as Inversion’s operating partner, adding gelato gives the shop a more fixed identity that should lure in new customers.
“I feel like the whole thing makes more sense to me: Inversion Coffee & Gelato. Even the name makes more sense,” Buehrer says. “Gelato is the inversion of coffee. You have black and hot and without sugar with something sweet and cold and delicious . . . Finally it feels complete to me now.”
Inversion will serve eight flavors of gelato from the same style of closed metal dippers that Dolce Neve uses in order to protect the product from sunlight and allow it to stay fresh for as long as possible. Offerings will typically be focused on popular flavors like the 70-percent chocolate, salted caramel, and pistachio. Those seeking more adventurous flavors like ricotta, honey, and pistachio or mascarpone and figs will need to head to the Heights.
“My idea is that people in Montrose will go there and get an introduction to know more about Dolce Neve,” Silvestrini says. “It’s a great way for people in Houston to learn what we are.”