PLATTEVILLE — The irony is that the owner of Brew Ha, Platteville’s newest coffee house, doesn’t like coffee.
But Christy Waugh does like frappes.
“That’s why I started this whole thing, because I was addicted to frappes,” said Waugh, owner of Brew Ha, located in the McGregor Plaza parking lot. “I’m from Wyoming, and they have these all over the place, and when I moved here, there were none of them.
“I don’t like coffee. I can’t stand a cup of coffee. Everybody’s like, you don’t like coffee and you own a coffee place, but I like the frappe part.”
The Buffalo, Wyo., native moved to southwest Wisconsin with her significant other when he took over his family’s farm. Brew Ha opened Aug. 29.
Waugh said business has been “pretty good. My frappes are really starting to catch on. People are trying for the first time.”
While coffee may not be in Waugh’s blood, running a business is. Waugh’s parents owned three businesses by the time she graduated from high school.
“I pretty much did everything because if they weren’t around I had to manage them,” she said. “It’s good. It’s hard because it’s retail, so you’ve got to figure out the ups and downs of retail. Coffee is a habit, and people are creatures of habit. And you have to get them to get out of the box.
“Growing up with my parents having their own business, I always wanted to own my own business. And getting addicted to frappes … I was shocked that Platteville didn’t have a drive-through coffee business.”
Whether or not Waugh likes coffee, coffee — hers is from Italy — is a prominent ingredient in most of Brew Ha’s drinks.
Frappes are blended drinks with coffee and flavoring. (Waugh’s favorite is Snickers — chocolate, caramel and peanut butter.) Cappuccinos have coffee, flavoring, milk and a foamy head. Lattes have coffee, steamed milk and flavor; a breve replaces the milk with half-and-half. Mochas have chocolate (powder, not syrup), coffee and milk, the former of which she calls “my secret recipe for this whole thing … my mochas and my white mochas are by far my top sellers.”
Smoothies have fruit and ice. Italian ices have soda water, flavor and milk.
“Smoothies caught on pretty fast, because they’re pure fruit, nothing added on,” she said. “Frappes, I think, when the college came back and high school, they caught on.”
Waugh offers more than 50 flavors, some of them sugar-free, from A (almond) to T (toasted marshmallow). If more than 50 isn’t enough, said Waugh, “If a customer requests a flavor, I’ll be more than happy to get the flavor if I can get it.”
The flavors produce some unusual drink combinations. The list of frappes includes Bob Marley (chocolate and lime), Dirty Snowball (coconut, toasted marshmallow and chocolate), Dreamsicle (vanilla and orange), Heart Attack (chocolate, butterscotch and caramel), Marilyn Monrocha (white chocolate, almond and cherry), Nutty Irishman (hazelnut, almond and Irish cream), Orange Stick (chocolate and orange), and Tootsie Pop (cherry, lime, raspberry or strawberry and chocolate).
Waugh said the Snickers, Dirty Snowball and Heart Attack are her most popular frappes.
Waugh credits her water supplier, Mast Water Technology of Platteville: “It’s fresh water, and my drinks are consistent,” she said.
Brew Ha also offers tea and chai tea. Waugh expects to add iced sun tea this summer.
“I didn’t know what English tea was — it’s half tea and water and half milk,” she said.
One emphasis of Waugh’s is customer service. To that end, Waugh sometimes finds herself hearing more than just a drink order from her customers, depending on the kind of day they’re having, or expect to have.
“One of the biggest problems in America is customer service,” said Waugh. “Customer service will be our main key.”