Hair salons and coffee don’t often mix, but one store in Knoxville has decided to try it out.
Ruth + Newby is a salon located in the Bearden area with a unique pour over coffee station at the front of the store. While the salon opened in January 2017, the pour over coffee counter made its way to the front at the beginning of March 2018.
The concept started out in Parlor Coffee, located in Brooklyn, New York, in the back of a hair salon. The idea inspired Ruth + Newby, and they decided to invest in the pour-over coffee station.
With hair and coffee both considered as forms of art, Ruth+Newby thought the two seemed to fit well together. They started serving coffee to their clients, and then decided to sell the coffee and their coffee beans to anyone who comes to the salon or for the coffee.
“We believe that cutting hair and brewing coffee share quite a few similarities,” Ruth + Newby's website reads. “Both require a steady hand, thoughtful actions, and time spent perfecting a craft that will produce excellent results. We are continuously fascinated by this relationship, and it is one of the many reasons we decided to start making hand-crafted coffee.”
Pour over coffee is the only type of coffee available at Ruth + Newby, with the store's belief in achieving the same intentionality with coffee that the stylists give to hair.
“We take the same approach to hair as we do to coffee: slow and intentional,” Becka Ruckart, stylist and barista at Ruth+Newby, said.
Pour over coffee is made differently than other the other brewed forms of coffee. The barista has to measure out the beans for a single cup, set water temperature to exactly 205 degrees Fahrenheit, clean the filter with the water, place in the grinded beans flat and time it to create the most flavorful coffee.
Ruth+Newby only have a few blends of coffee in the shop; however, the choices were carefully selected. The staff tried many flavors before selecting the ones they would serve. Barista and stylist Natalie Cage said that a good cup of coffee comes down to “how it sits in your mouth.”
The salon is very open about where they get their beans from, informing customers about the farmers the beans come from and assuring them that the farmers are paid fairly for their labor. Ruth + Newby also serve to-go coffee in a biodegradable cup; customers who bring their own cup get one dollar off of their coffee.
Along with many other shops, Ruth + Newby offer coffee punch cards, giving customers the chance to eventually get a free coffee. Customers who get their hair done at the salon are offered a complimentary cup of coffee.
However, coffee and hair treatment and cuts are not the only services Ruth + Newby offer; the salon also offers yoga classes every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m.
With the salon being a little tucked away in a strip, Natalie Cage says that the goal is not to be the biggest or most popular coffee shop, but to just be their own non-traditional place.
“We are not trying to make this huge,” Cage said.
Ruth + Newby stands out from the other Knoxville salons with a unique twist on a traditional salon through coffee and a staff who cares about creating a community.
“Everything we do here is surrounded by community,” Ruckart said.