Dustin: When one more cockroach crept across my forehead I was done with crawling in sewers and working in wastewater treatment. Coffee is my destiny.
Rhea: Life changes fast. Dustin and I bought a house in Guntersville last summer. He was working at the wastewater treatment plant, and I was teaching English at Snead State Community College. We wanted a coffee truck to take to festivals and trade shows for a side hustle. Dustin was going to get a part-time job at the coffee shop in downtown Guntersville to get us started. The coffee shop had closed. The owner of the building was interested in us opening another one. We didn’t know anything about coffee, but someone else would take our dream if we didn’t act fast. We watched a lot of YouTube videos and got to work. Dustin did most of the construction. I helped after work. We bought furniture from Marketplace, nickeling and diming everything for renovations.
We opened Moody Brews in January. We wanted a name related to music or a jazzy vibe. It’s also the moodiness of humans. Many folks need a cup of coffee to start their day. We want to bring good energy to that. I have been amazed by what happens between two people over coffee. Anything from a date to a business deal.
Dustin: I moved from California to Alabama four years ago for a change. I didn’t expect all of this. Meeting Rhea was my game-changer. We are figuring out how to work separately with split shifts to keep the romance alive. We recap at night and share coffee shop gossip. We love being in people’s lives. One of our customers is a mother who has returned to school. She picks Rhea’s brain for her papers and got 100 percent on her last one. Rhea is still teaching, even from the coffee shop.
Rhea: I retired from 25 years in education and became a full-time barista. There’s still a bit of an English teacher in me. I covered our coffee shop with literature and novels and put poetry on the chalkboard. We sometimes play vintage French music. This is a space to connect with others. Or go within yourself and explore your own life and dreams.
Owning a coffee shop is a lot harder than we expected. But experimenting with flavors and naming new drinks is also more creative. We have a Pumpkin Butt latte with pumpkin pie and caramel espresso.”
Dustin: We lay in bed laughing over names and love hearing people order them. Watching a serious guy whisper Pumpkin Butt or Whiney Baby is fun. We also have Sassy Britches, Drama Queen, Macho Man, and Stud Muffin.
Rhea: There are pieces of us all around this shop. I bought an “I love us” sign for my two girls and me years ago. One day, my best friend called and said she had just met my soulmate. She introduced me to Dustin. Soon, the sign meant the four of us together. Our family works in this coffee shop, so I hung our sign on the counter. The “I love us” has grown into the customers who walk in our door.