The White Horse Coffee and Creamery has been serving the Jenkintown community and beyond since 2017, and now they’ve expanded across the street with the new White Horse Coffee Roasters & Sustainable Marketplace. We had a chance to talk to co-owner Jean Brillman about her newest environmentally conscious endeavor.
Jean Brillman is a professional horse trainer. While she did get her master’s degree in education from Temple University, and then became a teacher and a mom, she’s never totally left the horse industry. After she had her children, she started training again and found herself at many a horse show. And while she always enjoyed the work, she felt like there was something missing from these shows.
“We’re stuck here for 12 hours at least, and because you have a horse trailer hooked to your truck, you can’t just pack up your horses and go to Wawa and come back. You’re sort of stuck there for however long and the coffee is not good”
Jean and her husband Brian decided they wanted to start bringing coffee to the shows. But what about when it started to get hot? This led the Brillmans to the idea of a coffee and ice cream food truck. What happened next seemed influenced by a lucky horseshoe:
“There was literally a coffee and ice cream truck for sale on eBay.”, Jean said.
After securing this felicitous find, they started in 2017 attending horse shows, Harry Potter Fest, and all sorts of other events with the truck. While not really looking for a brick-and-mortar establishment, Jean took notice when the spot that the White Horse Coffee and Creamery currently occupies became available. After doing their due diligence on the space, which included standing outside and counting cars, Jean and Brian decided to take a shot. We know the rest is history.
As with the rest of the restaurant industry, White Horse took a hit during the height of the pandemic, but Jean credits never having to close their take-out as the reason they were able to survive. White Horse was an option while other restaurants had to close. They did curbside pick-up, a mobile ordering app and practiced masking and social distancing inside the café’.
During the pandemic, Jean continued researching what she thought was the next chapter in the story of the White Horse – roasting their own beans. While roasting intrigued Jean, the idea of the required huge and environmentally harmful coffee roaster did not. However, through Jean’s research, another choice presented itself – an all-electric, emissions free, Bellwether Coffee Roaster that can fit right into an existing space. Although they had to build a metal beam, the new roaster fit right in at the café’ and after White Horse began roasting, the business kept growing. The space did not.
“It was getting bigger. We were getting wholesale accounts…it was just too small, and we needed more space.”, said Jean. “So instead of a warehouse where people aren’t coming in and the only revenue you get is from your wholesale accounts, we thought maybe we could do something where people could come in and we could cover our overhead cost, and still be able to roast”.
While researching coffee roasters, Jean began to delve further into the world of sustainable living and began living a sustainable lifestyle in earnest. Through another stroke of serendipity, a space across the street from the White Horse on West Ave. became available, everything began to meld together, and the White Horse Coffee Roaster and Sustainable Marketplace was born.
Now, in addition to the White Horse Coffee and Creamery, the White Horse Coffee Roaster and Sustainable Marketplace provides Jean with a dedicated coffee storage, a production space, the roaster, and a small marketplace with coffee for sale, snacks, and other sustainable items such as sustainable bulk cleaning products.
You don’t have to take our word for it though. Visit the White Horse Coffee Roaster and Sustainable Marketplace and get it straight from the horse’s mouth. Just have some horse sense and don’t forget to bring your own container. We’re just horsing around; they have sustainable containers for sale there as well.
The White Horse Roastery & Sustainable Marketplace is located at 615 West Ave. in Jenkintown.