- Associated Press - Monday, January 27, 2020

MANDAN, N.D. (AP) - Two women who are longtime friends and former co-workers have joined forces to open a coffee shop and yoga studio in north Mandan, naming it after the animal tied in myth to the discovery of the drink.

Karen Schmidt, 46, and Dawn Hager, 45, opened Balancing Goat Coffee Co. on Jan. 6.

Legend has it that a goat herder in Ethiopia many years ago noticed how much energy his critters had after eating the berries from a certain tree. He demonstrated this to some local monks, who threw the berries in a fire after passing off the goats’ reaction as the devil’s work, Schmidt said. The smell of the berries in the fire was enticing, however, and at some point the roasted coffee beans were introduced to water. The drink helped the monks stay awake during prayer time. The drink and the tribute to the goat now are global.

“There are goat coffee shops all over the world,” Schmidt told The Bismarck Tribune.

She and Hager added “Balancing” to the name because they wanted to provide a “warm, inviting place with a little bit for everybody,” she said.

The women met about 10 years ago while working in the insurance industry “and became fast friends,” Schmidt said. Their plan to open a coffee shop started a few years ago. They traveled to Chicago to get advice and hands-on experience at a coffee convention.

“We knew we wanted to roast our own,” Schmidt said.

The shop’s beans come from all over the world by way of a Minneapolis wholesaler. She and Hager use them to make coffee, of course, but also specialty drinks, cold-brew coffee, and nitro brew, which Schmidt says has “a really smooth feel.”

The shop’s menu includes all-day breakfast, sandwiches, salads, wraps and baked goods.

Yoga classes will start in February, Hager said. The business has partnered with Transitions Yoga to provide morning, lunchtime and evening classes. Aerial yoga — in which participants are aided into poses by silk hammocks that hang from the ceiling — will be introduced.

“It’s a different way of doing yoga,” Hager said. “It’s fun, and it’s not offered anywhere here.”

The shop is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except Sunday. It’s a “different world” than the desk jobs and telephone interaction of their previous jobs, Hager said.

“We helped people, which is great, but now we’re on the other side,” she said. “We get to watch them enjoy it.”

Balancing Goat is at 2705 Sunset Drive, a location Schmidt said “felt like home.”

“It’s the right spot,” she said.

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