Clemson alumnus spreads warmth through coffee and community

When David Baker ’05 returned to South Carolina in 2013, he was ready to build something that mattered, somewhere that made people feel comfortable and at home. The result was Methodical Coffee — a place built by the community for the community.

Since opening its first café in 2015, Methodical has expanded to three Greenville locations, drawing folks in for a unique cup of coffee and a warm, welcoming environment. Methodical has plans to eventually expand across the Southeast.

But Baker didn’t always intend to start a coffee business. It started, in part, thanks to his unyielding hospitality and penchant for community.

Rooted in Hospitality

It was 2012, and the smell of fresh coffee wafted into the open city streets of Prague, Czech Republic. The source was a tall white stone building named Mosaic House, owned and operated by Baker, his wife and Daniel Park ’06, a friend from his time at Clemson University. Baker created the hostel to be an ever-changing community, and he enjoyed meeting the people who passed through.

Large events were common to the hostel, but Baker had never seen so many people gathered to make coffee. The hostel was filled with enthusiasts competing in the Czech National Barista Championship.

Having received a home espresso machine for a wedding gift, he was already a bit of a coffee nerd by that time. “I remember I just wanted people to come over so I could just make them coffee,” he says. “I love hospitality. That’s the core of who I am. I just like serving people and taking care of them.”

Yet the baristas competing poured latte art with masterful precision and crafted the detailed flavors within a drink. Their commitment to the craft went beyond a regular espresso shot or cappuccino.

Baker was hooked.

“I’m like, ‘Who are these people?’” he says. “‘Why are they here? This is amazing. Where do I see this again?’ So, I got head over heels for coffee.”

Crafted by Community

Baker moved back to Greenville armed with an idea and an ideal. He knew coffee could bring people together and had the potential to be a central aspect in people’s lives, but he couldn’t start a coffee business alone.

While trying to learn more about coffee, Baker connected with two others who shared a vision with him. Together, they created Methodical. Marco Suarez crafted the branding, Will Shurtz was the coffee-roasting mastermind, and Baker handled the operations. But Baker’s role went beyond keeping the business running.

“It does seem like Clemson was a big part of our story,” he says. “I didn’t realize that until we’re almost a decade in on Methodical, but it is a huge part of who we are.”

As the only Clemson alumnus among the trio, Baker relied on his Clemson connections to support Methodical. While studying for his undergraduate degree in business administration, Baker was heavily involved socially. “(My dad) told me the most important thing you can do at school is just create community and meet people,” he says. “I think it’s honestly a huge part of why Methodical is really well grounded in community. All these people that I’m friends with, they still come in, and it’s an easy way to catch up with people.”

The connections he made also created a network of friends to which they could outsource work. From their architect to their finances, he turned to his Clemson Family to create a place that felt like home. “There’s so many cool Clemson people,” Baker says. “I really feel like the backbone of who we are has a leaning toward Clemson. So, it’s pretty special.”

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