These Friends Stay Connected With a Coffee Tradition

A weekly klatch at Stone Creek helps a local friend group through tough times and happy moments.

“We’re just over in the other room,” says Ben Teich, motioning to the area behind him. A few minutes later, coffee in hand, I pull up a chair and am immediately welcomed into the fold of this group of young professionals that meets weekly at Stone Creek on Downer.

A total of nine friends are here this morning – mostly couples, a few siblings. The aroma of hot breakfast and brewed coffee perfumes the air. Across from me, klatcher Alex Francis announces that since the last time they were all together, he’d proposed to his girlfriend Hannah Bendiksen, who is seated next to him. Amid the chatter of best wishes, Alex lifts a plastic container of leftover engagement cake, hoping to entice some takers.  

Photo by Navia-Ayauna Erbst

Life is good for this group of friends who met through the fitness initiative called the November Project and stayed in touch – largely through the weekly klatches. “Ben started it. He sends out the [text] reminder each week,” says Teich’s twin brother, John.


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They call themselves Breakfast Club. “Original, right?” says Ben, who pulls out a deck of cards and asks if I want to play Presidents and Assholes, a game usually undertaken while drinking harder stuff. I watch them play instead. There’s no awkwardness or uncomfortable silences. They’re laughing, eating, bantering.  

Photo by Navia-Ayauna Erbst

During COVID, they took their klatch remote, of course, but still gathered over coffee, cards and conversation – a more apt description than “gossip,” the English translation of the German word klatsch. Keeping up this ritual helped them get through a bleak time. 

Suddenly, it’s 7:15. Taking their final swigs of coffee, Breakfast Club packs up and starts to disperse, life pulling them into different directions until the next meetup. Same time, same place.

Photo by Navia-Ayauna Erbst

Grounds Keepers

Coffee drinks beyond the day-to-day grind  

Smoked Vanilla Mocha 


A hint of smoky salt adds a disarming edge to this smooth, sweet espresso bev that’s smashing hot or cold. 

Long Myle 


A South Asian chile pepper forms a gentle undercurrent to this espresso-tail also laced with lavender, maple and lemon zest. Discourse Coffee.

Bergamot Latte 


Citrus oil, mint and white chocolate provide unexpected symmetry to this rich, satisfying latte creation. 


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine’s August issue.

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Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.