By: Emma Commery Photos By: Rachel Benavides
Like many great stories, the tale of Hemispheres Cafe sprouted from a mutual love of the majestic coffee bean. Dexter Rhines and Joel Torres, coworkers at Corpus Christi Army Depot, each dreamed of opening a coffee shop. Both men of drive, once they realized their mutual goal and upgraded their relationship from coworkers to business partners, nothing was going to get in their way.
After two years of studying, attending classes and conferences, and perfecting their craft, the pair landed a meeting with the Corpus Christi Athletic Club, who agreed to host Rhines and Torres in the cafe space just inside their lobby. With its built-in traffic flow, accommodating staff, and central location, the CCAC has been the perfect home for their cafe.
Hemispheres served its first customer in the midst of a global pandemic, a risky move in terms of timing that is paying off more every day. “Most businesses come in when times are well,” Torres says. “And then when times are hard, they don’t know what to do. So if we can thrive during these times, it means that when things start picking up, we’ll be a lot more efficient.”
(It’s important to note that you don’t have to be a member at the CCAC to stop by and grab a drink from Hemispheres. Non-members can stop by the cafe or order curbside anytime!)
“We knew coffee wouldn’t be our moneymaker at the gym,” Rhines explains. So they did their research and dedicated themselves to developing the best wellness smoothies in town. “We found an all-natural product from a vendor we believe in and stand by.” Healthy protein powders (that actually taste great, too) and nutrient-rich recipes are all approved by Torres’ young son, their unofficial taste-tester. “If he didn’t like it, it was right off the list,” Torres laughs.
Rhines and Torres (and his son) have built a powerhouse health-conscious menu from the ground up, featuring three levels of smoothies: low-intensity, medium-intensity, and high-intensity. Each designed to provide the perfect amount of energy restoration and nutrients. Customer favorites include the “I Love Veggies,” a spinach and kale powerhouse that tastes nothing like vegetables, “The Mango Crusher,” “Chocolate Elvis,” and “Cookies and Cream,” which Rhines swears tastes just like ice cream without the guilt. This writer can also attest to the deliciousness of the “Peanut Butter Cup” and “The Caffeinator.”
And although smoothies are their number-one seller by far, Rhines and Torres are pretty proud of their unique coffee blend. As they should be, in our opinion! Working with local roaster Driftwood Coffee, they developed a singular coffee based on Ethiopian and Brazilian roasts, then topped off with a Colombian to smooth it out. Run it through an espresso machine, Keurig, pour over, French press, or cold brew … it’s heaven in any form.
And then there’s the name, Hemispheres – born from the idea that when two different sides come together, they form a better, stronger whole.
“Dexter and I are very different people with politics, religion, values, and how we make decisions,” says Torres. “I think most people never expected us to end up working together. In today’s world, the only thing that sells is extremes. But the fact that we’re able to get along, respect each other’s values … that’s what’s allowed us to take the business to another level. Hemispheres is about incorporating those differences. So every day you’re not just one person, not just one way.”
“We’re like a sailboat and an anchor,” Rhines says. “He’s the sail and I’m the anchor. Joel has plenty of great ideas, and then I hit him with a little bit of reality. We are best friends.”
And together they stay the course, aiming high, helping Corpus Christians stay healthy, happy, and caffeinated … even in the midst of a pandemic.