From latte to love: Caribou Coffee’s heartwarming tales of romance and friendship


Caribou Coffee has long been more than just a place to get your caffeine fix or favorite cup of joe. It’s a cozy gathering place—a neighborhood hub, where people come together to sip, chat, laugh—and sometimes, fall in love. Over the years, the ‘Bou has been home to many a love story—from dedicated marriages to platonic best friendships. It could be the sweet scent of freshly brewed Mocha Java or the warm ambiance, but in the true nature of a busy coffee shop, it’s usually the chance encounters that lead to something more…

We chatted with guests, partners, and members of our ‘Bou Crew to find the most swoon-worthy, love-at-first-sip stories, just in time for Valentine’s Day. These anecdotes will warm your heart and remind you that friendship and romance can be found in the most unexpected of places. Grab your favorite mug, snuggle up with a blanket (or your ‘Bou), and get ready to believe in the magic of Caribou and the power of love.

kirstin and brian tracy smiling while holding caribou coffee
Kirstin and Brian don their Caribou Coffee hats on their latest coffee date.
brian and kirstin tracy smiling with their dog with caribou cups in front of them
A love for Caribou runs in the family.

Sipping coffee, sharing donuts, spilling cider: The sweet love story of Kirstin and Brian

Once upon a time, at a small Caribou Coffee tucked inside a Lunds & Byerly’s in Burnsville, Minn., a young gal named Kirstin met the love of her life. Back then, Kirstin was just a BOUrista, whipping up lattes and Crafted Presses part-time while she attended school. Today, she serves as the Regional Philanthropy Officer for corporate partnerships (like Caribou) at the American Red Cross.

But let’s rewind to where Kirstin’s love affair with Caribou, and her now husband, Brian, began.

Every morning, a blue-eyed guy (the aforementioned Brian) would stop by Kirstin’s Caribou to start his day. In true BOUrista fashion, Kirstin took note of his order and remembered it like the back of her hand. “He would occasionally treat himself to a cappuccino at the end of the week, but for the most part he’d order a light roast,” laughs Kirstin. “It HAD to be a light roast. And a chocolate donut, too.”

Because of Brian’s daily routine, the two slowly got to know each other. Kirstin’s team took notice of the regular encounter as well—affectionately dubbing him, “the cute guy with big blue eyes.”

The next part of the story differs depending on if you ask Kirstin or Brian, but it’s said that Brian invited Kirstin to watch Monday Night Football, and she declined, citing a conflict with her Monday night class.

“She totally turned me down!” laughs Brian.

“The real story, and what actually happened,” retorts Kirstin, “was that I couldn’t because I had class on Monday nights, but I said we could get together some other time. My version is correct, right?”

No matter whose side of the story you choose to believe, the two later went on to have their first date that week. By the weekend they were carving pumpkins, and even after Kirstin spilled an entire cup of cider in Brian’s truck, the couple was inseparable. Twelve years later, they are still as in love as ever and Caribou Coffee holds a special place in their hearts (and stomachs)!

Both light roast fanatics, Caribou’s beloved La Minita Peaberry is their all-time favorite coffee. “We totally bond over our obsession with La Minita. And believe me, it is a total obsession,” says Kirstin. “And we are both dry cappuccino sticklers. There has to be a high amount of froth to scoop!”

For Kirstin and Brian, Caribou continues to be an important part of their daily routine. “Every Sunday morning, we get a coffee and a sweet and go for a hike with our dog,” says Kirstin. “Otherwise, we brew our La Minita at home—always enjoying our first cup together distraction-free. We’ll watch the sunrise from our porch in the summer or curl up by the fireplace in the winter.”

“There are literally no words to describe the influence that Caribou has had and continues to have on our lives,” says Kirstin. “Not only is it the start of our journey as a couple, but coffee has such a special connection to how we start each day with one another and really sets the tone for how the day will go.”

“In the morning when it’s just us and still dark, before the emails start coming in and we start our to-dos, we just have time to be together and enjoy our coffee and one another. Coffee is such a pure, honest, and open invitation in and of itself and just encourages connection and conversation. When we think about it, coffee has been a part of some of the best moments of our lives, and has also been there for the worst, to offer comfort in the darkest times. Now that we are a little older and wiser—sometimes,” she says with a wink, “Coffee also makes us slow down and take in the incredible story we continue to build together.”

From frothy to fond: The remarkable friendship of David and Peri

It was a day like any other day, or so David thought. Little did he know that this day would change his life forever. As he walked into work, he was assigned to a trainer named Peri. “On paper, we go together like oil and water. She is the nail to my chalkboard. Two people could not be more statistically different than the two of us,” says David. “But there we were, thrust into the same sphere.”

But as David got to know Peri, he found that they had more in common than he ever would have thought. “While working in close quarters, you get to know a person. Things are said that you cannot unsay. Feelings are expressed that you cannot un-express. Viewpoints are spoken that you cannot take back,” says David.

Their friendship began to blossom over their shared love of black coffee and training and development. Despite any differences, they worked well together and became an unstoppable force.

“Shortly after being trained, my staff position changed and I became her boss,” David explained. This changed the dynamic. “While she still had more experience, I technically had the positional authority to outrank. Be that as it may, I defaulted to her experience to honor her. She did, after all, train me.”

So when David was promoted to General Manager, he knew exactly who he wanted as his assistant manager: Peri. Soon after, their work relationship turned into a personal friendship when David offered Peri the open unit adjacent to his duplex, and they became neighbors.

“She and I have experienced highs and lows, frustrations and joys, scarcity and plenty in staffing. We have laughed and cried together. Through all of this, there was that spark. That unquenchable obvious tension and feeling we had between us,” explains David. “I may not remember the exact day, but it lives as a core memory of mine when she looked into my eyes and gently said, ‘Man, I know you are attractive to others, but I could NEVER EVER date you.’ To which I acknowledged, ‘You know what? I was thinking the EXACT SAME THING!’” David laughs.

“She is the yin to my yang. My work-wife. My neigh-wife. Is that a thing? My best friend and one of my absolute favorite people in the world,” says David.

Through it all, their bond has remained strong, and the two wish each other the best in finding their significant other someday. Their story is a testament to the idea that friendships can come from unexpected places. It shows that it is possible to find common ground with someone who is vastly different from you. Sometimes, it takes a little patience and effort, but it is always worth it in the end.

Love at second sip: A guest brews a surprising love connection at Coborn’s

Katie, our Guest Relations Supervisor, has a love story (and corporate Caribou journey) that began like many others—as a member of our field team. Because we’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, we’ll stick to the love story. But in the beginning, that’s not what Katie would’ve described it as. It was anything but love at first sight.

The story begins at a Caribou Coffee tucked inside a Coborn’s in Elk River, Minn.

Katie, the then-General Manager was conducting interviews for shift leaders when she met Blake. “It was absolutely not love at first sight. My first impression was that he was kind of arrogant, but charming and would be great at selling beans for me,” recalls Katie. “His first impression of me was that I was very uptight and not a whole lot of fun.” Despite their differences, destiny had something else in mind. The two gradually got to know each other, talking about all sorts of things—books, music, movies, life in general.

wedding rings sitting atop a caribou coffee hot cup
Katie and Blake’s wedding wasn’t complete without a ‘Bou-themed photoshoot honoring their place of meeting.

“It was a very small store. We worked together a lot and had a very regular customer base,” says Katie. One of those loyal guests was named Koreen. “She was a very vocal person. She knew I was single and suggested she try and help find me someone.”

Soon after, Katie was being transferred to a nearby Caribou. She broke the news to her team and word followed to her regulars. “Blake happened to be the opener with me the day I told Koreen. The first thing out of her mouth was, ‘Blake, when are you going to ask her out?’” Katie recalls with a laugh.

“My jaw dropped. I was his boss—and she knew that. I politely told her that could never happen, and she responded by telling me I wasn’t his boss anymore because I was switching locations.”

Weeks passed, and by August, Katie was no longer Blake’s manager. But still—the thought of dating a fellow employee didn’t sit right with her. “He asked me to dinner, but I told him he had to quit Caribou before I would entertain the idea,” says Katie.

Readers: We never like to see our team members leave—but in the name of love, we’ll support Blake’s decision to walk away from the ‘Bou.

 “I wasn’t just dating to date. I was dating to find my person, and I was very vocal about that from the get-go,” says Katie. “He’d talk about wanting a dog and wanting to move-in, and my response was always, ‘not until you put a ring on it,’” laughs Katie.

Eventually, Blake obliged.

“He made me go on a scavenger hunt. He bought countless Ring Pops and hid them all over. I looked everywhere. I found a ton of Ring Pops, but not one with something special in it. Blake was snickering at me the entire time.”

Unbeknownst to Katie, Blake had left the engagement ring on the center of the kitchen table—in an open box for all the world to see.

baby eloise celebrates her birthday with a caribou themed cake and decor
Katie and Blake’s daughter celebrates her birthday—’Bou style.

“I had literally walked past it four or five times. He stopped me, grabbed the ring, got down on one knee and asked if I’d marry him.”

Katie had a few colorful words for Blake, but she said yes with a smile.

“We were married on our one-year anniversary. Koreen was invited to our reception and her claim to fame is still the fact that she got us together,” says Katie.

Years later, coffee still brings Katie and Blake together. “We always have at least one breakfast together each week with our favorite Caribou brew.”

The love for Caribou runs in the family, now with daughter in tow. “We always stop at Caribou on the way home from daycare for a cake pop—the Birthday Cake Pops are her favorite.”

“Caribou has shaped so much of who I am today and where I am in life. The people and connections you make with your coworkers and guests are unlike anything else I’ve experienced. I can truly say that I would not be me without Caribou. I met my best (girl) friend my first day working for the company, and I met my best forever friend in my husband. I appreciate that I’m a part of a company that holds connection and relationships so close to their core values.”

Who knew a simple cup of coffee could lead to so much more? These stories serve as a testament to the magic that can happen when two people cross paths—even if it’s just for a cup of Joe. Whether you’re sipping your favorite light roast, sharing a sweet, or simply connecting over a cup of coffee with a friend, Caribou holds a special place in the hearts of those who have found love within its walls.

For some, Caribou Coffee is more than just a coffee shop. It’s a place where memories are made, friendships are strengthened, and love is found.