Ashley’s Espresso Parlour: On beginnings, betterment and beans

Published 9:35 am Sunday, November 10, 2019

Ashley Linnekin always knew she loved to cook. She also knew she loved to put a smile on someone’s face. Her culinary background led her to the steps of Front Porch Café in 2002 and she has since fallen in love with roasting coffee. With the help of her husband Erik Linnekin, the pair has conquered the coffee industry and made thousands happy with their shop, Ashley’s Espresso Parlour in Kill Devil Hills.

“I found that I loved cooking when I was really young,” Ashley said. After deciding that was the route she wanted to take with her life, Ashley embarked on a culinary journey and attended Johnson and Wales Culinary School when it was in Norfolk, Va. After graduation, she moved to Florida and started working for Hyatt as a culinary intern.

Ashley had always dreamed of moving to the Outer Banks, giving her passion for surfing and living by the beach. Once she finished her Hyatt internship in 2001, she picked up and headed to North Carolina. “I remember the day I moved because it was my sister’s birthday,” she said. “I remember calling her from a payphone down in Ocracoke to tell her happy birthday and that I made it.”

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Ashley started working at The Blue Point in Duck when she got here and picked up a side job roasting coffee at Front Porch Café. “I just fell in love with it immediately,” she said. She found herself in the right place at the right time and from there, everything started to fall into place for Ashley.

After working in the coffee industry for over 20 years, Ashley and Erik opened Ashley’s Espresso Parlour this year. The shop offers a large array of flavors dependent upon where they are harvested around the world.

“It’s a lot like wine,” Ashley started, “It’s like trying to describe grapes because a lot of terms you use are similar: acidity levels, how its grown and where its grown.” The singularity of coffee beans and the roasting process was so intriguing to Ashley, she spent years putting flavors together and experimenting. Her goal now is to work towards a local and global mission.

All the coffee sold at Ashley’s Espresso Parlour is sustainable and organic. It is very important to her to support small farmers. She hopes to make it to Mexico or Central American next year to buy fresh green beans to take back to the U.S. with her. “I’ve kind of been on one side of the spectrum for 20 years and now I want to bring in my own creativity and give back,” she said.

Ashley’s mission is to positively affect the world around her. “I want to know what I’m doing has a positive impact. Whether its positively impacting someone’s life because its good coffee or its positively impacting life on a farm,” Ashley said.

Being that Ashley has gotten to know many talented craftsmen in the area, she has started to invite them into the shop to show their work. “Dawn’s here today,” Ashley said, looking over towards the middle of the shop. “Dawn’s like my best friend and she’s so talented.”

Dawn Moraga, a local artist, comes into Ashley’s Espresso Parlour throughout the week to paint while the customers watch and sip their coffees. “It kind of goes hand in hand, being able to sit back, drink some coffee and look at cool things on the walls,” Ashley said. She has photography, art, surfboards and locally brewed beer all for sale in and around the shop.

As far as the future, Ashley and Erik are just going to “keep on truckin.’” They hope to travel in the years to come with their two little children and keep bringing a smile to their customers faces. “I want people to come in a feel warm, even if you’ve never been to our coffee shop before,” Ashley said.

Ashley’s Espresso Parlour is located on E. Helga St. in Kill Devil Hills and is open every day from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. For more information on the shop and those that run it, visit their website at



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