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The Powells were not necessarily a family of coffee drinkers. Growing up in Shallotte, brothers Michael and Ben Powell didn’t see their parents enjoying the addictive caffeinated drink or stopping at local stores for lattes and cappuccinos.

After graduating from UNCW, Michael Powell pursued his dream of competitive surfing. Traveling to exotic locations around the world was fun, but it was also difficult and lonely at times.

“Cafes, especially those in Australia, were one of the places I felt taken care of,” he said. “Being served delicious coffee by people who want to share their passion, in various corners of the globe, has changed my life.”

This interest in coffee and learning how different countries and cultures interpret the coffee experience led to the creation of Drift Coffee & Kitchen.

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Michael and Ben Powell, brothers and business partners of Drift Coffee & Kitchen, recently opened in the former Causeway Café location in Wrightsville Beach.  They are now preparing to open a fifth location in downtown Wilmington.  KEN BLEVINS/STARNEWS

The brothers opened their first location at 20 E. Second St. in Ocean Isle Beach in 2014.

“We had a lot to learn,” said Michael Powell. “We had never done anything like this before.”

But it allowed them to open a cafe in Autumn Hall in 2017 and another in Mayfaire in 2019.

This year, Drift is adding two more locations. They opened in Wrightsville Beach in the former Causeway Café and Gulfstream restaurant in March. They are also just days away from opening in downtown Wilmington at 221 N. Front St.

The Drift Coffee & Kitchen in Mayfaire is located at 1005 International Drive in Wilmington.

One of the unique characteristics of Australian coffeehouses is that they are a mix of cultures, said Ben Powell.

“There aren’t many chains in the country. They prefer something unique to something seamless,” he said. “They want something that feels good, that tastes good.”

Australian coffee shops are a primary inspiration for Drift, there are others. The Powells say they take a Drift group on trips every year and have been to places like South Africa, Morocco and Dubai.