The thing about great coffee is that so much of it comes to us by way of excellent small businesses. But the thing about small businesses is that they change. All. The. Time. That’s part of the reasoning behind this blog — to keep up to date on the little changes here and there related to the roasters in the book. I’ve been sitting on a little pile of updates for too long. Here they are:
Ristretto Roasters closes it’s flagship location and moves to thriving SE Burnside location
New location: 555 NE Couch St., Portland, OR
Now their lease on the original 42nd street location has come up, and they have decided not to renew as it’s just not big enough to fill their needs. Instead, they are relocating it to 555 NE Couch St. at 6th.
The new space which is being designed by Accelerated Development’s Keith Shrader who also designed the Nicolai store, will have more room for education, a much larger seating area, and they hope to eventually server beer and wine. The Couch store will showcase the first Steampunk brewing system in the Northwest.
The new location is scheduled to open in July. Stay tuned for a visit report
New Olympia Coffee Roasters location
New location: 2824 Capitol Blvd., Tacoma, WA
Right before I left for the Specialty Coffee Association of America show in Boston (waaaay back in early April), I stopped in Olympia to chat with Olympia Coffee Roasters co-owner and total sweetheart Oliver Stormshak. (Oliver and I presented a session at the SCAA together about the power of storytelling.) The roastery was abuzz with activity as the crew prepared to open their third Olympia location, which is set to become the company’s flagship location. It’s centrally located in the gorgeous 1938 Wildwood Building. The new cafe is STUNNING with hand-made tiles imported from Nicaragua, delicious art-deco-y interior arches, and maple accents. It’s modern and classic, and does perfect justice to the coffee. Over on Sprudge, you can find some photos that show off the space.
Heart Coffee Roasters announces new location in downtown Portland
New location: 543 SW 12th Ave., Portland OR [Not yet open]
Recently, Heart owner Wille Yli Luoma (say that three times fast) hosted me for an impromptu water tasting. Heart is installing a water filtration system that will allow them to finely tune the hardness of the water, which has a sizable impact on flavor (believe me — we tasted the same coffee with two different “recipes” of water and the flavor difference was shocking). In any case, Wille let slip that Heart was signing a lease later that day on a new downtown spot. This is perfect for Heart. Their east Burnside location in SE Portland has been great for them, but the new spot is tucked in among a number of design-savvy businesses that echo Heart’s minimalist, cosmopolitan vibe—home furnishings meccas Canoe and Alder and Co., cocktail lounge Kask, and Alpine-influenced restaurant Grüner (and, one of my favorite totally-out-of-reach boutiques, The English Department). It’s also just a hop, skip, and jump from another recent addition to the neighborhood, Blue Star Donuts. (Basil blueberry glaze anyone? Valhrona chocolate? Mmmm.) It’s perfect—and will make for some very enjoyable weekend mornings, sipping Americanos while I drool over brass kitchen fixtures at Canoe.
Water Avenue Coffee opening new location inside Enso Winery
New location: 1416 SE Stark St. Portland, OR
Water Avenue Coffee, located in Portland’s inner eastside industrial district, is partnering with Enso Urban Winery to offer a full coffee menu inside the winery’s tasting lounge. Enso has led the way in Portland’s burgeoning urban winery scene. The new cafe concept will include coffee-wine pairing options and collaborative tastings, exploring the intersection of wine and coffee palates. And though you don’t need any more reason than that to love the idea, there are also these awesome bags of sangria. The coffee cart will operate in the morning and early afternoon (current hours: 7 am to 1 pm), and wine tastings will start at the very respectable hour of 4 on weekdays, 2 on weekends.
Equator Coffee opens first retail location in Bay Area
New location: 254 Shoreline Hwy., Mill Valley, CA
Equator, which has been roasting in the Bay Area for over 15 years, is opening its first retail location between Mill Valley and Marin, just north of San Francisco. The coffee bar is inside the Proof Lab Surf Shop, a community-oriented surf-and-skate shop. Proof Lab has incubated a number of small businesses (including an art studio for toddlers, a landscaping design firm, and a ceramics studio). Proof Labs and Equator both have longstanding sustainability missions. Mix that with Equator’s award-winning Geisha, the Marin sunshine, and the “vintage surf” decor and you have a perfect excuse for a daytrip north.
Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters closes pop-up shop in SF
New location: None!
This is too-bad-so-sad for lovers of Wrecking Ball Roasting, the babychild of coffee veterans Nick Cho and Trish Rothgreb (for the record: two of the most interesting, knowledgeable, hungry, social-media-happy people in the business). The team continues to churn out fine coffees for sale via the internet and some dedicated partners in the Bay Area (e.g., Marla Bakery). They are looking for a new permanent location for Wrecking Ball—
…so keep your fingers crossed.