Today, October 12, begins the soft opening of Olympia Coffee Roasting Company‘s vastly expanded flagship roastery and café in downtown Olympia, Wash., at 600 4th Ave. A 2013 Roast magazine Roaster of the Year, Olympia has been occupying approximately 2,000 square feet since opening in space, but the expansion included an extensive reconfiguration with an additional 4,000 square feet, including a large portion of the building facing City Hall in the revitalizing downtown corridor.
The expanded roastery occupies approximately 3,000 square feet in the center of the space, giving café customers an open view that, in the words of Olympia owner Oliver Stormshak, “really gives you an idea of what we’re doing as a company.” The open floor-to-ceiling views also extend into the company’s new QC and cupping lab, which includes two sample roasters and will allow Olympia to resume a public cupping program that had been suspended simply do to lack of space in the previous configuration.
At the center of the production space is the company’s existing Diedrich IR-12 roaster, plus a newly purchased 23-kilo Gothot model, dramatically increasing capacity and allowing the company to further expand wholesale operations, which Stormshak said have been growing by approximately 45 percent, year after year. “It’s been our largest area of growth,” said Stormshak, who also oversees the company’s two other Olympia retail locations.
The café area has been completely reconfigured from 800 to 1,500 square feet, including a large garage door with accents throughout of maple that was salvaged with help from Olympia-based Windfall Lumber from trees that had naturally fallen in the wild. In a space flooded with natural sunlight, the light complexion of the maple complements the muted walls and surfaces of the café space, allowing packaged items and the coffee bar itself to take center stage. On the bar is, according to Stormshak, the West Coast’s first installation of the automated pourover machine, the Poursteady, as well as a La Marzocco Strada espresso machine that was custom-designed to reflect the interior architecture of the space itself by Espresso Parts.
“We’re pretty stoked to be debuting this product on the west coast,” Stormshak said of the Poursteady, a Best New Product winner at the 2015 SCAA Event in Seattle, adding that it will allow baristas to deliver more coffee more quickly while staying true to Olympia’s grind- and brew-to-order philosophy. “The cup quality is awesome.”
The expansion and renovation project was made possible by a nearly 50 percent Grow America loan, and Stormshak said the project has also received a lot of public support from city officials, who are boasting about the Olympia flagship as a model for revitalization downtown. “We’ve been really pleased with our partnership with the city,” said Stormshak. “This has always been a core concept — what I believed would happen for Olympia Coffee.”
Nick Brown is the editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine.