The city of Seattle is home to more than its fair share of influential specialty coffee institutions, and therefore also fosters an especially discerning population of coffee drinkers. On both sides of the counter, opinions on how the stuff “ought” to be roasted and served can run hot, as can the competition for patronage. However, earlier this month in Seattle’s Eastlake neighborhood, one startup hopes to declare a truce with the opening of Armistice Coffee Roaster.
At the new 1,100-square-foot roastery cafe, coffees are roasted in-house on a 2-kilo Mill City Roasters machine for drinks prepared on either a 3-group La Marzocco GB5 espresso machine paired with a Eureka Olympus K grinder, or else a 2-bay Fetco Extractor for batch brew.
Armistice Coffee Co-Founder Rebecca Smith told Daily Coffee News that the shop’s philosophical approach to coffee involves a decidedly old-school Seattle sensibility, but not to the exclusion of newer, lighter styles.
“Part of doing this was to bring it back to the roots and make coffee approachable again, while I [also] appreciate the growth of the industry, love following along with it and also to accommodate those people,” said Smith. “It’s not like I’m only going to have Italian-roast coffees.”
Smith accumulated more than a decade of experience in coffee through various roles at Seattle specialty roaster-retailers including Caffe Ladro, Zoka Coffee and eventually Fonté Coffee Roaster before striking out on her own. Unfortunately, Smith said she’s found more harshness than collegiality between competitors she’s interacted with in the industry, and hopes Armistice can pave the way to a friendlier, more collaborative atmosphere.
“Part of doing this was to redefine what community looks like within the industry, and not just for the neighborhood,” said Smith. “We can all coexist and be successful. There’s no shortage of coffee drinkers no matter what stage the economy’s at. We can collaborate. Why don’t we do events together? Why can’t we have fundraisers together? Why can’t I serve your coffee sometimes, or roast your coffee for you sometimes?”
In the cafe, a comfy, mellow but sophisticated color palette of black and copper runs throughout, with the black bar-front, ceiling and grinders offset by copper powder-coating on the GB5 and the roaster, copper pendant lamps and other accents. The soothing solid green tiled wall behind the counter echoes a pair of “living wall” panels elsewhere in the cafe, while exterior walls slide open for an atmosphere oriented more towards comfort and relaxation than productivity.
Said Smith, “Part of it is just calling a truce on your day, and having a temporary treaty with whatever’s bothering you, whatever you’re stressed about.”
With the first shop having opened less than two weeks ago, Smith said the lease for a space for a second shop in Seattle’s Roosevelt neighborhood has also already been signed.
“I want to grow,” said Smith. “I want to spread good coffee all over.”
A “low-key” wholesale push is underway, designed mainly to attract more attention to the company’s retail growth, which Smith said in a perfect world could lead to as many as 10 to 12 shops. If all goes well, the second shop could open in the first quarter of 2019 with a liquor license for a coffee cocktail program.
Armistice Coffee is open now at 2201 Eastlake Ave E, Seattle.