In downtown Woodland, California, longtime barista and professional nature photographer Benjamin Canevari has superimposed his crafts into one sharply focused vision: Gallery Coffee Roasters.
A San Franciscan SF6 roaster now anchors the scene at Gallery’s first brick-and-mortar cafe, where Canevari’s prints now hang, with works from other artists soon to follow.
“The brick walls are intended for a gallery,” Canevari told Daily Coffee News. “I work as a professional photographer and having this space allows me to combine my two greatest passions of photography and coffee.”
The cafe also showcases Canevari’s light-roasted coffees through drip, cold brew and an espresso preparations, the latter supported by a 2-group Synesso MVP espresso machine.
The shop opened earlier this month in conjunction with a First Friday Art Walk in Woodland, attracting throngs of local art-lovers out and about for the monthly stroll in the city northwest of Sacramento.
“I wanted to bring something a bit more modern to our historic downtown,” Canevari said of the cafe inside an 1889 building. “We used ash for all of our wood tables and countertops, giving us a nice light and clean feel. White walls with black trim and black equipment give a nice sharp contrast that go really nicely with the brick. The white subway tile behind the roaster went a really long way to changing the feel of the entire space.”
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A skylight and large front windows also let in plenty of natural light, enlivening the natural materials and potted plant life around the shop.
A barista of 10 years whose self-education in roasting started in 2015, Canevari founded Gallery Coffee in 2019 and now aims for a mix of sweetness and complexity in coffees sourced mostly through Royal Coffee.
“I love the idea of people being able to see the roasting process while they order and wait for their coffees to be made at the bar,” said Canevari. “Specialty coffee is pretty new to Woodland and I’m having a ton of fun showing people what is possible with these coffees, rather than just loading them up with vanilla and white chocolate.”
With personal contacts in Kenya, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico, Canevari said he intends to steer Gallery’s sourcing operation towards more direct trade with producers as the business progresses.
“I do have some little dreams of expanding the roastery, a second location, and a training/public education bar, but I’m definitely in no rush and just taking things one step at a time,” said Canevari. “Just enjoying being part of the community and seeing so many people coming in and enjoying themselves here.”
Gallery Coffee Roasters is located at located at 420 First St. in Woodland, California.
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Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.